Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Turquoise: Part 3 in a Series

Types of Turquoise
There are five types of turquoise, as described by law. All turquoise for sale worldwide will fall into one of the following categories:

Natural Turquoise
This is that is so hard and beautiful that is able to be mined, cut, polished and set into a piece of jewelry without any kind of treatment. Less than 3% of all the turquoise on the market worldwide is classified as “natural.”

Stabilized Turquoise
This is a soft, chalky turquoise that has been injected with a clear epoxy resin. The resin, under pressure, is absorbed into the rock, permanently hardening it and deepening the color. The colors in stabilized turquoise are permanent and will not deepen over time, like natural turquoise. Most of the turquoise on the market today is the stabilized type. It is quite beautiful and is usually a very good value.

Treated Turquoise
This type of turquoise is soft and has been stabilized, but the epoxy resin has also been dyed. Colors in treated turquoise can sometimes look artificial. Prices for this kind of turquoise should be much less than the natural and stabilized varieties.

Reconstituted Turquoise
This turquoise is very low grade. It has been ground into powder, saturated with epoxy resin, dyed, and compressed into blocks and/or cakes. It is then cut into shapes for jewelry making. This is the least expensive type of turquoise.

Imitation Turquoise
This is not real turquoise, but is made from resin or plastic. Sometimes it hard to tell the difference visually, so it’s always best to ask before you buy.

More about Turquoise on Taos Unlimited

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