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Fake specimens from the Erongo and Brandberg region.
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Pierre Joubert




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PostPosted: Apr 10, 2018 04:26    Post subject: Fake specimens from the Erongo and Brandberg region.  

There has been an alarming increase in fake specimens from Erongo and Brandberg region over the last few years. I have spoken to a few dealers and diggers and it appears that a family is behind these operations. I now know who they are, but cannot mention them for obvious reasons. They do not sell them themselves, but have locals that do their dirty work for them, knowingly or unknowingly. They have been reported to the mining office but nothing has been done so far
I invite anyone who has anything more to add with regards to this topic with the intent to warn people to double check before purchasing specimens from these areas.

Please also see some other fake specimens lower down on this page https://www.mineral-forum.com/message-board/viewtopic.php?t=3621



P1380562.JPG
 Mineral: Quartz with borax?
 Locality:
Brandberg area, Erongo Region, Namibia
 Dimensions: 66 x 60 x 53 mm
 Description:
FAKE 1 This fake was probably created by gluing amethyst quartz crystals to a basalt matrix and then growing something like borax crystals over them.
 Viewed:  9682 Time(s)

P1380562.JPG



P1380584.JPG
 Mineral: Quartz with borax?
 Locality:
Brandberg area, Erongo Region, Namibia
 Dimensions: 46 x 42 x 42 mm
 Description:
FAKE 2
 Viewed:  9677 Time(s)

P1380584.JPG



P1380587.JPG
 Mineral: Quartz with borax?
 Locality:
Brandberg area, Erongo Region, Namibia
 Dimensions: 46 x 42 x 42 mm
 Description:
Same specimen as above.
 Viewed:  9663 Time(s)

P1380587.JPG



P1380589.JPG
 Mineral: Quartz with borax?
 Locality:
Brandberg area, Erongo Region, Namibia
 Dimensions: 73 x 53 x 48 mm
 Description:
FAKE 3
 Viewed:  9667 Time(s)

P1380589.JPG



P1380593.JPG
 Mineral: Quartz with borax?
 Locality:
Brandberg area, Erongo Region, Namibia
 Dimensions: 73 x 53 x 48 mm
 Description:
 Viewed:  9670 Time(s)

P1380593.JPG



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Debbie Woolf




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PostPosted: Apr 10, 2018 05:07    Post subject: Re: Fake specimens from the Erongo and Brandberg region.  

I thank you for bringing this to our attention.
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Pierre Joubert




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PostPosted: Apr 10, 2018 05:38    Post subject: Re: Fake specimens from the Erongo and Brandberg region.  

Debbie Woolf wrote:
I thank you for bringing this to our attention.


Pleasure Debbie. You can read more on Face Book by joining the group Namibia Mineral Specimens...

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PostPosted: Apr 10, 2018 07:32    Post subject: Re: Fake specimens from the Erongo and Brandberg region.  

Appreciate this Pierre.
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Pierre Joubert




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PostPosted: Apr 10, 2018 07:37    Post subject: Re: Fake specimens from the Erongo and Brandberg region.  

Chris Rayburn wrote:
Appreciate this Pierre.


Thank you Chris. I saw some pictures of Kaokoland specimens that had the same 'borax' treatment; most probably the same authors.

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PostPosted: Apr 10, 2018 12:34    Post subject: Re: Fake specimens from the Erongo and Brandberg region.  

Hi, Pierre, List

To my eyes, it is simply alum recrystallized over the amethyst, be it natural or glued to any pseudo-matrix....
It is easy to crystallize, it has been sold many times in eBay in an array of colors (over others matrix...)
Borax is not that easy to get in crystals....

With best wishes

Lluís
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Pierre Joubert




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PostPosted: Apr 10, 2018 13:01    Post subject: Re: Fake specimens from the Erongo and Brandberg region.  

lluis wrote:
Hi, Pierre, List

To my eyes, it is simply alum recrystallized over the amethyst, be it natural or glued to any pseudo-matrix....
It is easy to crystallize, it has been sold many times in eBay in an array of colors (over others matrix...)
Borax is not that easy to get in crystals....

With best wishes

Lluís

Hi dear friend lluis, I considered alum, but the crystal structure look more like borax. The crystals also have a very soapy feel. But, you may be right. Best regards:-)

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PostPosted: Apr 10, 2018 14:03    Post subject: Re: Fake specimens from the Erongo and Brandberg region.  

My dear friend Pierre

Borax is not cubic, it is monoclinic and crystals look to be octahedrons (cubic). Apart that borax has the bad habitude to dehydrate, giving crystals a white look, due to conversion to tincalconite
https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/B%C3%B3rax#/media/File:Borax_crystals.jpg

Soapy touch could be by alum.... just it is maybe covered by any oil, or just humidity is enough to get it "soapy"...

Anyway, when thinking in fakes, think that fakers are not idiots, use to be very clever and very skilled.... and use to be lazy: the easier, the preferred... My own experiences in coin collecting.... (the sad ones, I mean.... When you see coins sold at the mere 500.000 USD piece in a top auction and they are fakes.... well... No suspicions, besides. A criminal case in USA. Long time ago..(well not so long....Say 3-4 years ago))

With best wishes

Lluís
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PostPosted: Apr 10, 2018 14:48    Post subject: Re: Fake specimens from the Erongo and Brandberg region.  

lluis wrote:
My dear friend Pierre

Borax is not cubic, it is monoclinic and crystals look to be octahedrons (cubic). Apart that borax has the bad habitude to dehydrate, giving crystals a white look, due to conversion to tincalconite
https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/B%C3%B3rax#/media/File:Borax_crystals.jpg

Soapy touch could be by alum.... just it is maybe covered by any oil, or just humidity is enough to get it "soapy"...

Anyway, when thinking in fakes, think that fakers are not idiots, use to be very clever and very skilled.... and use to be lazy: the easier, the preferred... My own experiences in coin collecting.... (the sad ones, I mean.... When you see coins sold at the mere 500.000 USD piece in a top auction and they are fakes.... well... No suspicions, besides. A criminal case in USA. Long time ago..(well not so long....Say 3-4 years ago))

With best wishes

Lluís


Thank you for the valuable input Lluís! I have always been fascinated by why some have a drive to deceive, causing harm instead of a drive to work and render an honest service to society.

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PostPosted: Apr 10, 2018 20:40    Post subject: Re: Fake specimens from the Erongo and Brandberg region.  

Are the sellers advertising these as "natural mineral specimens"? It only qualifies as a "fake" if they're claiming it's natural. If not, then it's just a "work of art", and making art is not a crime.
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PostPosted: Apr 11, 2018 02:16    Post subject: Re: Fake specimens from the Erongo and Brandberg region.  

alfredo wrote:
Are the sellers advertising these as "natural mineral specimens"? It only qualifies as a "fake" if they're claiming it's natural. If not, then it's just a "work of art", and making art is not a crime.


Noble approach Alfredo. If this was the case, they should have provided a label; revealed their identity and do it openly. I assure you, there is no honesty involved.

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PostPosted: Apr 11, 2018 02:41    Post subject: Re: Fake specimens from the Erongo and Brandberg region.  

Pierre Joubert wrote:
alfredo wrote:
Are the sellers advertising these as "natural mineral specimens"? It only qualifies as a "fake" if they're claiming it's natural. If not, then it's just a "work of art", and making art is not a crime.


Noble approach Alfredo. If this was the case, they should have provided a label; revealed their identity and do it openly. I assure you, there is no honesty involved.


While this may be true 'technically / legally', anyone buying a matrix specimen - or even a single or cluster of crystals ASSUMES that it is natural and not man-made or human-altered in any major way - certainly not glued together; and never naturally in that form or association. Repairs of a once natural specimen is slightly different matter - but even that should be mentioned and priced accordingly. Ditto a real specimen given a more 'prestigious' location - when the seller knows it comes from a less prestigious one.
I've been lucky and only once purchased a major specimen that turned out to be a complete fake. Since the advent of superglue anything is possible unless one carefully examines and researches. Caveat emptor!
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PostPosted: Apr 11, 2018 03:50    Post subject: Re: Fake specimens from the Erongo and Brandberg region.  

Yes, I suppose an "artist" ought to sign the piece ;))

Tell the seller, "Let's leave it in a bucket of water overnight and discuss the price tomorrow."
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PostPosted: Apr 11, 2018 04:44    Post subject: Re: Fake specimens from the Erongo and Brandberg region.  

Selling mineral art is certainly not a crime but how many mineral dealers sell openly art and natural specimens?
And if they do openly advertise and sell both types of ‘products’, I imagine most buyers would be very confused - well, I would!

One of my favorite sellers keeps showing me man-made specimens whenever I visit his shop in Bogota.
He knows I am always interested to have a look although I don’t buy. But before displaying them, he first locks the shop door because ‘nobody needs to see or to know’.
And when asked what he does with these man-made specimens, he mentions some distant foreign clients who cannot afford to buy natural specimens (Which can be actually very true!).

From the seller’s point of view, there should be a clear line of demarcation between art and natural.
Selling mineral art and natural specimens are different businesses targeting distinct customer groups and profiles.
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PostPosted: Apr 11, 2018 11:38    Post subject: Re: Fake specimens from the Erongo and Brandberg region.  

As long as this is turning into a bit of general topic on 'fakes' or 'man made' specimens, I'm always amazed when I go to mineral shows to see on the 'cheap tables' SO MANY human made crystals of copper sulfate, alum [often colored], bismuth and many others. While they are in a sense real crystals, the are NOT NATURAL crystals. Any advanced or intermediate person on minerals would know this immediately, but I have actually had to break the news [gently] to naive buyers that what they just bought was not natural, not found from nature - but made in a laboratory or kitchen or basement...... These are interesting for kids who want to learn about mineral forms, but everyone should be told what they are and where they 'come from'.
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PostPosted: Apr 11, 2018 14:18    Post subject: Re: Fake specimens from the Erongo and Brandberg region.  

Hi, Peter

Agreed completely with you.
And, even respecting deeply Alfredo, "art" is a thing that should be disclosed. If not fully disclosed, well, maybe living in a place where fakes are very common, and to ask for is a need, I simply think that seller is not honourable.

Maybe my fault, because I also collect coins, and there fakes are so common (sadly!)!

With best wishes

LLuís
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PostPosted: Apr 12, 2018 01:53    Post subject: Re: Fake specimens from the Erongo and Brandberg region.  

lluis wrote:
Hi, Peter

Agreed completely with you.
And, even respecting deeply Alfredo, "art" is a thing that should be disclosed. If not fully disclosed, well, maybe living in a place where fakes are very common, and to ask for is a need, I simply think that seller is not honourable.

Maybe my fault, because I also collect coins, and there fakes are so common (sadly!)!

With best wishes

LLuís


Yeah, I collect coins too. I have one fake that if it were not would make me a very rich man. Sadly, it is not only fake, but a very bad fake made in the USSR of a rare USA silver dollar.

Maybe at shows, show operators should make clear to those with tables that all non-Natural and/or artificially produced items should be so labeled. It would be like having an antique show and knowingly letting some sell fresh-made 'antiques' as old antiques. It is not kosher and in some ways taints the entire event. If properly labeled, people can still buy them for their beauty, interesting crystal structures, 'artistic esthetics' or whatever....
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PostPosted: Apr 12, 2018 05:32    Post subject: Re: Fake specimens from the Erongo and Brandberg region.  

Greetings ! I’m a newbie to the forum! Glad to be here and see all the incredibly talented and well educated mineral experts on here.

On the subject, I remember years ago as a newly inquisitive rock
“Collector” I fell hard for the man made specimens! I agree with the previous poster about these needing to be labeled as such. I avoid man mades now, but it always surprises me that shops sell them as if the great Mother Earth spat them from her loins. 😂

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PostPosted: Apr 12, 2018 06:55    Post subject: Re: Fake specimens from the Erongo and Brandberg region.  

"Maybe at shows, show operators should make clear to those with tables that all non-Natural and/or artificially produced items should be so labeled."

...Most shows I participate in, that is indeed written into the dealers' contracts! Enforcement of that rule however seems to be rather lax or intermittent. I suspect that at some shows there are few if any mineralogists or advanced collectors on the organizer's staff, so they don't even recognize the faked stuff. And at the really big shows, with almost a thousand booths, an "inspector of fakery" would have a hard time even looking at most of the booths. There are some internet venues for "naming and shaming", like the Scammology group on Facebook.
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PostPosted: Apr 12, 2018 12:34    Post subject: Re: Fake specimens from the Erongo and Brandberg region.  

I appreciate all the comments. Here are a few more, what I consider fakes or 'altered'. A few of these have featured on another post but, I share them again for the sake of this topic.
Another disturbing occurrence is the grinding of damaged facets to attempt to conceal damage. When one buys a lot of specimens, you do not always have the time to check whether every facet on your specimen is natural (you do not expect it not to be).



P1380604.JPG
 Mineral: Quartz
 Locality:
Brandberg area, Erongo Region, Namibia
 Dimensions: 45 x 50 x 36 mm
 Description:
Specimen glued onto matrix and covered with fine mineral material.
 Viewed:  8565 Time(s)

P1380604.JPG



P1380605.JPG
 Mineral: Quartz
 Locality:
Brandberg area, Erongo Region, Namibia
 Dimensions: 45 x 50 x 36 mm
 Description:
Same as above
 Viewed:  8565 Time(s)

P1380605.JPG



P1380606.JPG
 Mineral: Quartz
 Locality:
Brandberg area, Erongo Region, Namibia
 Dimensions: 68 x 35 x 44 mm
 Description:
Specimen glued onto matrix and covered with fine mineral material.
 Viewed:  8560 Time(s)

P1380606.JPG



P1380607.JPG
 Mineral: Quartz
 Locality:
Brandberg area, Erongo Region, Namibia
 Dimensions: 68 x 35 x 44 mm
 Description:
Same as above.
 Viewed:  8565 Time(s)

P1380607.JPG



P1380622.JPG
 Mineral: Quartz
 Locality:
Brandberg area, Erongo Region, Namibia
 Dimensions: 71 x 65 x 43 mm
 Description:
What a beautiful crystal specimen! So what is wrong with it?
 Viewed:  8565 Time(s)

P1380622.JPG



P1380619.JPG
 Mineral: Quartz
 Locality:
Brandberg area, Erongo Region, Namibia
 Dimensions: F.O.V. approx. 25 mm
 Description:
A few faces was sandpapered to attempt to conceal damage.The specimen is now not fit to sell, whereas, with normal damage it would still have fetched a fair price.
 Viewed:  8571 Time(s)

P1380619.JPG



P1380612.JPG
 Mineral: Quartz
 Locality:
Brandberg area, Erongo Region, Namibia
 Dimensions: 78 x 55 x 41 mm
 Description:
Another specimen with a few faces sanded.
 Viewed:  8559 Time(s)

P1380612.JPG



P1380613.JPG
 Mineral: Quartz
 Locality:
Brandberg area, Erongo Region, Namibia
 Dimensions: F.O.V. approx. 23 mm
 Description:
 Viewed:  8554 Time(s)

P1380613.JPG



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