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Types of Turquoise

Less than 25% of turquoise is usable or desirable in its natural, untreated form. Most untreated turquoise is a fragile, porous stone with a tendency to undergo changes in color when exposed to light, perspiration, oils, and detergents. While turquoise is hard enough to be considered a gemstone, it is comparatively soft. The following are various treatments done to turquoise to keep it from fading or crumbling

Keep in mind, natural turquoise is usually the most valuable but is a very small percentage of the turquoise jewelry market. Each mines production of natural top quality turquoise is around 10% of the mines production…and that in the early stages of mining.

If top quality turquoise goes for $200 a pound, lesser quality might sell at $10 a pound. Quite a difference! Some estimate that some type of treatment is used on 90% of turquoise in jewelry today.

Not all treatment are bad…nor are they equal. In most cases it improves the quality and color and protects the stone. . It all depends on the treatment. Practically all turquoise stones, natural and treated, are waxed to protect the stone.

Natural
Material which has not been altered in any way from how it is found in nature.

Enhanced
A hard turquoise which is treated with varying electrical currents that harden the stone, and enhance the color of the turquoise. No dyes, resins, waxes, or oils are used. Enhanced turquoise will not change color over time.

Stabilized
Impregnated with acrylic or epoxy to harden the stone and enhance the color. Stabilized turquoise will not change color over time.

Compressed
A treatment that uses pressure to harden the stone.

Fracture-Sealed
The stone is treated with a fracture sealer which hardens the stones matrix.

Synthetic
Stones produced in the laboratory, which exactly reproduces the chemical composition and physical characteristics of the natural stone.

Plastic
Sad but true.

At Sacred Bear we are committed to bringing you Authentic Native American Indian art…that’s why we support the IACA. Established in 1974, IACA's mission is to support, preserve and protect authentic American Indian arts and crafts.

Indian Arts & Crafts Association
Indian Arts & Crafts Association

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