Tuesday, June 25, 2024

What is the best turquoise for jewelry?

Turquoise, with its captivating blue-green hue, has been treasured as a gemstone for millennia. This guide delves into what makes the best turquoise for jewelry, covering various aspects from types and quality indicators to care and maintenance.

Types of Turquoise

Turquoise comes in various types, each with unique characteristics. Understanding these types helps in selecting the best turquoise for jewelry.

Natural Turquoise: This type is mined and cut without any enhancements or treatments. It retains its natural beauty and value, making it highly sought after by collectors and jewelers alike.

Stabilized Turquoise: To enhance durability, this turquoise is treated with a resin. While it loses some value compared to natural turquoise, it is still widely used in jewelry due to its improved resistance to damage and color fading.

Treated Turquoise: This includes various treatments like dyeing or impregnating the stone with wax or plastic to enhance its color and durability. Treated turquoise is often less valuable than natural or stabilized varieties but offers vibrant color options.

Composite Turquoise: Made from smaller pieces of turquoise bound together with resin or another binder, composite turquoise is more affordable but generally less desirable than solid stones.

Reconstituted Turquoise: This type is created by grinding turquoise into a powder, mixing it with resin, and forming it into new shapes. While affordable, it lacks the authenticity of natural or stabilized turquoise.

Quality Indicators

When selecting turquoise for jewelry, several quality indicators should be considered:

Color: The most prized turquoise is a vibrant, even sky blue. However, shades range from pale blue to greenish hues, with intense colors generally being more valuable.

Matrix: The presence of the host rock within the turquoise, known as the matrix, can add unique patterns. Spiderweb matrix (thin, web-like lines) is particularly prized, though preference for matrix varies by individual taste.

Clarity: Turquoise should be free from cracks and inclusions. Smooth, unblemished stones are preferred, though some matrix presence can add character without significantly affecting value.

Cut: The cut of the stone affects its overall appearance in jewelry. High-quality turquoise is often cut into cabochons (smooth, domed shapes) to showcase its color and matrix.

Treatment and Enhancement

Turquoise is often treated to enhance its appearance and durability. Common treatments include:

Stabilization: A process where resin is infused into the turquoise to increase its hardness and resistance to damage. This is the most common and accepted treatment, making the stone more durable for everyday wear.

Dyeing: Enhances or changes the color of the stone. Dyed turquoise is less valuable and should be disclosed by sellers.

Impregnation: Involves filling the stone with wax or plastic to improve luster and stability. This treatment can make the stone look more appealing but reduces its value.

Reconstitution: Turquoise dust and chips are mixed with resin to create a new material. This is often less valuable and should be clearly labeled as such.

Origin and Authenticity

The origin of turquoise can significantly impact its value. Some of the most renowned sources include:

Persian (Iranian) Turquoise: Known for its intense sky-blue color and lack of matrix, Persian turquoise is highly prized and historically significant.

Sleeping Beauty Turquoise (USA): Famous for its bright, even blue color and minimal matrix, this Arizona turquoise is considered among the finest.

Kingman Turquoise (USA): This Arizona turquoise is known for its diverse color range and distinctive spiderweb matrix.

Chinese Turquoise: Varies widely in quality, with some high-grade stones rivaling those from other renowned sources. However, Chinese turquoise often requires more enhancement.

Egyptian Turquoise: One of the oldest sources, known for its greenish-blue hues and historical significance. Modern Egyptian turquoise can vary in quality.

Authenticity is crucial in the turquoise market. Buyers should seek reputable sellers who provide certificates of authenticity and disclose any treatments.

See Also: 6 Things to Consider When Buying Turquoise

Jewelry Design Considerations

When incorporating turquoise into jewelry, several design elements should be considered:

Setting: Turquoise is relatively soft, so protective settings like bezels are recommended. These settings encase the stone in metal, protecting it from damage.

Metal Choice: Turquoise pairs well with both silver and gold. Silver tends to enhance the blue hues, while gold provides a luxurious contrast.

Complementary Stones: Turquoise can be paired with other gemstones like coral, lapis lazuli, or pearls to create striking designs. The choice of complementary stones should enhance, not overshadow, the turquoise.

Design Style: Turquoise is versatile, suiting both modern and traditional designs. Southwestern and Native American jewelry often feature turquoise prominently, reflecting its cultural significance.

Care and Maintenance

Proper care ensures turquoise jewelry remains beautiful for years:

Avoid Chemicals: Turquoise is sensitive to chemicals found in household cleaners, perfumes, and cosmetics. Always remove turquoise jewelry before using these products.

Storage: Store turquoise in a soft cloth or padded jewelry box to prevent scratches and damage from harder gemstones.

Cleaning: Clean turquoise gently with a soft cloth and mild soap if necessary. Avoid using ultrasonic cleaners or harsh chemicals.

Avoid Prolonged Sun Exposure: Prolonged exposure to sunlight can cause turquoise to fade. Store jewelry in a cool, dark place when not in use.

Price Range

The price of turquoise varies widely based on several factors:

Type: Natural and high-quality stabilized turquoise command higher prices. Treated and composite turquoise are more affordable but less valuable.

Origin: Turquoise from renowned sources like Persia, Sleeping Beauty, and Kingman mines is often more expensive due to its quality and historical significance.

Color and Clarity: Intense, even-colored turquoise without blemishes or matrix fetches higher prices. Stones with unique matrix patterns can also be valuable.

Size: Larger stones are rarer and more valuable. The price per carat increases with the size of the stone.


The market is flooded with imitations, so it is essential to distinguish genuine turquoise from look-alikes:

Howlite: A white stone often dyed blue to imitate turquoise. Howlite can be identified by its veining patterns and lower hardness.

Magnesite: Another white stone dyed to resemble turquoise. Like howlite, it is softer and has different veining.

Plastic and Glass: These materials can be dyed or colored to mimic turquoise. They are lighter and often lack the natural texture of genuine turquoise.

Reconstituted Turquoise: Made from turquoise dust and resin, it is less valuable and can be identified by its uniform texture and color.

Symbolism and Cultural Significance

Turquoise holds deep cultural and symbolic significance across various cultures:

Native American: Turquoise is considered a sacred stone, believed to bring protection, health, and good fortune. It is prominently featured in Native American jewelry and artifacts.

Persian Culture: Turquoise has been prized in Persian culture for thousands of years. It is associated with protection and is often set in gold jewelry.

Ancient Egypt: Turquoise was used in ancient Egyptian jewelry and artifacts, symbolizing protection and fertility.

Spiritual and Healing Properties: Turquoise is believed to have healing properties, promoting mental clarity, emotional balance, and spiritual growth. It is also thought to protect against negative energies.

In Conclusion

The best turquoise for jewelry combines a rich history, stunning beauty, and cultural significance. By understanding the types, quality indicators, treatments, and care required, one can appreciate and select turquoise that not only enhances jewelry design but also resonates with personal and cultural meanings. Whether for its aesthetic appeal or symbolic value, turquoise remains a timeless and cherished gemstone.

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Alice is a seasoned jewelry designer renowned for her exquisite creations that seamlessly blend artistry with elegance. With a passion for craftsmanship and an unwavering commitment to quality, Alice has established herself as a distinguished figure in the world of fine jewelry. Drawing inspiration from diverse cultures and artistic movements, Alice brings a unique perspective to her designs, creating pieces that transcend mere accessories to become timeless works of art. Her meticulous attention to detail and insistence on using only the finest materials ensure that each creation reflects not only her artistic vision but also a commitment to unparalleled craftsmanship. Having honed her skills through years of dedicated practice and a keen understanding of evolving trends, Alice is adept at translating her clients' desires into bespoke, one-of-a-kind pieces. Her portfolio encompasses a range of styles, from classic and timeless to avant-garde and contemporary, showcasing her versatility and ability to cater to a diverse clientele.

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