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How to distinguish real turquoise from fake?

The question of how to distinguish natural turquoise from its imitation is usually more difficult to answer than in the case of malachite. This complexity stems from the fact that we see many imitations of turquoise on the shelves, and they are different. In a rare jewelry store you won’t see bracelets, beads, pendants, rings and earrings with this stone, but handicraft materials stores are completely littered with a variety of beads, “nuggets”, crumbs, and cabochons made from it. Even at a quick glance you can see the differences: these samples are bright blue with a glossy sheen and black veins, some have solid brown-brown veins, others have a matte surface with slight abrasions and a greenish color. These are more expensive, those are cheaper. A reasonable question arises: which of them are natural turquoise? The answer is simple: none. Yes Yes. There is not a single piece of natural turquoise in this photo! I foresee the reader’s surprise at this. Let’s clear things up. Any beautiful stone inserted into a brooch, pendant or ring was once mined somewhere. And its value, along with its decorative properties, is necessarily based on how rare it is in the bowels of the earth, whether it is easy to extract, bring, and process it to a state suitable for jewelry use. Since ancient times, turquoise has been highly valued and inserted into various jewelry, believing in its magical power to store and increase the wealth of its owner, to give him eternal love and happiness in marriage. Needless to say, its extraction sites have been developed for many millennia, and since they are usually not too large, they are exhausted quite quickly, and the extraction itself is expensive. At the moment, turquoise all over the world is only growing in price, and it is no longer available. Where does such an abundance of the “stone of happiness and love” come from on store shelves, and at a very affordable price? I think you already understood it yourself. Ancient Egyptian jewelry with turquoise Turquoise cannot yet be called a mineralogical rarity. But it is also not a common stone on sale and is not cheap. Once again: turquoise is expensive! Very expensive. And therefore, firstly, natural turquoise is not included in stamped Chinese jewelry for three hundred rubles per set (for this money you can buy one tiny stone), and secondly, it is not sold very often in stores for creative materials. At all. Even if it’s tiny. A low price is an excellent indicator of the authenticity of a stone, and this already helps a lot in identifying fakes. Although many sellers have long understood this and often ask fabulous money for fakes. Now let’s go over the methods of processing turquoise, and also, in parallel, the methods of its imitation and “upgrade” to increase the price – fair and not so fair. STABILIZED, PRESSED, COLORED. Case one: you firmly decided to buy a real stone, or even several, and approached the issue with all seriousness. You are looking for a supplier (of course, this will not be the first seller of the first store you come across, no matter what he assures you of). Compare prices, consider different offers. The fact is obvious: you do not have such accurate and complete mineralogical knowledge to distinguish between varieties of turquoise by eye and determine the adequacy of prices. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be reading this article right now, right? 😉 Well, here it is: if we are talking about such a serious purchase and you do not want to be deceived, contact a professional consultant, and it is very desirable – one who would not be related to the supplier you have chosen, if the latter is not trusted. Of course, this will require additional payment, but in the case of such a purchase it is justified – this is the price of system knowledge, which you need to spend several years acquiring. It’s not possible to have a solid idea of ​​what you’re taking in five minutes or even a week. It is better to seek help from an expert, because distinguishing between varieties of natural turquoise, including refined ones, is a delicate matter. What are these varieties? The ideal option is a stone that was simply extracted from the depths of the earth, polished and inserted into jewelry. I’ll say right away: you just won’t find one like this on sale. Even in the average jewelry store – no. Due to the fact that in many areas of turquoise mining there is not so much turquoise left, and it is most often found in small fragments, this stone often needs to be strengthened in various ways in order for it to become suitable for jewelry. It can be porous, too soft, with cracks, and so on. Impregnation with strengthening compounds helps – such turquoise is called stabilized. It is natural in origin, and with the help of this treatment it is protected from cracking and other possible “accidents”, as well as from rapid fading of color, which is a fairly common phenomenon for this stone. Thus, this technological process is for her benefit, although its necessity suggests that the raw materials were not ideal. Stabilized turquoise is cheaper, but this price is also an order of magnitude different from the price of imitation (we will look at cases where scammers ask thousands of rubles for plastic a little later). Another option is to press blocks from very fine crumbs mixed with various cementing polymers, and grind them into “pebbles” of the desired shape. By origin, such turquoise is, in fact, partially natural, but it looks different. Its quality is the lowest. The price, accordingly, too. Within the “line” of turquoise related to natural, an unscrupulous seller can pass off one variety after another. As has already been said, it is better to entrust the selection and rendering of a verdict on whether a stone corresponds to its name to a professional consultant. What else is done with natural turquoise? It can be tinted (colored), thus improving it to greater contrast and brightness of color. As in the case of stabilization, these manipulations practically do not change its pattern and general appearance. The problem is that we are so accustomed to the look of artificial plastic turquoise that most people seriously believe that it is the real thing. And it is the contemplation of natural stone that leaves us perplexed: what was this that was offered to me? “I DON’T RECOGNIZE YOU IN MAKE-UP!” Let’s move on to the second case. The “turquoise” that they offer you does not cost astronomical money, it looks quite decent, it seems like it is really a natural stone, which is what you wanted. But is it the same one? Imitating turquoise from other similar minerals is not an easy topic. There are already a couple of dozen of them used for this purpose, and the name of most of them is unfamiliar to the reader. I won’t go into unnecessary details, I’ll just say that other stones, tinted or not, but of natural origin, can be sold under the turquoise brand. The most common of them is howlite. This name, by the way, is being waved around by unscrupulous sellers who sell plastic “dummies” instead of stone: this, they say, is howlite. Not turquoise, of course, and yes, it is tinted, but everything is natural! Don’t be fooled by this. Tinted howlite (itself is white with grayish or brownish veins) is far from the most common imitation of turquoise. And to listen to the remarks from behind the counters, it will seem that everything around is simply littered with them. Howlite is a natural shade. By painting it blue, you can get stones that look like turquoise To reduce such misunderstandings, take a look at the photographs of natural howlite. It has a fairly pleasant pattern, the shine when polished well is brighter, glossier than that of natural turquoise with its waxy texture. In terms of its decorative qualities, it is quite good! It’s just that it’s much cheaper than turquoise. It is therefore useful to know what it looks like, especially if they want to sell it to you at a high price. Other “candidates” for imitation turquoise, from left to right: magnesite, chrysocolla, artificially colored chalcedony . We have not yet touched on other stones that are passed off as turquoise – chrysocolla, dyed chalcedony and others. We won’t go here: these cases are definitely rare, and the most useful thing, if you are planning to buy yourself a thing with turquoise, is to “train” your eye on it, the real one, at least with the help of photo selections. This collage features natural turquoise stones. It is unusual for our eyes.TURQUOISE WITHOUT TURQUOISE Finally, case three. You are not at all happy to pay thousands of rubles for one beautiful stone – you just want something “turquoise” to go with your favorite scarf or dress. In this case, feel free to buy polymer or ceramic imitation – they can be really beautiful. But don’t buy into the seller’s attempts to give you a string of beads for several thousand. This is the most common deception, and here you need to be on your guard. I would like to set the main goal of designating precisely these absolutely artificial types of “turquoise” with which all stores are now littered. They are recognized quite well by eye, which can already be adopted. You can learn this quickly on your own; it will be useful in any case, since these are the materials you will encounter in all regular stores. The first option is imitation made of ceramics, alabaster, plaster and similar materials. These imitations are very widespread and it is not difficult to buy them. But getting information from the seller that the stone is artificial is usually not easy. Therefore, look at the photo. Ceramic imitation turquoise. On the left photo the label contains the name “pressed” – this is a lie: it is not there at all. Ceramic “turquoise” sometimes looks quite beautiful from a purely aesthetic point of view (I love it myself), but this does not make it natural. Usually it is a little lighter than real stone, quickly warms up in the palm of your hand, and its surface is almost always matte (at least, an even waxy sheen is not inherent in this material at all). The veins on such beads, cabochons or crumbs are brown or brown in color, the thickness of these lines is the same along the entire length, the intensity of their color also does not change. If you split such a sample, there will be an unpainted area inside with a texture characteristic of ceramics. Some of them even lose paint from the surface if you rub it with a cotton swab moistened with alcohol – here’s another test for you. And this is also sold as turquoise. At best, making excuses by saying that it is “painted.” There is paint, but no turquoise. Another type of imitation turquoise is made of plastic. Such “pebbles” are often bright blue in color, without a greenish tint, with black veins, the pattern seems to be a little blurred, unevenly outlined. There are also no color transitions in the veins. This type of synthetic “turquoise” is dyed throughout its entire thickness, and heat exposure is a sure indicator of a fake. If it is possible to apply a hot needle to the sample somewhere in an inconspicuous place, at the end, then you will see smoke. There will be an unpleasant smell, and a burn mark will remain. Needless to say, nothing like this can happen with natural stone. Plastic “turquoise” looks like this. It is this material that usually melts and smokes when heated. Let us separately mention the “nugget” beads. They are also entirely artificial. Turquoise beads are a separate topic. I once read a sensible idea that it is practically impractical to do them, and this seems to be an important point. Imagine: such an amount of valuable raw materials (not every piece of turquoise mined will produce a high-quality, large enough bead!) to spend on just one piece of jewelry. Firstly, it will be very expensive. Ten thousand is a completely normal price for a short thread, and even then it’s far from the best grade. The same stones can be used for piece jewelry, which will cost much more. And beads – they are beads, their decorative value, at the most general level, is limited, and such an item will not take a day or two to look for a buyer. Of course, they are made, but in the quantities in which we see all the time? Of course not. Now remember once again the piles of “turquoise” beads in the photo on the Internet, your hands weighed down with a dozen or two threads of large stones. Polished beads for every taste – beads with a diameter of 8, 10, 12 millimeters, blue, greenish, with a black pattern, with a light one. The usual “landscape” of a craft materials store. Do you get it? The fact that there is a bead or beads in front of you is already a reason to actively take a closer look at what is being offered to you. Not everything that is turquoise is made of turquoise. In general, turquoise beads still exist. Once over the last couple of years I saw them in a specialty store, another time on the Internet. Such stones cannot be cheap. If the price is low, then this is a fake. Not “pressing” (we already wrote about this in a previous article about malachite), but an artificial imitation that has nothing in common with natural turquoise. These beads cost pennies. Don’t pay dearly for them! They even sculpt turquoise from polymer clay. These imitations do not stand up to any criticism at all, but only the most “talented” and shameless sellers can try to pass them off as “natural”. Usually it is made for purely decorative purposes, which is fully justified – if the master is talented and experienced, the result will be a beautiful thing. Hand-sculpted “turquoise” looks something like this: SUMMARY Turquoise is a rare stone on sale and very expensive. It is not and cannot be, by definition, in either a handicraft shop or a cheap jewelry store. Large stones and beads are especially suspicious. Imitations made of ceramics and others like them look characteristic; when chipped, they are unpainted and white; sometimes they leave a trace of paint on a cotton swab moistened with alcohol. Polymer imitations smoke, smell like burnt plastic, darken and melt if you apply a hot needle to them somewhere on the edge. Imitations of turquoise from other natural stones are varied, but are quite rare in themselves. Turquoise has no translucent areas, its shine is waxy, the main shades can be blue, greenish, yellowish, and the spots can be black and brown. You should buy it only in a trusted place (by the way, jewelry stores are not the standard here – they also constantly see jewelry with synthetics). If you have any doubts, to be completely sure, you should consult a professional gemologist: buying a natural turquoise stone, which is very expensive, requires a serious approach and clear knowledge, which you cannot get on the Internet in one day. The turquoise in these jewelry is natural
And here is our joint work with Anton – the talisman pendant “Keeper of the River Source” with a natural turquoise stone! 🙂Tasha.Photo by Tasha and from the Internet.Sudogda, June 25, 2016

  • Turquoise is a stone whose appearance always stands out among other gems. Already from afar, it immediately announces itself with its unique brightness and cheerful shade. This mineral is precious and therefore prized among jewelers. This factor pushes some unscrupulous craftsmen create fakes, which sell at the price of the original product. To prevent you from falling into the hands of deceivers, we will introduce you to how to distinguish a copy from a real stone.

    Types of fakes

    Creating copies of turquoise began in Ancient Egypt. In those days, craftsmen painted glass, selecting shades that most closely resembled the mineral. This option was very different from a natural gem, so later they began to create specimens with the addition of soda, copper, calcium carbonate, silica, etc.

    Each analogue differs in quality and composition, so there are several main ones: varieties.

    1. Viennese. This stone consists of malachite, phosphoric acid and aluminum. These components are crushed and then treated with high temperature. When heated, such a product quickly turns black. It also breaks easily, as it has an average hardness rating of 5 points.
    2. Synthetic. This option contains copper, iron, and bayerite. Its manufacturing process is similar to the previous one, and its hardness is 4 points on the Mohs scale.
    3. Artificial. This specimen is obtained only with the help of dyes and resins; there are no natural ingredients. This fake is very fragile, since its hardness is only 2,5 points.
    4. Glass. This method is the most ancient. The main component that colors such products is cobalt.

    Turquoise suits all zodiac signs except Cancer, Virgo and Leo

    Differences between real and fake minerals

    If you decide to treat yourself to a new item, but doubt the honesty of the manufacturer, we recommend that you check the products listed below ways.

    1. Pay attention to the weight of the gem. Too light specimens indicate that this is a synthetic analogue.
    2. With the seller’s permission, wipe the mineral with an alcohol wipe. Painted glass will definitely leave a blue color.
    3. Look at the veins. They should look harmonious and not too conspicuous. Too bright and perfectly drawn lines are most often found on fakes.
    4. Hold the product in your palms for a couple of minutes. Synthetics will immediately heat up, while natural gems will remain cool.
    5. Inspect the inside of the beads. If the color differs from the front side, then you should refuse the purchase.
    6. Pay attention to the size of the decoration. The natural mineral rarely reaches one centimeter, so large specimens are imitation.
    7. Natural turquoise cannot have too low a price. If you see a spectacular piece of jewelry at a very attractive price, be prepared for the fact that it turns out to be fake.
    8. Ask the seller for a certificate of conformity. With such a request, scammers will most likely begin to get nervous and try to evade. If the product is genuine, no disputes should arise.

    If you already have a product with turquoise, but you don’t know if it’s real, don’t rush to get upset. To avoid damaging the accessory, heat up the needle and run along the wrong side of it. With such fraud, the plastic will be immediately damaged, while only a barely noticeable scratch will appear on a real nugget. When fully heated, the fake will darken and emit an unpleasant odor.

    With these tips, you can check the product and make a final decision about purchasing it. It should also be remembered that the artificial origin of the stone is not a reason to refuse the purchase. If you want to save money, you can agree to this option, but then the price must be appropriate. At the same time, do not forget that the natural mineral will last much longer and will have positive energy. Additional tips on this topic can be found in the video:

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