Tips For Turquoise Lovers - How To Choose Quality
Are you on Instagram? Have you noticed the hashtag #turquoiseoverdiamonds? Yes, I know. Most self-respecting cowgirls would always put turquoise above diamonds. Turquoise is a cowgirl's best friend, the buckaroo bling. That's why I named my business Buckaroo Bling: because I work with quality, American mined turquoise.
So what about all the inexpensive jewelry out there on the market that claims it is made with turquoise? Sorry to burst your bubble, but most of those stones are not turquoise at all. They are usually magnesite and howlite dyed in turquoise color. The rest of the cheap stones are imported, inferior quality turquoise. So, how do you know what to choose? Glad you asked, because I'm about to give you a little lesson here.
Today, turquoise is still mined in Iran, Afghanistan, China, Australia, Chile, Mexico, and the United States (Arizona and Nevada). While each of these regions would have some deposits of high quality turquoise, your best bet is to go with U.S. and Mexican mined stones. In addition, good quality turquoise is supposed to have little matrix (dark 'veins' inside the stone), and an even blue to blue-green color, with ability to take a good polish.
There are several mines in Nevada and Arizona that are still operational, among them Sleeping Beauty mine near Globe, Arizona, Blue Ridge mine in Nevada (still excavated from time to time), Kingman mine in Northwestern Arizona, Lone Mountain mine in Nevada, and mines of the Royston district in Nevada. You might also come across an unusual, creamy stone with dark matrix called White Buffalo Turquoise from the Shoshone Reservation. Although extremely rare and highly valued, this stone is technically not turquoise. It is composed of calcite and iron, and is found alongside turquoise deposits in the Dry Creek mine. This stone is highly valued in Native American jewelry, and because of its extreme rarity, it can be quite pricey.
Another thing bears mentioning here. You will never find genuine turquoise in jewelry that is not described as "stabilized." This is a process that it must go through to become fit for jewelry making. However, this is the ONLY process good quality turquoise should go through. Stay away from anything that is described as, "dyed, reconstructed, or enhanced," and always do your research.
Now that you know where to find and how to recognize quality turquoise, don't make the mistake of treating it like you would its poorer cousins. Turquoise is a very soft and porous stone. That means, not only can it chip easily, but it can also easily absorb fluids and oils such as cosmetics, perfumes, and sunscreen. To protect jewelry containing turquoise from damage, the best thing is to put it on after you have applied your makeup, sunscreen, and/or perfume. It goes without saying that you should NEVER wear your turquoise jewelry into the shower, swimming pool, or bath. When not in use, keep your turquoise jewelry in separate pouches or wrapped in soft, non-shedding white cloth, away from sunlight and any harsh chemicals. This will ensure your turquoise looks great even after many years in your possession.
Now that you are armed with all this turquoise knowledge, go get some fun jewelry with Kingman turquoise in Buckaroo Bling shop!
P.S. With St. Patrick's Day right behind us and the whole thing about wearing o' the green, you might be asking if there is such a thing as green turquoise. I don't mean blue-green, green-blue, or greenish here, but honest to goodness lime green. Guess what? There is a very rare and prized type of turquoise from Tonopah Blue Gem mine in Nevada that is actually lime green with golden colored rhyolite matrix. Be prepared to shell out a lot of green for this green gem though. Now you know!