Saturday, July 20, 2024

Which Type of Turquoise is the Hardest?

Turquoise is a captivating gemstone that has been cherished for thousands of years for its stunning blue-green hues and unique veining patterns. It has been used in jewelry, ornaments, and even as a symbol of status and power. Among the various types of turquoise available, there are significant differences in hardness, which can impact its durability and suitability for different uses. In this article, we will explore the different types of turquoise, focusing on their hardness and what makes certain types stand out as the hardest.

Understanding Turquoise Hardness

Turquoise, like other minerals, is measured for hardness using the Mohs scale of mineral hardness. This scale ranges from 1 to 10, with talc being the softest mineral at 1 and diamond being the hardest at 10. Turquoise generally falls between 5 and 6 on the Mohs scale, but there can be variations depending on its composition and formation process.

Factors Influencing Turquoise Hardness

Several factors influence the hardness of turquoise. These include its chemical composition, the presence of impurities, and the conditions under which it formed. Turquoise is a hydrated phosphate of copper and aluminum, and its hardness can be affected by the amount of water and other minerals within its structure. The presence of silica, for instance, can enhance the hardness of turquoise.

Types of Turquoise

There are many different types of turquoise, each originating from different regions and mines around the world. Some of the most well-known types include Persian turquoise, Sleeping Beauty turquoise, and Chinese turquoise. Each type has unique characteristics, including color, matrix patterns, and hardness.

Persian Turquoise

Persian turquoise is renowned for its vibrant blue color and minimal veining. It has been highly prized for centuries, particularly in the Middle East. Persian turquoise typically has a hardness ranging from 5.5 to 6 on the Mohs scale. This makes it a relatively hard type of turquoise, suitable for high-quality jewelry that can withstand daily wear.

Sleeping Beauty Turquoise

Sleeping Beauty turquoise is another highly sought-after variety, known for its solid, robin’s egg blue color and lack of matrix. It comes from the Sleeping Beauty Mine in Arizona. The hardness of Sleeping Beauty turquoise can vary, but it generally falls between 5 and 6 on the Mohs scale. This type of turquoise is often used in fine jewelry due to its striking appearance and good durability.

Chinese Turquoise

Chinese turquoise is abundant and comes in a wide range of colors, from pale blue to greenish-blue. It often contains a significant amount of matrix, which can influence its hardness. The hardness of Chinese turquoise can range from 4 to 6 on the Mohs scale, with some specimens being softer and more prone to damage. Despite this, it remains popular for its diverse colors and affordability.

Kingman Turquoise

Kingman turquoise, sourced from the Kingman Mine in Arizona, is known for its beautiful sky-blue color and intricate veining patterns. It is one of the oldest and most famous turquoise mines in the United States. The hardness of Kingman turquoise typically ranges from 5.5 to 6 on the Mohs scale, making it a durable choice for various types of jewelry.

Bisbee Turquoise

Bisbee turquoise comes from the Bisbee Mine in Arizona and is highly prized for its deep blue color and unique chocolate brown matrix. This type of turquoise has a hardness of around 5.5 to 6 on the Mohs scale, making it relatively hard and durable. Bisbee turquoise is often used in high-end jewelry pieces due to its striking appearance and rarity.

The Hardest Type of Turquoise

Among the various types of turquoise, Lander Blue turquoise is considered one of the hardest. This rare type of turquoise comes from the Lander Blue Mine in Nevada. It is known for its deep blue color and spiderweb matrix. Lander Blue turquoise can have a hardness of up to 6.5 on the Mohs scale, making it harder than most other types of turquoise. This exceptional hardness, combined with its stunning appearance, makes Lander Blue turquoise highly sought after by collectors and jewelry makers.

Lander Blue Turquoise

Lander Blue turquoise is renowned not only for its hardness but also for its rarity and beauty. The mine produced a limited amount of turquoise, making it one of the most expensive and collectible types available. Its high hardness ensures that it can withstand daily wear without scratching or chipping easily, which is a significant advantage for those looking to invest in durable turquoise jewelry.

Why Hardness Matters in Turquoise

The hardness of turquoise is a critical factor to consider, especially for those who plan to use it in jewelry. Harder turquoise is less likely to scratch or break, making it more suitable for rings, bracelets, and other pieces that are subject to frequent wear. Additionally, harder turquoise tends to retain its polish and luster for longer periods, ensuring that the jewelry maintains its beauty over time.

How to Care for Hard Turquoise

Even the hardest turquoise requires proper care to maintain its appearance and longevity. Here are some tips for caring for turquoise jewelry:

Avoid Exposure to Chemicals: Turquoise can be sensitive to chemicals found in household cleaners, cosmetics, and even some types of water. Always remove turquoise jewelry before swimming or using cleaning products.

Store Properly: Store turquoise jewelry in a soft pouch or a lined jewelry box to prevent scratches and other damage.

Clean Gently: Clean turquoise jewelry with a soft, damp cloth. Avoid using ultrasonic cleaners or harsh chemicals that could damage the stone.

Avoid Heat: Prolonged exposure to heat can cause turquoise to become discolored or even crack. Keep turquoise jewelry away from direct sunlight and heat sources.


In conclusion, turquoise is a beautiful and versatile gemstone with varying degrees of hardness. Among the different types, Lander Blue turquoise stands out as the hardest, with a Mohs hardness of up to 6.5. This exceptional hardness, along with its stunning appearance and rarity, makes Lander Blue turquoise highly prized by collectors and jewelry makers. Understanding the hardness of different types of turquoise is essential for choosing the right stone for your needs, ensuring that your turquoise jewelry remains beautiful and durable for years to come. Whether you prefer the vibrant blue of Persian turquoise, the solid color of Sleeping Beauty turquoise, or the rare and hard Lander Blue turquoise, there is a type of turquoise to suit every taste and preference.

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