The little black dress of stones and colors, dress it up, dress it down it never looks out of place and literally goes with everything. Turquoise: a classic color, a classic stone, either way you look at it, it’s timeless. I could probably end this article right here for the sole fact that what I said is true. Turquoise is the “it girl” of the last…oh I don’t know…thousands and THOUSANDS of years.

Circle M Custom Hides in Arizona, uses turquoise to embellish everything from bits to breastcollars.

The Mad Cow Company Custom Spurs

So rather than blab on and on about how much I love turquoise I thought I would pull together a little research on the most AMAZING stone on the market and of course share some sweet retail finds and my new found knowledge.

Perhaps the most well-known culture/people to have found and cherished the turquoise stone is the Native American people. For centuries they have hand crafted unique and truly beautiful pieces of jewelry, believing the stones to hold the powers of protection, long life, good health and fortune.  It was their belief that the black, brown or other color “lines” in the stones, now referred to as the matrix, meant that the stone had taken a “blow” the wearer would have received.  (A way of thinking that I just love!)

According to the Collector’s Guide to Santa Fe, Taos and Albuquerque Vol. 17, there are 5 kinds of turquoise by law: natural, stabilized, treated, reconstituted and imitation. Turquoise is typically sold under the name of the mine it was extracted from.

Natural Turquoise accounts for less than 3% of the market, making it the most expensive. Given its natural, it simply has to be mined, cut and polished. This type will naturally absorb the oil in the wearer’s skin over time and change colors. Kingman and Sleeping Beauty are some notable turquoise mines in North America.

Natural Sleeping Beauty Turquoise. Image from silversunalbuquerque.com

Stabilized Turquoise is a soft or “chalk” turquoise infused with epoxy resin and pressurized to stabilize it. This type of stone does not change color over time like the natural turquoise.

Treated Turquoise is also a soft or “chalk” turquoise infused with epoxy resin. The resin used in this infusion is generally dyed making the stone look artificial.

Reconstituted Turquoise is low-grade chalk, ground into a powder, stabilized with epoxy, dyed and compressed into cakes or block. Later it’s cut into shapes for inexpensive jewelry.

Imitation Turquoise is simply NOT turquoise. Surprise, surprise! It’s an imitation dyed stone or pure plastic piece.

Do you have a timeless turquoise piece? Share your find in a comment below, on Facebook or tweet me. As always be sure to check out EC’s Timeless Turquoise finds on Pinterest.

Circle M Custom Hides Custom Concho Designs and Leather Headstalls.

-Paige Morgan

 

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