For at least 8000 years people have coveted turquoise. In the early times, different cultures believed turquoise brought luck. Due to the high demand, turquoise was heavily mined leading to the decrease of high quality gemstones. Different enhancements used on low quality stones make them difficult to tell from the real thing. Follow these steps to spot fake turquoise.
1) Ask where the jewelry comes from. Today, turquoise is mined in Iran, China, Tibet and the southwestern United States. Fake turquoise can come from anywhere.
2) Look at the vibrant colors of real turquoise, which ranges from a light sky blue to a gray-green color. You want to see a uniform color 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 aluminum.
3) Study the quality of the color. 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.
4) 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 color ( see the above photo for a heavily matrix-ed piece).
5) Notice any smell to the gemstone. Reconstituted turquoise carries a certain odor that comes from the resin used to bond turquoise dust and pieces together. Dyes and minerals try to duplicate the color and matrix of real turquoise.
6) Price the piece of jewelry and expect it to be high. With turquoise supplies dwindling, the prices of good turquoise are rising. Consider high quality turquoise as an investment that will appreciate like diamonds or emerald.
7) Buy real turquoise jewelry from a reputable dealer and ask for a certificated of authenticity. Most of the good pieces are signed by the artist.
Hope this helps you with your turquoise shopping.