Friday, November 5, 2010


Historically, the finest turquoise came from Persia, Even though the mines are largely depleted, the very best still comes from north-eastern Iran. Occasionally, material equalling the finest Persian turquoise turns up in the American southwest.

Turquoise was prized by the ancient Persians and Egyptians for its color and beauty. The favored a bright blue with no markings. They even went to great lengths to imitate it with faience glazing.

The major portion of Turquoise on the market is stabilized, as well. In many cases this makes the stone much more wearable and improves the color. Fine color natural turquoise is very rare and expensive.

More often than not, turquoise will have matrix and this is one way to separate it from imitations and synthetics. Drag your thumbnail across the matrix. Did you feel something? Chances are you have turquoise. This is not proof, just a good indication. Matrix is softer than the turquoise and will usually undercut when it is fashioned.

Turquoise, which is colored by copper, occurs in blue to blue-green in color. Excess iron may push the coloring to a desaturated green. Turquoise is not bright green, or any other color aside from the blue you would ordinarily expect ranging to a muddy green.

Turquoise is often imitated by dyed howlite or magnesite. They usually display grey and brown veining, respectively.

Synthetic turquoise also exists. Matrix, when present, will not undercut like natural and you will not feel it with the thumbnail test. The matrix often looks like it's "bleeding" into the surrounding blue material. In my personal experience, the matrix often looks slightly purplish.

Misleading names involving turquoise run rampant in the market. For instance, one of my personal pet peeves: white turquoise. No blue means no copper. No copper means it isn't turquoise. This is a fancy way of tricking people into paying more for howlite.

Don't forget - it's the SATeam Wrist Candy Holiday Giveaway and you can win a fabulous charm bracelet if you enter until November 28th! Click here for more info!

Also, for your drooling pleasure, some turquoise jewelry from our talented team of Starving Artists:




The SATeam blog features artisan handmade creations by the Etsy Starving Jewelry Artists team. SATeam members create handcrafted jewelry and beads. More information about our team and its current Etsy shop members can be found at


Kady said...

Oooo, turquoise, one of my favorites! Thanks for showing my bracelet!

Ramona said...

I really appreciate this post on Turquoise. Now I'm more learned on this stone, at least the tell-tale signs. So great mini-class! I'll need to mark this to read again, then I can absorb it more. That's how I learn. Now the next time I buy Turquoise, I'll be more knowledgeable for sure. Thanks so much for the mini lesson! Oh, and btw, I love Crystals Turquoise Flower ring, it's gorgeous...well, all the pieces here are gorgeous!

Cat said...

I'm always looking forward to your "lessons". Thanks!

Stacie @ said...

Nice read! And I'm seriously lusting after that tiara! ;-)

BeadSire said...

I learn so much from here - interesting facts, awesome pictures (love that crown) and wonderful jewellery selections

mcstoneworks said...

Another great informational post, Andrea.

Love Crystal's pendant.

Carole said...

Okay, I want the tiara. Please send it to me. As my kids say, k, thanks.

Erika said...

Great informative post, I don't use turquoise very often so didn't know much about it - thank you so much for enlightening me!

faeriiidust said...

I share your frustration on the naming of stones strictly for marketing purposes. It's really deceitful! Great post!

Bonnie said...

Thanks for sharing that information about turquoise. it is a beautiful stone.