Saturday, March 17, 2012

More Truth About Turquoise

There are so many misconceptions about Turquoise, I felt it was necessary to recap some of my previous posts.

In review, let's take a look.................

This is a sample of genuine Turquoise, mined in the United States. Turquoise can come in many colors, depending on the mine. I have provided images of Turquoise from mines in Nevada here:
A-CD-N, and O-Z.
There are also images of Turquoise from Arizona and Colorado.


White Turquoise

I have offered as much information as possible regarding White Turquoise, which remains controversial....I'll let you decide what to believe about this stone. All I know for sure; it's a gorgeous stone!!


Chinese turquoise is a mined stone, however, this form of Turquoise has usually been stabilized, meaning a clear epoxy has been applied to the surface to harden the stone. A side effect of the process is that stabilized stone is less likely to absorb lotions and body oils, which may change the color of the stone over time. 

Now we get to a stone that may be more difficult to identify:

Iranian, or Persian Turquoise comes from a number of mines in modern day Iran. Throughout the centuries, the intense sky-blue Iranian turquoise, known as “Persian turquoise,” has been the most sought after. This is a clear, even blue color with no evidence of green, nor any signs of black veins.    

Because of its exotic blend of base color and dark matrix, this material is sold as African "turquoise," although it's really a jasper. This is NOT turquoise! 

Nacozari Turquoise mined in Mexico may also be difficult to identify, as it resembles Chinese Turquoise to an untrained eye. Mexican Turquoise is a high quality, higher priced stone.
Nacozari Turquoise   

Chalk Turquoise is lower grade Turquoise ground up, mixed with epoxy and dye. Chalk Turquoise, in my opinion, is FAKE turquoise.

Finally, we come to another stone that is NOT Turquoise. Many suppliers and vendors will label Mosaic Magnesite as Turquoise. I guess the fact that this variety of Magnesite may contain tiny scraps of Turquoise, they feel the name is justified. I don't agree.

Mosaic Magnesite Skull Necklace by epicetera

I hope you find these articles helpful. Generally, genuine Turquoise is becoming increasingly rare. Only 25% of the mines located in the United States are producing Turquoise. Currently, I have a source for genuine Turquoise that I use in my jewelry designs. These stones are from a supply that, once exhausted, will no longer be available. Visit my shop for more information.

Although both are gemstones, Howlite (right) and Magnesite (below) are not Turquoise. Very high quality Magnesite is available, and is often much more expensive than chalk turquoise.


  1. Oh dear, I bought some "African Turquoise" a couple of weeks ago in a bead shop in London. I haven't made anything with it yet. What should I call it in my listings, do you think?

    I must say Pam - you are very knowledgeable about this subject!

    1. Thank you, Tina, one of my "pet peeves" is that many suppliers (even the large, well known suppliers) misrepresent "turquoise," mostly by calling Magnesite "turquoise."

      In your case "African Turquoise" is known by that name, so you're safe in calling it by name.

  2. Thank you, Pam. I have some of the Magnesite crosses that were sold to me as Turquoise and I have made them into necklaces. Now I'm going to have to change the listings and lower the prices. Bummer. Thanks for this post. It's very good info.