About Turquoise

natural turquoise

Turquoise is an opaque, blue-to-green mineral that is also known as hydrous aluminum phosphate. Colored by copper salts, turquoise is found in a variety of rock formations. The particular rock in which turquoise occurs is responsible for the matrix in a piece. The matrix may show up as black lines, brown patches, quartz crystals or even iron pyrite.

Turquoise has been used as an ornimental stone in jewelry for thousands of years. It is commonly found in the distinctive silver jewelry produced by the Navajo and other Southwestern Native American indian tribes.

The color of turquoise stones varies from pale green to intense blue, and many shades in between. Variations in color as well as the matrix can occur within a single vein of turquoise thatís being mined. This makes it almost impossible to identify the exact source of every piece of turquoise.

It is rare and quite valuable in finer grades. In recent times, turquoise, like most other opaque gems, has been devalued by the introduction of treatments, imitations, and synthetics onto the market. As with most precious stones, the price of turquoise depends upon the quality of the piece as well as current demand. For example, some of the turquoise taken from a mine in New Mexico in 1893 averaged $5.00 per carat. By 1907 it had reached $25.00 a carat; over one hundred times more expensive per ounce than gold was at that time!

Green turquoise is not necessarily softer than blue turquoise. Pale blue, soft turquoise will turn a dark green over time, but turquoise that starts out green is that way naturally. Body oils, detergents and lotions will cause soft turquoise or some spots in harder turquoise to turn green.

Untreated turquoise should never be allowed to come in frequent contact with soaps and oils.


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