With the amount of turquoise jewelry being sold today, you might reasonably expect that turquoise is a common, affordable stone. In fact, gemstone-quality turquoise is as rare as diamonds, according to a 2014 article in Smithsonian Magazine. Most of the turquoise on the market today is reconstituted and dyed, created from lesser-quality material that is a byproduct of copper mining.
Genuine turquoise may be stabilized – treated with wax or epoxy to make the stones more suitable for polishing. It may also be dyed to enhance its color. Be wary of “block” or reconstituted turquoise, which is made from small pieces of turquoise that have been ground up and combined with other minerals or resin. You may even find “turquoise” made from plastic, epoxy or resin.
Two gemstones are frequently used as substitutes for turquoise. Howlite and magnesite are naturally white in color, with a rich matrix of veins. Both readily accept dyes and polish beautifully, making them excellent choices for affordable jewelry with the appearance of turquoise.
Tiny Oak Jewelry offers jewelry featuring howlite and magnesite, naturally-colored as well as dyed to act as turquoise substitutes. Dyed stones should be protected from direct sunlight and harsh chemicals that may cause the color to fade. Learn more about avoiding summer jewelry damage.
Image: Turquoise beads at the Tucson Rock and Gem Show
Identifying and testing fake Turquoise
The Difference Between Natural Turquoise And Stabilized Turquoise
Why is Turquoise Becoming Rarer and More Valuable Than Diamonds?