How to Tell If What Your Purchasing, Is Actually What You Want
All too well-known are the people out there that are misleading with their representation of what it is they are selling. Turquoise stones are no different. Although, much more difficult (and less black and white), Turquoise stones have their own secret ways of whispering the true nature of their manufacture process and here is how.
The most important factor when shopping for turquoise jewelry, is that the stone speaks to you in one way or another. Hopefully, that means that it catches your eye and refuses to let your gaze wonder away from it. Make sure, regardless of the representation or manufacturer, that you chose what you love. The rest holds second place in importance.
Ideally, when looking to purchase turquoise jewelry, you want to look for the word GENUINE in the title or description provided by the vendor. This means that the stone is the same materials it was when it was originally mined. Most times you’ll find turquoise described as STABILIZED, which is to say it has been chemically treated or died to create a more stable structure or more vibrate color. GENUINE STABILIZED turquoise is not fake, or man created, and is the same material that was naturally created by, and later mined from, the earth. This makes it genuine and is the preferred stone you are searching for when looking to purchase turquoise jewelry. Less than 1% of the market place’s turquoise is completely untreated and is referred to as GENUINELY NATURAL.
Absolutely stay away from turquoise jewelry that it titled as, or described using the word RECONSTITUTED. These “stones” are unequivocally NOT “genuine” turquoise! They contain a very small quantity of turquoise that has been ground. They then take this and crush it into a fine powder that is later mixed with other materials and chemicals. It is illegal to refer to this type of material as genuine turquoise.
But what about those dealers that don’t always follow the law? Or say you are buying from over seas where the same laws may not apply, how can the naked eye tell whether the jewelry you are interested in is GENUINE or RECONSTITUTED? Although not quite as black and white as we all wish it were, there are some slight “give-aways” that the turquoise you are looking at has been manufactured in a lab.
APPEARANCE– True turquoise will look opaque with a waxy luster that may or may not include matrix, created by the process in which the earth forms these beautiful stones. Many replicated turquoise maybe dull or lack the multi-toned look that real turquoise process due to the earth and earths chemicals effect on the stone. A quick trick, if in person with a potential piece you are thinking of purchasing, is to hold it in your hands. If it feels room temp, (or god forbid warmer than that,) it is not real turquoise!! Real stones/gems will always be COLDER!
UNIQUENESS– It is very rare that a quantity of turquoise, even if mined from the same mine, will be identical in color and/or matrix (the marble crack like designs found on turquoise that can range from shades of yellows, brown and black.) So if you see dozens of other jewelry at the same stand, market, store, etc. where it is hard to tell one jewelry turquoise from another, chance are they were man made!
PRICE– Turquoise has a wide range of values, depending on which mine it came from. Because of the rarity and uniqueness of real turquoise, the market place has a high demand for genuine turquoise, thus bringing the price of that stone up as well. Got to love that supply and demand trade! Creating a look-a-like stone in a lab cost far less for the creator and the marketer, which in turns means the asking price from you will be much less than if it were genuine. Just keep in mind that if you find a deal that seams “to good to be true”, it probably is!
Even if you have done your research and believe you could spot even the best fake, it is still always recommended to buy your turquoise from a jeweler that is a member of AGTA. If you want to be sure you are buying authentic Native American turquoise, make sure the dealer is a member of the Indian Arts and Crafts Association (IACA).