Turquoise, the lovely gemstone that is used in silver turquoise jewelry. It has been used for decorative purposes for many thousands of years and is well known as the gemstone used in the attractive jewelry made by Native Americans. Intense blue turquoise is the most highly prized, but is much rarer than green stones. Some blue stones also fade to green over time as they are exposed to sunlight.
The blue color of the stones comes from copper oxide which is present in trace amounts in this aluminum phosphate crystal. Other colors, such as yellow, may be present which arises from traces of zinc and green which comes from iron. The wide array of colors of natural turquoise comes from different combination’s of these elements. The blue color of some high quality stones, such as Persian turquoise does not fade and remains intense indefinitely.
Some gemstones have a major color with the surface marked by a spider web pattern of lines of different colors. The lines are caused by uneven dispersal of the various elements present in the precious stone and the lines might be yellow, black or brown in many patterns. However unmarked gems are more valued than those with a spider web matrix while turquoise precious stones of a deep blue color, even though they have a spider web matrix, are more valued than yellow or green pure gemstones. Natural turquoise gems of a pure color, that is without a spider web matrix, are much rarer and are extremely highly valued.
Less than 10% of the turquoise used in jewelry is natural, finest quality gemstone. Over 90% is treated from rough turquoise to make it hard enough to be used. The process also improves resilience and enhances the gem’s color. Turquoise mined in a number of countries, i.e. China, is always too soft and needs to be treated. In spite of this the procedure yields beautiful gems, which, although less valuable than unprocessed stones, nevertheless make wonderful jewelry.
These procedures enhance the color of the gemstones as well as making them tougher which makes them last longer. A procedure that can be used to boost the color consists of injecting a dye in epoxy resin into the stone. The color is durable and will not fade. The soft Chinese turquoise is hardened by injecting liquid plastic into the stone. A further approach is to inject epoxy resin without a dye that will stabilise the gem but will not change the color.
Imitation turquoise is also made from powdered turquoise that has been mixed with a plastic binder. This kind of turquoise is naturally very inexpensive and virtually worthless. These imitation stones are often sold fraudulently as high quality natural turquoise turquoise and are often waxed or plastic coated.
Looking After Turquoise Stones
Turquoise is both soft and porous so must be looked after carefully. It shouldn’t be worn at times when scratching can be occur and ought to be protected from blows always. Never wear turquoise jewelry for gardening or to do the washing up! Put away turquoise jewelry in a box lined with soft material such as velvet and do not store with other, harder gems which may possibly scratch the gems.
Turquoise gems can absorb liquids so keep them away from oils, chemicals or hot water and even cosmetics and perfumes. These could be absorbed by the stone which may dull or even change it’s color. You can clean turquoise with very mild soapy water and then drying thoroughly with a soft cloth. Make sure it is dried completely before you store it away and on no account use an ultrasonic cleaner as they may result in cracking of the stone.
This lovely blue gemstone is rare and highly prized. Although it needs to be looked after carefully and kept away from sunlight to prevent the color from changing it looks wonderful when made into silver turquoise jewelry. The gorgeous blue color of the stones is perfectly complimented by silver and suits any skin tone. You will wear your jewelry with pride for many years to come.
For more information and some good deals on turquoise jewelry visit Silver Turquoise Jewelry or Silver Turquoise Rings.