Sunday, July 7, 2024

What does fake peridot look like?

The allure of gemstones has captivated humanity for centuries, with peridot being one of the more unique and sought-after stones. Known for its vibrant green hue and historical significance, peridot is a gem cherished by collectors and jewelry enthusiasts alike. However, the market for gemstones is fraught with imitations and synthetic versions, making it crucial for buyers to distinguish between genuine and fake peridot. This article delves into the characteristics of fake peridot, helping potential buyers and enthusiasts identify and understand the differences.

Characteristics of Peridot

Peridot, a gem-quality variety of the mineral olivine, is renowned for its distinct green color, which ranges from yellow-green to olive-green. This gemstone forms deep within the Earth’s mantle and is brought to the surface by volcanic activity. Genuine peridot is valued for its transparency, brilliance, and relatively high hardness, ranking 6.5 to 7 on the Mohs scale.

What Does Fake Peridot Look Like?

Fake peridot can vary significantly in appearance, depending on the materials and methods used to create the imitation. Here are several common types of fake peridot and their distinguishing features:

1. Glass Imitations

One of the most prevalent forms of fake peridot is made from colored glass. These imitations often lack the depth and natural inclusions found in real peridot. Glass fakes may have bubbles and swirls that are not present in genuine stones. Additionally, glass is much softer than peridot, scratching more easily and lacking the crisp, clean lines of a faceted peridot gem.

2. Synthetic Forsterite

Synthetic forsterite, a man-made material, can closely resemble peridot in color and appearance. However, this type of fake peridot is often too perfect, with no inclusions or imperfections. Advanced gemological tools can differentiate synthetic forsterite from real peridot by analyzing the refractive index and specific gravity.

3. Treated Quartz

Another common substitute for peridot is treated quartz. While quartz can be dyed to mimic the green color of peridot, it usually appears too uniform and lacks the natural variations found in genuine stones. Treated quartz may also show signs of dye concentration in fractures or along surface cracks, which are telltale signs of a fake peridot.

4. Green Tourmaline

Green tourmaline, though a natural gemstone, is sometimes sold as peridot due to its similar color. However, green tourmaline typically exhibits a different hue and pleochroism (color change when viewed from different angles), which peridot does not. This type of fake peridot can be identified by its unique optical properties and crystal structure.

See Also: How to Tell If Peridot Is Real

Identifying Fake Peridot

Knowing what fake peridot looks like is essential, but identifying it with certainty often requires a combination of visual inspection and gemological testing. Here are several techniques used to distinguish fake peridot from genuine stones:

Visual Inspection

A thorough visual inspection can reveal many of the telltale signs of fake peridot. Real peridot should have a vibrant, even color without visible bubbles or swirls. Inclusions in natural peridot are typically small, black crystals or reflective platelets, whereas fakes might show gas bubbles or uniform color patches.

Hardness Test

Peridot’s hardness is a reliable indicator of its authenticity. Real peridot ranks 6.5 to 7 on the Mohs scale, whereas glass and other substitutes are generally softer. A simple scratch test using a reference material of known hardness can help identify fake peridot. However, this test should be conducted with caution to avoid damaging the gem.

Refractive Index and Specific Gravity

Advanced gemological tests measuring the refractive index (RI) and specific gravity (SG) can provide definitive identification. Genuine peridot has an RI of approximately 1.65 to 1.69 and an SG of 3.27 to 3.37. Deviations from these values indicate a fake peridot.


Spectroscopy can also be used to identify fake peridot. Real peridot exhibits characteristic absorption lines in its spectrum, particularly in the red and yellow regions. Synthetic and treated stones will often show different spectral features, helping gemologists distinguish between real and fake peridot.


Purchasing from reputable dealers who provide certification from recognized gemological laboratories is a crucial step in avoiding fake peridot. Certificates from institutions such as the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) or the American Gemological Laboratories (AGL) offer assurance of the stone’s authenticity.

Why Fake Peridot Exists

The existence of fake peridot can be attributed to several factors. The primary reason is economic: genuine peridot can be expensive, especially higher-quality stones with exceptional color and clarity. Creating imitations or selling similar-looking stones as peridot allows unscrupulous sellers to capitalize on the demand for this gemstone at a lower cost.

Furthermore, technological advancements have made it easier to produce convincing fake peridot. High-quality glass and synthetic materials can be manufactured to closely mimic the appearance of natural peridot, making it more challenging for the average buyer to distinguish between real and fake.

Preventing the Purchase of Fake Peridot

To avoid purchasing fake peridot, buyers should take several precautions:

Buy from Reputable Sources

Purchasing from well-known, reputable jewelers and dealers significantly reduces the risk of acquiring fake peridot. Established businesses are more likely to provide accurate information and certification.

Request Certification

Always ask for a certificate of authenticity from a recognized gemological laboratory. This documentation verifies that the gemstone has been tested and identified by professionals.

Educate Yourself

Learning about the characteristics of genuine peridot and common fakes can empower buyers to make informed decisions. Understanding what fake peridot looks like, including its typical flaws and inconsistencies, can be invaluable when evaluating a potential purchase.

Use Professional Appraisal Services

If in doubt, seek the services of a professional appraiser or gemologist. These experts have the tools and knowledge to accurately identify genuine peridot and expose fakes.


The allure of peridot is undeniable, but the prevalence of fake peridot in the market necessitates caution and knowledge. By understanding what fake peridot looks like and employing reliable identification methods, buyers can confidently navigate the gemstone market. Whether through visual inspection, gemological testing, or seeking certification, the key to avoiding fake peridot lies in thorough research and careful purchasing practices. As the gemstone industry continues to evolve, staying informed about the latest developments in gemstone identification will remain crucial for both enthusiasts and professionals alike.

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