How to spot fake turquoise jewellery

Updated February 21, 2017

People have coveted turquoise for at least 8,000 years. In early times, different cultures believed turquoise brought luck. Due to the high demand, turquoise was heavily mined leading to a decrease in the availability of high-quality gemstones. Different enhancements used on low quality stones make them difficult to tell from the real thing but you can spot fake turquoise by looking for a few tell-tale signs.

Ask where the jewellery comes from. Today, turquoise is mined in Iran, China, Tibet and the south-western United States. Some of the most desired today is the sky blue turquoise mined in Iran. Fake turquoise can come from anywhere.

Look at the vibrant colours of real turquoise, which ranges from a light sky blue to a grey-green colour. You want to see a uniform colour throughout the stone. Fake or low-quality turquoise is a pale, chalky stone injected with dye. Turquoise comes from a process of millions of years where water leaks over rocks with high mineral content of copper, iron and aluminium.

Study the quality of the colour. The bad or fake stuff often appears clear, as if you could see through it. The good stuff carries a more solid, opaque quality to it. However, even good quality turquoise can fade over time when exposed to sunlight, heat or chemicals.

Check the turquoise for the existence of veins or blotches, which are called the matrix. Although not all real turquoise has it, many stones do have a matrix that varies from white to black in colour.

Notice any smell to the gemstone. Reconstituted turquoise carries a certain odour that comes from the resin used to bond turquoise dust and pieces together. Dyes and minerals try to duplicate the colour and matrix of real turquoise.

Price the piece of jewellery and expect it to be high. With turquoise supplies dwindling, the price of good turquoise is rising. Consider high-quality turquoise as an investment that will appreciate like diamonds or emeralds.

Buy real turquoise jewellery from a dealer and ask for written documentation of the authenticity of your turquoise.

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