Turquoise has been very popular in several aspects of the fashion and jewelry industry and there is a revival in current trends but what you are buying may not be the real gems that you desire. Approximately 75% of turquoise on the market comes from China but due to improper mining methods having a negative environmental impact several mines have been closed or are on much more strict regulations. There have been fluctuations in the market before based on supply and demand but with advancements in technology you will come across things like reconstituted, plastic, and dyed imitation turquoise. I will address these differences in this article so you can buy turquoise jewelry with confidence.
Turquoise is a very soft gemstone by nature and measures a 5-6 out of 10 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness. In the reconstitution method, turquoise flecks and pieces are ground up and an epoxy or resin is used to bind these particles to form whole blocks. This product is treated with dyes and heat then made into beads or carved and cut a variety of ways. If you are buying reconstituted turquoise and are being told that it is real turquoise, you will be paying more than it is actually worth.
Several department stores like Walmart sell jewelry that looks similar to turquoise but they are nothing more than plastic beads. There is nothing wrong with that as long as what they are advertising is the truth. When you get into purchasing from places that are not being ethical suppliers then you might come across products that are plastic and be paying for actual turquoise stones.
Another method of imitating turquoise gemstones is the process of dyeing other stones to look like turquoise. Howlite is a gemstone that once dyed looks very similar to turquoise. Travertine can also be sold as turquoise on the market but if you don’t know the difference you could be paying once again more for it than it is worth.
How To Buy Turquoise
When purchasing turquoise jewelry, be sure to ask questions about the stones and whether they have been treated. Get verification from the seller that what you are purchasing is authentic. Lastly, what the return policy is and the time frame. Your best bet is to take it to a few different jewelers or gemologists so they can determine the authenticity of your item.