I did not see it as a problem before now :(
I been contacted from some costumers asking me about Fake Marukas ㋕正本山 on Ebay and for the first time i have seen some Fake stamped Stones been sold to overseas marked that openly !!
I will cover here how to avoid to buy a fake stones or stones that is not in good quality.
First of all most popular stones in Japan is Maruka Nakayama, Okudo, Karasu, Kiita
So you will see this stones been copied a lot.
If you think that Japanese is to nice to fake stones or sell you some stones that is bad, you are mistaken big time ! I have even stumbled upon Some Chinese Natural Stones been Sold as Jnats in Japan !
There is stamp stores everywhere in Japan and you can buy any stamp you want everywhere VERY cheap :P
All stone retailers and wholesalers i talk to in Japan often accuse etch other for selling Fake or bad stones and it is very common problem in Japan.
Many craftsmen carpenters etc only buy stones from they very close friends Retailers simply because there are so many that try to get rid of they crappy stones :(
First of all please look a the price. I know many of us try to make a big deal and try to buy good cheap stone, heck i tried to do it my self so many times.
Look at Size of the stones and how much they cost compered to other retailers out there not only 1 or 2 others !! As many as possible.
Ussualy Size- Color- Name- Kanjis- Fines- Hardness- Speed all that playing a big role how stones is priced. And also of coarse if source is trustworthy, look at reviews, what other costumer say about that stone seller !
Maruka= ㋕ Syouhonnzann= 正本山
Real maruka stones is expensive as they are VERY sought after in Japan. Stamp is usually Blue or brownish and arranged vertically in a rectangular frame on the small end of the hone ! So dont expect to Get Real Nakayama Maruka for pennies !
Specially for us outside Japan price on Marukas in many cases will be bit more as Japanese really dont want to sell they good stuff for nothing to Overseas costumers !!
Also very impotent to note, that for beginner it can be very confusing and difficult to see what is good or not, they can get a stone that is fake or bad, but they will not have anything real or good to compere it to !!
There can be problems over time when you get some stones that have been outside of the mine for some time in rainy weather that is unstable, they will release bigger flakes (particles) and overtime become more fragile. Also many of them is cut and flattened in wrong directions of the stone layers make them also unusable. Super cheap stones you see on Ebay is likely been gathered from closing mines in Kyoto they stones that miners have trashed as unusable
You can see how many there is in this picture:
this is just from one of the many many Mines in Kyoto. Stones that been trashed because they are simply unstable and not useable
Instead of go on adventure and trying your luck with questionable stones or sellers, try to buy some smaller stones from reliable sources, you can get smaller stones much cheaper and you have something that you are sure real.
At JNS i really try to avoid Fake or bad stones. Not only that I buy Them from VERY relabeled sources and trying to support Real Sources of these pressures stones , also after that they get all tested by stone expert in Japan and then finally by me :)