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How to Tell if a Geode is Dyed: All You Need to Know

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If you have ever encountered a mesmerizing geode with splendid color in a crystal shop, you may have wondered if that piece is dyed or natural. I asked, too! That’s why I researched this topic for a deeper understanding, and in this article, I will share what I learned with you.

The geodes will likely be dyed if they are very bright and intense. Also, the crystal may appear smoother in texture if enhanced. Most geodes are brownish or white naturally. They may also have muted colors due to the mineral contents.

So now you know dyed geodes look somewhat different than the naturally colored ones. Let’s discuss how to tell the difference and identify the dyed geodes.

How to Tell if a Geode is Dyed
How to Tell if a Geode is Dyed

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How to Identify Dyed Geodes

Before identifying if a geode is dyed, we must first know what a natural geode looks like. I’ll break down the topic for you and elaborate

Natural Colors of Geodes

What does a natural geode look like? A loose translation of the Latin word ‘Geode’ is “earthlike.” The natural color of most of the quartz crystals is milky white or transparent. However, some can be colorful; for example, amethyst is purple.

Geodes are sedimentary or volcanic rocks with an internal cavity lined with crystals and agate bands. The crystals and bands are formed by different minerals and silica precipitation, which are responsible for their natural color. Additional elements and impurities mixed with the minerals result in the unique colors of the geodes.

The agate layers form concentric bands and are commonly grayish or brownish earth tones. They can have colorful shades because of specific mineral constituents distributed within the stone. Some common examples are:

Iron/CobaltPurple/ Red
TitaniumBlue family
NickelGreen hue
ChromiumGreen hue
ManganesePink tone
Natural Colors of Geodes

Some rare colors are also found in geodes, such as green Quartz, golden yellow citrines, bi-colored ametrines, or black calcites.

A particular type of quartz crystal is called chalcedony, which has a very small crystal structure. They contribute to the color of the interior wall of the geode, such as gray, white, blue, orange, or yellow.

How Dyed Geodes Are Different from Natural Geodes

You may already know that the natural geode colors are usually not very bright or intense. Their colors are subdued in appearance.

They can have different hues, while the transition of color and band shades are not very dramatic. From this standpoint, we can note a few characteristics of artificially dyed geodes:

  • Geodes with bright, vivid colors are most likely dyed.
  • Dyed geodes may have a dramatic transition in color bands.
  • Colors may appear very consistent, which is not typical for natural geodes.
  • Overall, the dyed geodes look more polished and enhance the color.

TIP: Both natural and dyed geodes can be expensive. Do you know what is the actual value of geodes? Find out more in the article below:
The Value of Geodes: Are They Worth Anything?

Why Geodes are Dyed

It is rational to wonder why people would dye geodes. Let’s check out some of the most common.

Dyed Geodes Improve Salability

Geodes are dyed to look more attractive because, in all practicality, they sell well! Colorless, white, grayish, or yellowish pieces are often dyed to add different colors and vivid tones. When naturally colored pieces are pale or dirty, they are frequently enhanced with added dyes.

  • Agates of the geode are dyed after they are processed in the form of slices, standing slabs or nodules, and small tumbled stones.
  • Commonly used dye colors include vivid pink, purple, blue, green, teal, orange, red, etc.
  • In the case of Quartz’s case, the small pieces are usually dyed, as large pieces are often appealing enough on their own.
  • Colorful geodes appeal to many customers as decorative pieces. Some are also processed as more functional products, such as paperweights or bookends.

Colorful Quartz that is naturally attractive and valuable usually does not need dyed. Some examples are:

  • Rose quartz,
  • Citrine, and
  • Amethyst.

Large amethyst geodes with spectacular appearance can even sell for thousands of dollars!

BTW: Do you want to know more about rock and mineral identification? The books listed below are the best ones you can find on the internet (Amazon links):

Dyed Geodes May Imitate Gemstones or Rare Minerals

Dyeing geode stones is a cheap way to imitate rare and expensive gemstones. This intends to provide an affordable option for consumers looking for a similar gemstone look. They can be used in jewelry or aesthetic pieces.

  • A typical example is ‘Howlite,’ which is usually found in white or colorless nodule form. They are often colored to imitate the valuable mineral stone ‘Turquoise.’ This is why Howlite is also called ‘Turquinite.’  
  • Quartzite, chalcedony, marble, gibbsite, magnesite, aragonite, and jasper are dyed and processed to imitate other rare minerals.
  • An average size (say a baseball size) of typical calcite or quartz crystals can sell from $4-$12. The more uncommon mineral geodes can sell from $30 to $600. Again, the price will vary with the piece’s size, mineral, and aesthetic.

So, you can see, profitability is the key with some of the dyed geodes! Nonetheless, while this dyed geode is lucrative in the jewelry or showpiece market, most true mineral collectors would always look for the natural ones.

TIP: Heightened demand for geodes results in the artificial manufacturing of fake geodes. Find out the main differences between real and fake geodes in the article below:
Difference Between Real & Fake Geodes: Focus on These Signs

How Geodes Are Dyed

Diverse techniques and treatments are involved with the dyeing of geodes. These techniques usually vary depending on the type of mineral and the crystal structure.

Dying Quartz with the Quench Crackling Color Treatment

A common color treatment technique used for Quartz is called quench crackling or thermal shock.

Here, a butane torch exposes the crystal to heat and is subjected to a cold liquid dye solution. This process causes the crystal to crackle, and thus, dyes can be deposited through the cracks.

This technique is suitable for non-porous crystals that do not have a natural affinity to dyes. Overall, the coloration of Quartz is inexpensive due to its natural clarity and neutral color.


Another method is irradiation, where the optical properties or visibility is altered with high levels of ionizing radiation to enhance appearance. For instance, this process can change colorless quartz to imitate ‘smoky quartz.’

Fracture Filling or Impregnation Treatments for Geodes

This technique involves injecting colorless or colored oil or resin into the stone. This can improve clarity, increase luster, enhance, or add color.

Some other treatments include:

  • Bleaching,
  • Coating, and
  • Lattice diffusion.

TIP: Do you know the most common crystals you can find in geodes? Check them out in the article below:
16 Most Common Types of Crystals You Can Find in Geodes

Tips for Buying Quality Geodes

From the above discussion, you may have some clues as to how to differentiate dyed geodes from natural geodes.

Being careful when investing in an expensive geode such as amethyst becomes more critical. In those cases, pay attention to the following tips:

  • Try to choose a geode that has thin walls with more crystal-visible
  • Notice if the crystal is fully formed with a large size
  • A good piece should have symmetry in the shape
  • Be careful not to pick a piece with a defect, crack, or holes
  • A darkly-colored amethyst usually has a more excellent value.

Following these tips will ensure that the quality and value of the geode are worth the price.

Sometimes, uncracked geodes are also sold at a low price. Remember that due to hollow crystal formation, geodes are usually lighter than solid agates.

This guide can also help you choose and buy uncracked geodes.


I hope this article helps you determine the differences between dyed and naturally colored geodes, how and why geodes are stained, and how you can pick a quality piece by being a little observant. Natural geodes that are bright and deep in color will usually be valuable and expensive.

So, if you want to pick affordable decorative pieces that look beautiful but don’t break the bank, check out some less expensive dyed geodes.

TIP: Both geodes and thundereggs look like ordinary stones from the outside. Find out the main differences between geodes and thundereggs in the article below:
The 7 Main Differences Between Geode and ThunderEgg