Let us try to determine the authenticity of a moldavite from a photograph.
Bobby from the USA has sent me a photograph of a large green stone asking me to help him verify the authenticity. He wasn’t sure whether it was a real moldavite or a piece of glass.
A lot of samples can be assessed by visual inspection and it is often possible to tell from a photograph whether it is an authentic or a fake stone. A chemical analysis and similar demanding methods, which require expensive equipment, are only necessary when it comes to very good counterfeits.
Let us have a look at Bobby’s stone.
The colour of this sample is olive to brown green. That sounds right for a moldavite (more about the colour of moldavites). What caught my eye first was the size. I would say that the weight imust be about 1 or 2 kg (2 – 4 pounds). However, the largest moldavite ever found weighs a little over 0,25 kg. It is thus highly improbable that the sample is an authentic moldavite.
Another important indicator is the purity of the material. Natural moldavites contain inhomogeneities. The material in the picture is perfectly transparent – without a sign of inhomogeneity.
Therefore it is not an authentic moldavite but a piece of ordinary glass.
This was an easy case. We could tell at the first sight that it was not a moldavite. However, there are also sophisticated counterfeits (cut or with a fake natural surface), which a layman might confuse with an authentic moldavite. Luckily, most fakes can be detected by a careful inspection of a photograph. If you want to learn how to tell a real moldavite from a fake, you might like to check out the book How to Recognize a Real and fake moldavites.