Why Is Some Turquoise More Expensive?
If you shop often for turquoise jewelry, you may have noticed a disparity in pricing. Why? Isn't turquoise just turquoise? The answer to this is a resounding no. from composites to stones sourced directly from specific mines in specific countries and regions (think Kingman or Hubei), there are countless options when purchasing this amazing stone.
Let's look at a few types:
Some of the stones that come out of China that are labeled as turquoise are simply dyed magnesite. It's pretty, however it is not gem quality nor is it even the actual stone - they even tried to bring some to the Tucson Gem Show several years ago and pass it off as the real thing!!
These forms are generally created from the chips and powder that come from cut stones and are congealed with a resin or glue. Sometimes they add a dash of color to them.They can be pressed into a form to make beads or cabochons, or even used as inlay in mosaic pieces. "Pressed" refers to lower grade that is pressed into a block. They will sometimes add color, other stones, or infuse them with bronze or copper.
Natural stone that is treated so that it keeps its color and keeps its strength. Lower grade option in this can sometimes have color added. With higher grade stone, a process called "Zachery" or "Foutz" is used to fuse quartz into the porous structure. It makes the stone sound and helps maintain the color.
High grade turquoise that is not treated or dyed and used mainly in cabochons and beads. Examples of this include Kingman, Royston, Molenci, Bisbee, Blueberry, Hubei, Campitos, Sonoran Gold, and more.
My absolute favorite stone to use is Kingman turquoise. There's an incredible variety of colors in the stone and webbing, and it's heirloom quality - the stuff you want to give your kids and grandkids.
Next time we'll talk about different mines.