Exploring the Different Types of Turquoise

Exploring the Different Types of Turquoise – Turquoise, with its mesmerizing blue-green hues, has captivated people for centuries. This unique gemstone has been cherished and admired by different cultures throughout history.

From ancient civilizations to modern-day jewelry enthusiasts, turquoise continues to enchant with its vibrant colors and rich symbolism. In this article, we will take a closer look at the various types of turquoise gemstones, exploring their characteristics, origins, and cultural significance.

Whether you’re an admirer of turquoise jewelry or simply curious about gemstones, join us as we embark on a journey to uncover the beauty and diversity of turquoise.

What is Turquoise?

Turquoise is a mineral that belongs to the phosphate family. It is formed through a complex process involving the interaction of copper, aluminum, phosphorus, and water.

The resulting gemstone is known for its stunning blue and green colors, ranging from pale sky blue to deep greenish-blue hues.

The name “turquoise” is derived from the French word “pierre turquoise,” meaning “Turkish stone,” as it was originally imported to Europe through Turkey.

The Different Types of Turquoise

Natural Turquoise

Natural turquoise, also known as untreated or pure turquoise, is highly valued for its authenticity and natural beauty. It is formed when water containing dissolved copper and aluminum percolates through rocks, depositing minerals over time. Natural turquoise can be found in various parts of the world, including the southwestern United States, Iran, China, and Egypt.

One of the most renowned sources of natural turquoise is the Sleeping Beauty mine in Arizona, USA. This mine is famous for producing turquoise with a vibrant sky blue color and minimal matrix (veining or web-like patterns). Another notable source is the Nishapur mine in Iran, which has been producing turquoise for over 2,000 years. Iranian turquoise often displays a rich greenish-blue hue with intricate matrix patterns, adding to its unique appeal.

Stabilized Turquoise

Stabilized turquoise is a type of turquoise that has been treated to enhance its durability and color. This process involves impregnating the gemstone with a clear epoxy resin or other stabilizing agents. The treatment helps to harden the gemstone, making it more resistant to scratches and breakage. Stabilization also enhances the color of turquoise, bringing out its natural beauty.

One of the main reasons for stabilizing turquoise is to improve its ability to withstand the rigors of jewelry-making processes. The treatment ensures that the gemstone remains intact during cutting, shaping, and setting into jewelry pieces. Stabilized turquoise is widely used in the jewelry industry and offers a more affordable alternative to natural turquoise, while still retaining its captivating appearance.

Treated Turquoise

Treated turquoise refers to turquoise gemstones that have undergone various treatments to alter their color or improve their appearance. One common treatment is dyeing, where the gemstone is immersed in a colored solution to enhance or change its color. This practice is typically disclosed to consumers to ensure transparency in the gemstone market.

Another treatment method is called reconstitution, which involves pulverizing turquoise fragments and then bonding them together using epoxy resin or other binding agents. This process creates a composite material that resembles natural turquoise. Reconstituted turquoise is often used in jewelry-making due to its affordability and availability in a wide range of colors.

Additionally, some turquoise gemstones undergo stabilization and enhancement treatments simultaneously. Stabilization involves impregnating the gemstone with a clear resin or other stabilizing agents to improve its durability, while enhancement treatments aim to alter the color or texture of the stone. These treatments can include waxing, oiling, or heat application to enhance the gemstone’s appearance and bring out its natural beauty.

Sleeping Beauty Turquoise

Sleeping Beauty turquoise is one of the most sought-after types of turquoise due to its distinctive sky-blue color and minimal matrix. It comes from the Sleeping Beauty mine in Globe, Arizona, which was one of the largest producers of turquoise in North America. The mine, unfortunately, ceased production in 2012, making Sleeping Beauty turquoise even more valuable and rare.

This type of turquoise is highly regarded for its pure, robin’s egg blue color, which is reminiscent of clear skies. Its consistent color and lack of matrix make it a favorite among jewelry designers, as it provides a clean and contemporary look. Sleeping Beauty turquoise is often used in both Native American and contemporary jewelry designs, ranging from earrings and necklaces to bracelets and rings.

Other Notable Types of Turquoise

Aside from Sleeping Beauty turquoise, there are several other notable types of turquoise with their unique characteristics. Here are a few examples:

  • Persian Turquoise: Also known as Iranian turquoise, Persian turquoise is highly prized for its intense greenish-blue color and beautiful matrix patterns. It has a long history dating back thousands of years and has been used in intricate jewelry and decorative objects.
  • Kingman Turquoise: Kingman turquoise, sourced from the Kingman mine in Arizona, is famous for its rich blue color with dark matrix patterns. It is a popular choice for both Native American and contemporary jewelry.
  • Chinese Turquoise: China has become a significant producer of turquoise in recent years. Chinese turquoise often displays a range of colors, including shades of blue, green, and even yellow. It is appreciated for its unique matrix patterns and affordability.
  • Mexican Turquoise: Mexico has a rich history of turquoise mining, and Mexican turquoise is known for its vibrant blue color and intricate matrix designs. Some of the well-known mines in Mexico include Cananea and Santa Rita.

Conclusion

Turquoise gemstones come in a variety of types, each with its characteristics and allure. Whether you prefer the natural beauty of untreated turquoise, the durability of stabilized turquoise, or the vibrant colors of treated turquoise, there is a type that suits every taste and budget.

From the highly coveted Sleeping Beauty turquoise to the exotic Persian and Chinese varieties, turquoise continues to captivate with its unique charm. Explore the world of turquoise and discover the perfect gemstone that resonates with your style and appreciation for natural beauty.

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