There are many online and shopkeepers that sell fake rudraksha carved out of either synthetic materials (cork material, plastic, hard foam) or from the use of similar type of seeds (blueberry seeds, betel nuts and areca nuts).

Some lower mukhi beads have extra lines carved out to make them look like they have extra lines. For example, a 10 mukhi rudraksha can have 4 more lines to make them into a 14 mukhi rudraksha hence increasing the price 10 fold. By gluing together two smaller beads can be joined to make a Gauri Shankar bead. There are some but few unprincipled methods used by many rudraksha dealers. Rudraksha are found plenty in nature and should not at all be expensive. Dealers exploit the fact that buyers cannot always travel to India or Nepal to obtain them where they are in abundance hence the rise in many small dealers off and on- line.

Although there are no fool proof ways to identify a real rudraksha from a fake one, there are precautions and tips that can be used,

  • An original rudraksha is slightly heavier and hence should float on water; however scrupulous dealers will inject metal into it to make it heaver. However, even an unripe (picked or fallen from the tree early) but original rudraksha sometimes float in water
  • A rudraksha is robust and should not break down easily when subjected to harsh conditions such as boiling,
  • An original should have defined deep linings or facets that can be seen with a hand held the naked eye or easily with magnifying glass.

In terms of spirituality size, shape or cost of the rudraksha makes no difference in its efficacy in bringing good luck to the wearer as long as its original. They are holy irrespective of size, though many like to collect hence buy larger ones. Many prefer to wear smaller size beads or necklaces (malas) as it can be tucked under the clothing and therefore does not interfere in their day to day activities and is not conspicuous.