A Scintillating Guide to Chinese Fakery and Fraud in the World of all things Turquoise or.....

A Scentillating Guide to the Herbal Essences,  Holistic &  Ethereal Properties of  Fake Chinese Turquoise or........

If you still think you are buying the real deal and it even marginally looks anything like what is displayed below even after reading this then I'm sorry, this world was not meant for you.
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2006 - My Very Own
Chinese Fake Turquoise Nugget 

You know the old bromide which states if something is too good to be true it probably is?

It is still true.

Turquoise prices have just about doubled in the last year to @ $20.00 an ounce for the
really clean stuff.  I use turquoise as an inlay material.

I decided to do a little research on alternatives to Arizona Turquoise.  I found that a
lot of turquoise was coming out of China these days and the quality (of the real stuff)  was pretty good.

Ebay was the first place I started and I found a guy by the name of Ling who had a good
feedback rating and was selling polished specimens for what looked like a really good price.

Fale Rocks

He claimed to be an honest seller of minerals ... and with a feedback of 100%  and over
600 sales I figured the guy was probably legit.

Rock Claim

I saw a fourteen ounce specimen for sale. With shipping included the total would be around $60.00
That figured out to about $4.20 an ounce, which was a heck of a lot better than the prices in the

I had a few reservations about ordering something from China but I went ahead and made the purchase.
I used Paypal because they provide pretty good protection.

One week later the nugget arrived.  It was well packaged and was the same as the photo on Ebay.

Imagine my surprise when I broke a chunk off the end and found this:

Fake Rock         Fake Rock Closeup

I sent Mr Ling an email about the fake turquoise rock and offered to send photos.


He asked for pictures and promptly refunded me my money much to everyone's surprise.

Second Letter

Well, maybe not exactly so mush as a surprise in retrospect.

Main mistake I made in dealing with this guy:

  I left positive feedback before breaking the rock open.  You cannot retract feedback
  I should have checked the thing out first.

Verify the authenticity of your purchase before leaving feedback. 
If the thing is a fraud, try to get your money back first and then leave negative feedback. 
That is the only way I know of to score some points against repeat scammers. 
Get them off that 100% feedback rating.

I kind of made it back up by emailing some of the other prospective buyers of these
'world class' specimens letting them know about the scam.

This guy knowingly sells fakes and is still selling them.

He sells polished specimens because odds are the buyer is not going to break open a
museum quality piece, thus exposing the fraud.

If he gets caught, he immediately settles and refunds the money.  Most people are happy
enough with that and they don't push the issue.

I decided to push but still have not figured out how to report this to Ebay.  They do not
seem to have a place to report frauds once you have settled.

In the interim I am going to publish this as an Ebay Guide. Perhaps someone reading this
can navigate the Ebay mailing system to report ongoing fraud or failing that, show me how to
do it (ddgnevada@gmail.com) and I will gladly follow through.

I received a few emails from other people who bought from this guy and some of the stuff
is genuine.  Large Turquoise nuggets from China however, are not.

There is a site called The-Vug.com who I wish I would have visited before I made the purchase.
They now have a picture of my fake rock on their web site as well.  If you are interested in
fakes and forgeries in the mineral world, they have a great section dealing with just that.

My fake Chinese nugget it seems, may have achieved its color via a nice overnight dunking
in TidyBowl cleaner.   

TidyBowl - Cleans Toilets and Dyes Howlite too!

I did get four ounces of turquoise from another Ebay dealer for $30.00, which is the real stuff
and will last me quite a while.

One thing about being the proud owner of a piece of fake Chinese turquoise is that it is quite
the conversation piece. 

If you would like to see some pictures and documentation of my experience with this
'honest' purveyor of minerals you can find it here:  Fake Chinese Turquoise Nugget

Caveat Emptor.

September Update

And of course I have my detractors, Ami being one of them:

On reading your guide on fake turquoise, I was appalled!
You broke Ebay rules by contacting someone elses buyers. That makes you a hypocrite.

Then you praise the member for scamming the scammer. Shame on you!

Lastly you must bear in mind that the Chinese earn in a month what we earn in a day.

I do not condone any dishonesty but frankly, the Ebay environment invites this kind of thing.

Which of course invited a response:

I feel so badly. 

I let people know they were being defrauded by crooks. Crooks, regardless of their
nationality are still crooks.

I congratulate you on your moral high ground.  I can only pretend to aspire to the moral
certitude you obviously believe you possess.

In the interim, I suggest you also write a guide, whereby you clarify the Ebay rules and
reiterate exactly why it is you believe
it is fraudulent to let a person, who in good faith
 believes he is buying a genuine article know that he is about to be defrauded

by someone who has no such moral qualms about doing so.

....and then reconsider where the actual hypocrisy lies - in those who enjoy their afternoon tea,
or in those who enjoy throwing tea parties.

All the best, Dan

August 2007

I got a letter from Jan:

I have recently purchased several items from 'Pizza-Wok', many being turquoise. One item received has
an "unpainted" backside where the "turquoise" is white. It's labeled as Egyptian turquoise, however when I
looked up Egyptian turquoise, it looked nothing like what I bought. What I bought looks like what you bought
(fake). Have you checked out that dealer?

Fake Bead 1 Fake Bead 2
Hmmm.......Something looks a little off here.

My response:

No,  that is a new dealer to me.  I would be rather suspect of Egyptian turquoise at those prices.  The real item
is pretty expensive, much like Iranian turquoise - some of the most expensive.  Anymore when it comes to
turquoise, I buy locally where I can get turquoise at reasonable prices.  Arizona Sleeping Beauty is finally
coming down a bit in price too. 
If you do beading and that sort of thing,  if  you have a Hobby Lobby store where you live, you might check out
their beading section.  I have bought Malachite, Turquoise and Sand Stone beads from them and at pretty
reasonable prices.  I generally crush the beads and use them for inlay materials and when you crush them,
they certainly appear real. 
I asked one of the sales people about the turquoise and she said the majority of the beads are made of
turquoise dust, which is stabilized and formed into beads.  I would tend to believe that.


08/07 -  I got a little curious about this pizza-wok character after finding one of his listings displayed
along side my eBay guide:


'Genuine' Strand
And what, pray tell is this?

You will receive: One 16" Strand Bead Size: 25-28x13-15mm A+ Turquoise Nugget Carat Weight: 294.84 Carats Retail Value: $95.67
A little closer look at those 'genuine' beads
Ancient implies old, right?  Lets see, whip out my calculator and 295 carats = about 2 ounces and Mr. Wok is selling this rarest of antiquities with a starting bid of
.99 cents? 

Something smells a little fishy here.  Lets take a closer look at those beads:

This must be the rarest of all Turquoise - Ancient Chinese White Turquoise.

Use some caution, folks.  Those fakes are looking pretty good.
Ancient Chinese White Turquoise(?)
I thought I was kidding about with the Ancient Chinese White Turquoise comment.
I was wrong.  I wasn't.

Ever Seen Real Chinese Turquoise Nuggets?

Well, I haven't.  A Rock and mineral show came to town and I decided to see if anyone had genuine
 turquoise from China and there were actually quite a few specimens for sale.

Real Chinese Turquoise

The seven dollar specimen is from Tibet and is actually pretty neat looking stuff. 
The other two are from the Hubei Province in China from two different mines.
I double checked with a few other vendors before I left and was assured that
this stuff is the real item.

I think I can get some pretty decent material out of the nine dollar one.  The other two I'll keep as is.

The Fake and the Real

And last but not least a side by side comparison with my fake Chinese turquoise 
nugget and the real items. 

This is a test.  See if you can differentiate the fake Chinese Turquoise nugget from the genuine items.
If you have any trouble at all,  I don't know that I can be of any further assistance.

August 2008 Update -  David was kind enough to send a letter from his home away from home...China:

Hi There,

I saw your piece on fake Turquoise coming out of China. I'm an Australian that's living in China and have seen first hand how bad it is.

In your case they used a coating to cover up the fake which is straight out fraud.

However, I find the whole subject of "stabilized turquoise" from China very interesting. It seems that almost all Turquoise sold for beads and as cabs is now imported from China and is "stabilized"

The Chinese don't have the technology to stabilize the way they did in the U.S. Instead they are basically plastic coated junk Turquoise, much like what you bought. Just replace the epoxy inside with useless junk Turquoise and there you have it. I reckon that U.S suppliers of Turquoise are well aware of just how low the Turquoise is inside, they just choose not to mention it because it's big business. With huge volumes of beads and cabs selling in the U.S better not to mention this fact. The buyers think they are buying Turquoise which is the same all the way through and just injected somehow with resin for toughness. In fact, much of it resembles an M&M lolly.

How often do we hear the term "Stabilized for added Durability" or "Stabilized to hold the color"?

Added durability? Well yes. That junk quality is very soft but if you've ever cracked open real
Turquoise you know it's easily hard enough for daily use. Even though our supplier has always been
good, (and a few are), we regularly crack open some just to be sure.

I'm also interested that you’re buying small rocks for inlay work. From the real mines, rocks are quite
expensive. Wouldn't you be better to buy larger cabs and use them? With the cabs you can see
exactly what you have and they are usually cheaper than many of the rocks. The cutting and polishing
cost in China is almost zero so it doesn't add anything. Seems the thickness has most to do with price
at the moment. Interesting too that most good Turquoise is found close to the surface. The deeper the mine,  the lower the quality. I can only imagine the pace that the Chinese are attacking their mines in Hubei and wonder how long it will last.

Also interesting that in the mine we deal with the guy says that almost all Turquoise sold as Tibetan is
not. Also, that he gets visits regularly from Japanese buyers who take high quality back to Japan and
sell it as American. Surprising as there is a big difference in appearance. However, when they buy real
AAA material the difference is much less.

Anyway, nice to see someone on the ball. I have been appalled at some of the junk I have seen selling
on Ebay as stabilized without a real description of what stabilized means for Chinese Turquoise. We have been asked by many to supply stabilized but I'd rather deal with a mine than a factory. Hell, go pick up a bead string of stabilized Turquoise in the U.S.  JUNK! You can feel your holding a straight plastic coated (and almost always colored) piece of rubbish. I mean the Chinese are well know scam artists but what I see coming from this big U.S wholesalers is not much better than a scam.

Well done !!!

kind regards,

March, 2009

Molly was kind enough to write in and share her story:

Hi, I don't have a question on any thing you have for sale.. but do want to ask about your research on the fake turquoise stones....we recently purchased a large stone from China.. 24# nugget.. I tested with a hot needle, and it has not been 'stabilized" no plastic smell...., I came on line looking to see if I could find info about this large piece and where it was dug.

Fake 1

Hi Molly,

Nice to hear from another turquoise nugget owner.  The hot needle test won't tell you much of anything unless it is a reallllllly cheap imitation.

Would be of most help to me and since I haven't updated either of my sites in a while, would be a link to the item you bid on, the price you got it for and a couple good high res photos of your nugget.  I could do quite a bit with that minimal amount of information.

What is your intent with this piece?  Is it a single piece for jewelry, something to be broken down for multiple uses?

Some of the fake stuff is quite impressive and beautiful in its own right, just so long as you know what you are paying for and prospective buyers know what they are getting.

Anyway, if you feel like sending a bit more detail along, I would be most interested.


Fake 2

Mike took it over to the gem store in Moscow, Id. It was a large specimen piece...24 pounds. It actually was a piece of died Howelite (sp) the seller is going to give Mike the money back ( a pretty penny). The seller had gotten it for another dealer, actually traded him a lot of his jasper inventory.... so he was pretty upset... the story was that it was dug in a mine in China...the reason I got on line in the  beginning was to see if I could find a news article about it because it was such a huge piece.... that was when I ran across the articles about fakes, and I just had a gut feeling about the whole thing.
thanks for getting back to me. we appreciate it.


Fake 3

Hi .....just following up with some pictures of the 24# Chinese "turquoise" nugget. It ended up being dyed howelite.... the man we purchased it from returned our money,and planned on contacting the individual he got it from.  thanks for your assistance.

Now that is one awesome chunk of fake rock!

January 2010 Update:

Bud was kind enough to send this along:

Dear Dan,

Wow, thanks for posting your fake turquoise guide, so glad to see it!

I've recently heard from Chinese students at the school where I work that they also reconstitute jade, lapis, malachite, amber, coral, pearls (can you imagine!!) and other gems so I don't buy from anyplace in china now since I don't know what I'm getting.

I buy from US sellers to help our economy and even then ask if they can guarantee that the gems are undyed, untreated, un-reconstituted, etc. and for turquoise specifically, what mine it came from.

Asking what mine tends to help lower fraud risk...and being educated on the mines and what the turquoise looks like from the mine helps too. I am even cautious about antique stuff from China too, since just because it's older does not mean it's fake.

Thanks again for posting,



Thanks for taking the time to write.  I as well as many others probably weren't aware of the extent to which minerals can be reconstituted, packaged and sold as the real deal.

Good idea to question which specific mine the mineral came from as well.  As you said, it is also a great reason to buy American in these trying times.


01/17/10 - I'm bored today. Let's see what's going on in the world of Fake Chinese Turquoise......

Fake Turquoise

Looking at this fine piece of Chinese dyed Howlite,  I can see that there are still a lot of suckers out there.  I also noticed that fake Chinese rocks have lately taken on a spiritual quality.  Apparently  fake dyed Howlite has rare healing powers, as well do other minerals emanating from the world  of creative things to do with toilet bowl cleaner.

Anything else worth noticing?  Not much, other than this must be one large hunk of Howlite and it doesn't really look like a 'Crystal Sphere' , as advertised in the title.

Died Howlite

Boy I'm feeling better about this already.  

It is High Quality!  

It is so surprising beauty!  

And it's only about $200.00 a pound!

Fake Turquoise

The thing that stands out about this other than the joker's spelling problems,  is that if you discover the fake, he wants to refund you your money before you get the chance to leave negative feedback.  That way, he can keep the complaints to a minimum and continue scamming as many people as possible.

What else is going on out there............

Fake Chinese Turquoise

Here's a better looking Fake Chinese Turquoise rock and this is a bit different in that an Anglo is holding it in his hand.  This piece of junk is better looking than others.  I had a look at this guy's store and it looks like he mostly sells the genuine article and he obviously has no clue when it comes to evaluating  turquoise.

Fake (?) Chinese Turquoise

Now this is interesting looking and I have no idea whether this is fake or the real deal.  

I am leaning towards the real deal and if I was interested in this piece,  I would notify the seller that it is
going to be examined six ways from Sunday and if it is not authentic turquoise,  there is going to be bad feedback beyond belief, followed up by numerous complaints to the Ebay Fraud Squad - assuming there is one.

Rare Fake White Chinese Turquoise......

I see the extremely rare form of White Chinese Turquoise is still out on the streets and selling for pennies on the dollar.  My guess is that the scientists creating their last batch of  'authentic' turquoise forgot to go to the store for more TidyBowl Cleaner and rather than lose the batch, declared it one of the rarest of minerals and tried to pass it off for  $19.95.

Don't believe me?

TidyBowl Turquoise

I'm getting better with Photoshop (except for the feathering part)  and I would guess with the proper amount of TidyBowl cleaner,  this gem-class piece could have been called Royal Peacock Blue  Turquoise, imbued with only the finest of spiritual essences and found only in the remote Howlin Cho Fakee mines of northern China.

A Little More Realistic

Well, this one is a little less gaudy and I used an alternative method in this fake Chinese turquoise nugget display.  Now I get to learn about removing artifacts - but not today.  Not bad, though!

08-14-2010 - A New Term Arises:  The Variegated Fake Chinese Turquoise Nugget


Trolling around Ebay for the latest in superior Chinese  Turquoise Nugget craftsmanship, something changed.


I think someone learned a new word, and that would be 'Variegated'.   There also seems to be some attempts at minimal disclosure - how to disclose that what is being sold is in essence a fake without having to say the actual word.

Fake Yellow Turquoise

Yellow Fake Turquoise

......and of course there are those who have no qualms about selling you 'genuine' Yellow Chinese Turquoise.

A Stab at Honesty - Howlite Turquoise!



The howelite in this photo is amazingly similar to the 'genuine' yellow Chinese turquoise  in the previous photo.

Never a dull moment in the land of fake Chinese turquoise.

2011 - A New Year!  Lets see what the purveyors of Fake Chinese Turquoise are up to..............

Fake Chinese Turqouise Beads and Nuggets and a Natural Frog!

My, the Chinese purveyors of 'Authentic Turquoise'  have been busy.  Turquoise now comes in all colors of the spectrum  I think I like Hot Pink  and Jet Black the best, although I am somewhat affected by the calming colors of pale pink.  I wonder if any of these stones are scented as well, I mean if you think Americans are total suckers, the why not go after it whole hog.  Something like:

'May I present for your sensuous pleasure,  the rare blush rose turquoise.  Found only around ancient pyramids in Eastern China (at least that's what they say on Coast to Coast),  this blush colored  turquoise takes on the lingering scents of  roses past, imbuing it with an ethereal quality and spiritual essence found nowhere else in the world.'  

............and it's yours for only 99 cents a strand.

I think the most original new idea is buying fake Chinese turquoise in a party pack (two over, three down),  or the natural freeform frog.

If you are cogitating on buying some turquoise this year and are confused by the myriad possibilities presented on Ebay, and don't know where to turn........you've come to the right place.  

Simple guide for buying turquoise:

If what you are looking to buy resembles any of the images in this collage and it is being passed off as turquoise  and it purports to come from China, Hong Kong or Australia in particular,  it is NOT TURQUOISE.


And I don't want to cause too much disappointment out there but the 'natural freeform turquoise frog'  shown here is NOT NATURAL, NOT FREEFORM and NOT TURQUOISE and only marginally, a FROG!

2012 - The Year for Thinking Big - Fraud on a Grand Scale........and another Shift in Terminology.

This year the ChiComs have shifted gears.  

Now we are seeing 'FreeForm' and 'FreeScale' fake Chinese turquoise and the general theme seems to be 'Bigger is Better!'

Fake on a Grand Scale


They must be following the precept that if you can tell a big enough lie enough times, people will begin to believe it.

In this case it's slightly different - see if you can sell a big enough lie enough times to reel in the suckers.

And where is the EBAY Fraud Squad?  You mean this doesn't show up on the most primitive of radar screens?

We've all heard of Caveat Emptor, but this is barenaked, outright fraud!

EBAY,  are you kidding?   Are you all operating on 20 Watt bulbs over there or what?


Brought to you by  the 24 hour a day Howlite factories pumping out all the fradulent turquoise they can sell, and supposedly located in a real place where real turquoise actually comes from......... Hubei, China.  

Funny,  these fakes look like just like purple geodes to me.  

Then again, in China - anything is possible.


This clown has a 98.9% rating.  Rating in what?   Fraud?

  You're Kidding

This isn't even worth further comment. If you're stupid enough to shell out the $$$ for this,  
then the ChiCom selling this deserves an early retirement.

Fake Turqouise

If you do decide to go against the gods and buy one of these fine examples of Chinese fakery despite all the warnings;  find solace and comfort in knowing  that the base is probably highly irradiated plastic,  thereby significantly shortening your existence on this planet.......and your misery as well when you finally wake up to the fact that you've been scammed.

Fake Turquoise

I don't get it.  Is this a rare gemstone or a bead?  

So much for the sheer ridiculous.  

Now to the mundane in the world of ordinary Chinese Turquoise Fraud.

Fake Info

Boy this makes me feel better already.  Especially the obvious command of the English language.

Leave it to Hollywood, CA to get in on the action too:

Fake Turquoise

Here we have 'fresh orange'  fake turquoise with 'veins of gold' running through it - naturally, or course.

We also have hot pink, brown and yellow, and other assorted 'gem quality' Howlite or just plain old epoxy the seller purports as turquoise.


You wouldn't believe how much this Hollywood huckster is charging for these works of 'art', or maybe you would.

I might add that yes Dorothy, there is a difference between fake  turquoise, dyed geodes and agates, and what you are referring to is actually  dyed agate.

'Freeform' Fake Chinese Turquoise


In this year of 2012, we are now seeing 'freeform' fake Turquoise slabs for the low-low price of............WHAT?

Free shipping though......mighty white of them, woudn't you say?

Freeform Frogs

However, my heart has warmed slightly to see 'freeform'  chinese fake turquoise frogs are still on the scene.  I kind of like them.

Too bad though,  that the sellers of these psuedo turquoise pieces can't label them for what they are.  

I think the Chinese view the rest of us as the Japanese equivalent of Gaijin in that honesty doesn't matter if you are dealing with someone who is not Chinese.

So what happens when people finally begin to wise-up about fake Turquoise Rough from China?

Fake 1

Well, uh.......lets see..........
Claim it comes from somewhere else?

Fake Turquoise

 Claim it comes from Mexico! 

Fake Turquoise

And what fine looking material this is...........

Fake Turquoise

I do like that sickly plasticky sheen......... Urethane?......Nawww - that would cost too much.

Fake Turquoise

Fake Turquoise

Direct from the La Banana Mines just south of Juarez,  this piece yellow rough is selling at let's see...

($51.00 / 9.15).....only $5.57 a pound!  

You know,  it would be quite helpful to the cause if you lernt to spell 'Mexico' in your false advertising campaign but then again I suppose it's par for the course. 'Mexcio' though,  just doesn't quite have the same ring to it...........

Fake Turquoise

If that is too much for your wallet, how about this chunk for only $3.77 a pound!

These pieces believe it or not are being sold by an individual on the East Coast who claims to be a legitimate dealer.  

I suspect the owner's father probably was.  

The current owner.......either he's totally ignorant about turquoise or he salts fraudulent pieces in with the genuine, and that is not an uncommon practice in the world of EBAY mineral sales.

2012 is Shaping Up
to be an Amazing Year in the world of Chinese turquoise fakery and fraud.

Watch out!

2013 - A Boring Year all in all.

The only thing of marginal interest to me in the world of Turqoise Greed, Scams and Suckers came from a clown named John, supposedly residing in San Jose CA.

For some reason I think this guy is ESL, Dyslexic, a really bad Babel Fish user or another fine example of the problems facing our inner-city public school system......or quite possibly a combination of all:

Thanks for the night stress !looking for the great rare nuggets in china turq. saw you story !!!       so you want real stone the best for your jewery for fair price ????      nevadagem.com cligreat book too get copy amazon !!! we did !! he has some just what your looking for china hubei gem  at 3.usd ct he has big one we want 209 gr. we have 1 fine dealer in turq. rocks real just hard waxed some tinted we take that all off . me in ca  san jose . john


Further commentary on this would be pointless, as was the year of 2013 for fake Chinese turquoise nugget fraud.   I hope 2014 provides for better writing material..

Webmaster Request:

To all you other victims of Chinese fakery and fraud........feel free to contribute to the diatribe by sending along some pics and commentary of your own.  I've been doing this since 2006 pretty much by myself and I could use a little help nowadays in spreading the word.

~  Thanks,  Dan