wikiHow to Buy Turquoise Jewelry

Turquoise has been considered a sacred gemstone for thousands of years. The ancient Chinese, Egyptians and Native Americans believed the beautiful turquoise gem protected the wearer from unnatural death and disaster. Wearing turquoise jewelry is said to enhance wisdom, trust, kindness and understanding. Follow the steps below to learn how to buy authentic turquoise jewelry.


  1. Image titled Buy Turquoise Jewelry Step 1
    Learn the difference between real turquoise and imitation turquoise. Natural turquoise, an aggregate of copper aluminum phosphate hydrate, formed under heat and pressure, is often soft or porous when mined. The various colors found in turquoise result from the presence of either copper or iron--vivid blue is from copper and the softer green tones from iron. Turquoise stones can also have patterns of brown, yellow ochre and black matrix, produced from copper compounds. True turquoise has an opaque, waxy luster that may or may not include matrix, depending on the type of turquoise.
  2. Image titled Buy Turquoise Jewelry Step 2
    Understand that the gemstones used in almost all turquoise jewelry must be stabilized because natural turquoise is usually too soft to be worn as jewelry. The stabilization process of a turquoise stone involves submerging it into a stabilizing compound. This results in the natural action of the stones’ capillaries drawing the stabilizing compound into the gemstone.
  3. Image titled Buy Turquoise Jewelry Step 3
    Get familiar with the enhancements that are applied to turquoise stones. The American Gem Trade Association (AGTA) outline the different enhancements that are applied to turquoise stones. These various treatments should be clearly identified by the seller.
  4. Image titled Buy Turquoise Jewelry Step 4
    Learn to identify turquoise by where it was mined. Turquoise mines are located all over the world, and each mine produces stones that have distinctive colors and markings.
    • Sleeping Beauty turquoise is mined in Arizona. It is a solid stone (no matrix) and it ranges in color from royal blue to a light sky blue.
    • Chalk turquoise is mined in China. It is white and porous, so it must be stabilized and dyed. Chalk turquoise is dyed in various hues of blue and green because the mines don’t contain copper, which is the element that naturally gives turquoise its distinctive hue. Chalk turquoise almost always has a matrix pattern, which resembles faint cracks.
    • Persian turquoise is mined in Iran. This stone is known for its extremely vibrant, robin’s egg blue color. Persian Turquoise" does not have a matrix, and some people refer to any turquoise stone does not have the black or brown veining commonly found in turquoise mined in the United States as “Persian Turquoise.” The main thing to look for, other than a lack of a matrix, is the distinct, bright blue color.
    • Bisbee turquoise is mined in Bisbee, Arizona. The Bisbee mine produces turquoise stones in many different shades of blue and the stones have a reddish-brown matrix. This pattern is only found on the stones taken from the Bisbee mine.
  5. Image titled Buy Turquoise Jewelry Step 5
    Buy from a reputable jeweler. Turquoise has a wide range of values, depending on which mine it came from. The price can also depend on demand and scarcity (some mines are nearly depleted.) Be sure to buy your turquoise from a jeweler that is a member of AGTA. If you want to be sure you are buying authentic Native American turquoise, make sure the dealer is a member of the Indian Arts and Crafts Association (IACA).


  • Members of the IACA (Indian Arts and Crafts Association) are in full compliance with the U.S. Department of Interior American Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990, which guarantees the authenticity of origin, materials and tribal affiliation of the artist.
  • Remove turquoise jewelry before applying cream or oil to your skin because any type of oil (including your own skin oil) can affect the color of the turquoise.
  • Do not use soap or any other cleaning solution to clean or polish your turquoise jewelry. Use a soft, dry cloth to wipe off dirt or grime. Remember, by nature, turquoise is a soft, porous stone. It is not hard and resilient like a diamond.


  • Fake turquoise is usually made from plastic. If you want to test your jewelry for authenticity, put a hot needle on the stone. If it is made of plastic, you will smell resin and the needle will leave a deep mark on the “stone.”
  • All enhancement techniques applied to turquoise stones should be clearly identified by the seller in accordance with the standardized enhancement codes of the American Gem Trade Association (AGTA).
  • African turquoise is mined in Africa and it is not real turquoise. These stones are actually dyed jasper and have a green color and a dark matrix.
  • Beware of dealers who advertise “authentic Indian turquoise jewelry” at wholesale or reduced prices. Reputable dealers usually buy direct from a tribe and the price of each piece is carefully determined to reflect the quality and artisanship.
  • Beware that when a color stabilization process is used on turquoise, the gemstone’s value will be reduced.
  • Be especially cautious when buying turquoise beads. Unscrupulous sellers may try to sell beads that contain glass or plastic beads that have been dyed to match the turquoise beads.

Article Info

Categories: Fashion Styles | Fashion