subscribe: Posts | Comments

Turquoise Revealed!


This is one of Doug’s most famous talks about turquoise…real or plastic….

Castillian Pendants

Castillian Pendants

Welcome to “Turquoise Revealed “

About Turquoise, I am frequently asked by those unfamiliar with the semi-precious gem, “How can I tell it’s real?” To this I have a standard reply, “How can you tell your diamonds are real?”

In gemstones today, every category from diamonds to colored gemstones to semi-precious gemstones, consists of natural, treated and artificial types. Because of increased technology in this area, together with public unawareness, this situation presents challenges to the gemstone buyer. It may be that more people have heard of altered turquoise, but the practice of changing inferior gemstones to beautiful ones is common in up to 95% of all gems, and therefore the buyer must decide what it is that is important to him/her.

Compounding the problem is the fact that few jewelry professionals can tell for sure whether a stone is natural or treated without laboratory analysis.

But rest assured, that if a piece of jewelry is available at a low price, the stones are of a low quality, with an almost 100% assurance that stones are not natural.

I cannot speak with authority about most gem materials, but my specialty for over 30 years has been turquoise, and since I have handled and cut virtually every variety, and since I own turquoise mines and am familiar with the materials at the source, I do know something about it. Even so, I will admit that I don’t know everything, and I take comfort in the knowledge that no one else does either. What I do know I will share with you briefly:

Nugget Necklace

Nugget Necklace

Of all the so called “gemstones” available to the jewelry buyer, turquoise must surely rank in the top ten. It is one of the most ancient of all stones for use in personal and artifact adornment. It is a true mineral with no peers in color and characteristics.

Its color range is broad, from blues and greens to yellows and khaki. It may be clear and smooth in color, or variegated multi-hued containing impurities and host rock called matrix. It ranges in hardness from chalky MOHS 4, to superior translucent 7, with most about 5 (diamond is 10). There is a tremendous variety in the characteristics of turquoise from different sources around the world. Though it is a rare gemstone, it is mined in USA, Chile, China, Mexico, and Iran. The popular standard for clear blue turquoise was established with Persian (Iran). In the USA, China and Tibet, “spiderweb” and matrix-type turquoise tends to be more popular, in both greens and blues.

About the types; natural, treated, stabilized, enhanced and artificial or simulated, these are terms which commonly describe gemstones, including turquoise.

…click here for part two, the continuation of “Turquoise Revealed.