It is indeed a well known fact that Turquoise has been accepted as a sacred gemstone for thousands of years. The ancient Egyptians, Chinese and Native Americans believed that the beautiful turquoise gem protected the wearer from unnatural disaster and death. It is also said that wearing turquoise jewelry enhances the trust, wisdom, kindness and understanding. Here are 5 steps on how to buy authentic turquoise material.
è Know the difference between imitation and real turquoise
Natural turquoise which is an aggregate of copper aluminium phosphate hydrate is formed under heat and pressure and is often porous and soft when mined. The various colours found in the turquoise are attributed from the presence of either iron or copper – softer green tones is from iron and vivid blue is from copper. Turquoise stones can also have patterns of yellow ochre, brown and black matrix which are again produced from copper compounds. True turquoise also has a waxy luster and is opaque.
è Know that gemstones used in turquoise jewellery must be stabilized as natural turquoise is too soft to be worn as jewelry
The process basically involves submerging the stone into a stabilizing compound which results in the natural action of the stones capillaries drawing the stabilizing compound into the gemstone.
è Get used to with the enhancements which are applied to turquoise stones
The ATGA (American Gem Trade Association) has outlined the different enhancements which are applied to the turquoise gem stones. These varied treatments should be clearly identified by the trade person.
è Learn to identify turquoise
It is worth being a fact that Turquoise mines are located all over the world and each mine produces stones with distinct markings and colours
- Chalk Turquoise is found in China and is white and porous which makes it compulsory to be stabilized and dried. They are also dyed in various colours such as green and blue because the mines do not contain copper. Chalk turquoise always has a matrix pattern which looks like faint cracks.
- Bisbee turquoise which is mined in Bisbee, Arizona is another breed of the same. The mine produces turquoise stones in many varied shades of blue and usually have a reddish-brown matrix. This pattern is specifically found in stones taken from Bisbee.
- Sleeping beauty turquoise is mined in Arizona and it is a solid stone without any matrix. Its colour ranges from royal blue to light sky blue.
- Turquoise is also found in Iran and it is known as Persian Turquoise. The stone found is isolated for its unique robin’s egg blue colour. Even this is matrix-free. The bright blue colour that is has is the main thing to watch out for.
è Always buy from a reputed Jeweler
Since it is a worthy stone and costs on the higher side, it should always be brought from trusted dealers. As mentioned above, it has a wide variety of colours depending on which mine in the world it came from. The price can also vary according to the demand and scarcity of that particular mine (Some mines are already depleted). So always be sure to buy it from a jeweler that is a member of AGTA. Also if one wants to make sure if he/she is buying authentic Native American Turquoise, membership of that dealer with Indian Arts and Crafts Association (IACA) should be confirmed.