Sunday, November 23, 2008


A- to B-grade Turquoise
This is commercial-quality turquoise from various sources. Beads in this category are usually stabilized or enhanced to harden the stone. The stabilization process deepens the color (just as a wet sponge is darker than a dry one). These beads are produced from rough turquoise mined in China, Mexico or the United States (at the Kingman mine in Arizona). These beads are produced from Chinese, Mexican or American rough turquoise. They are well-made beads, uniform in shape and size at a median price. This makes them a good, less-expensive substitute for Sleeping Beauty turquoise (AA-grade). Be aware that the color will slightly darken with wear as the stone absorbs body oils.

African Turquoise
This stone is not true turquoise, but actually a natural jasper found in Africa. It has a matrix structure similar to that of turquoise, and is a light bluish-green. The matrix is usually dark or black. It is an interesting substitute for a true turquoise.

Apple Green Turquoise aka: Mojave Turquoise
Fresh-picked! One of our newer gemstones, apple green turquoise gets its lush color from dye applied to natural blue turquoise. Its surface is waxy and speckled like a real apple's skin, and its color is so intense, you can almost taste it! This gemstone is resin-stabilized and has a beautiful brown, white and dark green matrix. Our apple green turquoise is similar to but nicer than the stone marketed as "Mojave turquoise" (which appears to be scraps of real turquoise bound with dyes and plastic resin, then compressed into a block). Apple green turquoise is mined and enhanced in China.

Block Turquoise
This is manmade, imitation turquoise, from a material known as block.

Chinese Turquoise
This category is a variety of Chinese turquoise beads mined and processed in the Hubei provence in mainland China. Most Chinese turquoise is enhanced, which can include wax treatment, resin stabilization and/or dye.

Lime Turquoise
The perfect accessory for sipping margaritas! We believe that this gemstone from China's Hubei province is a magnesite (Mg CO3) or similar white stone that has been dyed green. Some of the beads display a very light matrix, while others show none. Lime turquoise is harder and cut better than the typical true turquoise from Hubei.

Mexican Turquoise
These turquoise beads have good color (various shades of blue and green) and a light matrix. They are very unique in that they are found as free-form nuggets in clay material, rather than in rock veins. They come from the Pino Chueco ("Crooked Pine") mine in Sonora, Mexico. The mine has produced this turquoise, with color similar to the famed Sleeping Beauty turquoise, since the mid-1980s. The beads have been stabilized.

Yellow Turquoise, Hard aka Flower Jasper, Flower Turquoise, Chinese Howlite
The harder version of the two stones known as "yellow turquoise", this stone is more likely a jasper or serpentine. However, we don't think this stone is dyed or enhanced. It is yellow with brown, green and red, much more varied than the dyed Hubei product (below).

Yellow Turquoise, Soft
From China's Hubei province, this soft stone is a natural turquoise but is usually dyed to achieve its deep yellow hue. We also believe it is wax-treated to harden the surface, or possibly stabilized with a resin.

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