The word Turquoise comes from the French word Turquois, meaning Turkish. The stone is much older than that. Pure blue turquoise has been prized as a precious gemstone in central Asia for over a thousand years.
While turquoise value lost some of its luster in the mid 20th century, a decline in mine production combined with an increase in global demand has caused gemstone grade turquoise to climb up to new heights.
Turquoise can be tricky for the amateur to identify. There are lots of fake epoxy powder turquoise and imitation colored howlite substitutes on the market. Real, natural turquoise is hard. Dense. The inclusions on the stone catch the fingernail. Sometimes it's more green because of copper content. Sometimes blue because of iron content. Beads should show consistent color through the drill hole (white interiors are a sign of dyed material). In each stone there is often variation in color. When a natural stone has pure clarity or a symmetrical webbing of inclusions, it is said to be of the highest gemstone grade. Webbing is more prized in North America, while pure color is more prized in East Asia. Sadly, this means both are the most frequently counterfeited varieties.
Destructive tests like acetone (nail polish remover) can positively identify dyed turquoise. Likewise, one can chip off a chunk of a stone from a bead strand to determine the consistency of the stone.
Experience is one of the best ways to positively identify real turquoise. Handling it in consignment shops, seeing real samples at the museum, owning natural turquoise, or being a geologist/rock hound are all great ways to be more certain.
Everybody makes mistakes. Even experienced magpies like us. We've seen thousands of pieces of real turquoise and owned hundreds, but we've been fooled before. An experienced collector once told us that mistakes are the cost of our education. Well, we want to educate you without the same risk we had. We guarantee our turquoise and will give you a full refund if a certified appraisal demonstrates you got something other than real turquoise.
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