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 SATEAM.etsy.com