- The Collaborative Numismatics Project
  Explore Our Website And Find Joy In The History, Numismatics, Art, Mythology, And Geography Of Coins!!! NumisWiki Is An Enormous Unique Resource Including Hundreds Of Books And Thousands Of Articles Online!!! The Column On The Left Includes Our "Best of NumisWiki" Menu If You Are New To Collecting - Start With Ancient Coin Collecting 101 NumisWiki Includes The Encyclopedia of Roman Coins and Historia Nummorum If You Have Written A Numismatic Article - Please Add It To NumisWiki All Blue Text On The Website Is Linked - Keep Clicking To ENDLESSLY EXPLORE!!! Please Visit Our Shop And Find A Coin You Love Today!!!

× Resources Home
New Articles
Most Popular
Recent Changes
Current Projects
Admin Discussions
How to
Index Of All Titles


Aes Formatum
Aes Grave
Aes Rude
The Age of Gallienus
Alexander Tetradrachms
Ancient Coin Collecting 101
Ancient Coin Prices 101
Ancient Coin Dates
Ancient Coin Lesson Plans
Ancient Coins & Modern Fakes
Ancient Counterfeits
Ancient Glass
Ancient Metal Arrowheads
Ancient Oil Lamps
Ancient Weapons
Ancient Wages and Prices
Ancient Weights and Scales
Anonymous Folles
Anonymous Follis
Anonymous Class A Folles
Antioch Officinae
Armenian Numismatics Page
Byzantine Denominations
A Cabinet of Greek Coins
Caesarean and Actian Eras
Campgates of Constantine
A Case of Counterfeits
Byzantine Christian Themes
Clashed Dies
Coins of Pontius Pilate
Conditions of Manufacture
Corinth Coins and Cults
Countermarked in Late Antiquity
Danubian Celts
Damnatio Coinage
Damnatio Memoriae
Denarii of Otho
Diameter 101
Die Alignment 101
Dictionary of Roman Coins
Doug Smith's Ancient Coins
Edict on Prices
ERIC - Rarity Tables
Etruscan Alphabet
The Evolving Ancient Coin Market
Facing Portrait of Augustus
Fel Temp Reparatio
Fertility Pregnancy and Childbirth
Friend or Foe
The Gallic Empire
Gallienus Zoo
Greek Alphabet
Greek Coins
Greek Dates
Greek Coin Denominations
Greek Mythology Link
Greek Numismatic Dictionary
Hellenistic Names & their Meanings
Hasmonean Dynasty
Helvetica's ID Help Page
The Hexastyle Temple of Caligula
Historia Numorum
Horse Harnesses
Identifying Ancient Metal Arrowheads
Illustrated Ancient Coin Glossary
Important Collection Auctions
Islamic Rulers and Dynasties
Julian II: The Beard and the Bull
Julius Caesar - The Funeral Speech
Kushan Coins
People in the Bible Who Issued Coins
Imperial Mints of Philip the Arab
Later Roman Coinage
Latin Plurals
Latin Pronunciation
Library of Ancient Coinage
Life in Ancient Rome
List of Kings of Judea
Malloy Weapons
Maps of the Ancient World
Military Belts
Mint Marks
Museum Collections Available Online
Nabataean Alphabet
Nabataean Numerals
The [Not] Cuirassed Elephant
Not in RIC
Numismatic Bulgarian
Numismatic Excellence Award
Numismatic French
Numismatic German
Numismatic Italian
Numismatic Spanish
Parthian Coins
Patina 101
Paleo-Hebrew Alphabet
Phoenician Alphabet
Pi-Style Athens Tetradrachms
Pricing and Grading Roman Coins
Reading Judean Coins
Representations of Alexander the Great
Roman Coin Attribution 101
Roman Militaria
Roman Mints
Roman Names
Rome and China
Satyrs and Nymphs
Serdi Celts
The Sign that Changed the World
Silver Content of Parthian Drachms
Star of Bethlehem Coins
Statuary Coins
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum
Syracusian Folles
Taras Drachms with Owl Left
The Temple Tax
The Temple Tax Hoard
Test Cut
Travels of Paul
Tribute Penny
Tribute Penny Debate Continued (2015)
Tribute Penny Debate Revisited (2006)
Tyrian Shekels
Uncleaned Ancient Coins 101
Venus Cloacina
What I Like About Ancient Coins
Who was Trajan Decius
Widow's Mite

   View Menu


Egyptian faience is a non-clay based porous crystalline ceramic composed of crushed quartz or sand, with small amounts of calcite lime and a mixture of alkalis. Faience was cast in molds to form objects and small vessels. A glassy surface luster was created by surface vitrification of a soda lime silica glaze. The most common color, a bright blue-green was made by adding a copper pigment.

Real Vs Fake: Faience Amulets Under a Microscope

Anyone who has tried to get into the hobby of collecting Egyptian antiquities will quickly come to realize just how many fakes are out there. It can feel a little overwhelming at times, but there are a few good ways to tell what 's real and what 's not, as long as you can inspect the artifact closely.
I 'll post a few images here that I feel may be helpful for anyone trying to identify if an ancient Egyptian artifact is real or fake.
Sometimes simply checking under a microscope is a good way to determine if it 's real when other observations fail. This is most helpful for faience, but can help with many forms of ancient ceramics. 

In this case, I examined a pair of faience amulets under a microscope. One amulet was genuine, the other a clever fake. Both amulets looked similar at first glance.
The differences are shown in the below images, which I made during a project several years ago.

TOP PHOTO: These magnified images are from a real faience Thoth amulet bought from a reliable antiquities dealer at private auction. Take note of the uneven glazing, variation of color, and dust in all of the little nooks and crannies. The faience glaze is opaque, due to the high amount of impurities in the ancient formula. You 'll have a hard time seeing air bubbles in the glassy parts. Any rough areas have been filled with caked-on dust, which even the most protected amulets will accumulate over time.

The fourth slide is a magnification of a small hole in the amulet. The dust is fibrous and caked on thickly. This is likely "mummy dust," although it could also be the remains of a string. It is a complex mixture of many materials, fibers, dust, resin, etc. Sellers who try to fake mummy dust tend to use one material, which causes the dust to seem to be a uniform composition under magnification. Some sellers will sprinkle their amulets with real mummy dust, but it will fail to get into all the nooks and crannies, leaving some areas with clean, glassy holes where bubbles caused flaws in the glaze.

Below you 'll see images of a fake amulet. Take note of the clearly visible bubbles in the glaze, and the overall uniformity of color and cleanliness of the surface. You 'll notice you can see the bubbles deep below the surface, due to how clear and pure the glaze is - a sign of industrially refined chemicals.
This is not what you 'd see on an object that has been collecting dust for thousands of years. Even the best preserved artifacts will have some build up. On higher magnifications with a better microscope, small flecks of shiny dust, likely metal flakes, can be seen. These most likely would have corroded away in the ancient samples.

BOTTOM PHOTO: Magnified images of a fake faience Anubis amulet sold by the notorious seller of fakes on ebay, "collector08888." (I knew it was fake when I bought it, although he insisted it was genuine.)

Fakers have been getting better at making convincing fakes, but hopefully this will help the average collector weed out some of the less obvious fakes.

All coins are guaranteed for eternity