A Guide to Turquoise Jewellery

August 25, 2022
A Guide to Turquoise Jewellery Treasures of Brazil
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Turquoise jewellery is a firm favourite here at Treasures of Brazil but it is quite complex. I work with three different types of turquoise jewellery and in this blog post I’ll explain what those are.


Turquoise precious stone

Turquoise is an old precious stone, in fact it is one of the first gemstones to have ever been mined, dating back to 6000 BC! 

The Brazilian regional turquoise is an expensive piece of stone. It is a high-grade turquoise which is hard and is a vibrant blue-green in colour.

Scientifically speaking, turquoise is a hydrated phosphate of copper and aluminium. When it is mined, it is usually too soft to be used in jewellery and needs to go through a process first called ‘stabilisation’. 

During this stabilisation process, the stone is put under pressure to allow it to absorb a clear epoxy filler. This hardens the stone which makes it more suitable for use in jewellery.

Because the turquoise stone is no longer porous, the colour is unlikely to change following stabilisation.

Caring for Turquoise Stone Jewellery

Because natural turquoise can often be quite soft and porous, it is important to avoid contact with oils. Turquoise jewellery should be cleaned only with a clean, damp cloth.

Dyed Howlite Stone 

Dying Howlite stone is a very common way of making turquoise pieces, in fact about 90% of the turquoise jewellery is actually dyed Howlite

Howlite stone is itself a gemstone which looks a little like white porcelain or marble. Similar to turquoise, it has a porous surface with dark veins running through it. These veins are what makes it so suitable to be dyed to represent turquoise.

Like turquoise, Howlite stone can also be rather soft so is best for use in earrings and necklaces, rather than rings which are more susceptible to wear and tear.

Caring for Dyed Howlite Jewellery

Because of how soft Howlite is, it can scratch quite easily - in fact, even household dust could cause scratches - so it should always be stored separate to other jewellery and preferably in a cloth bag. 

To clean your dyed Howlite jewellery, just use a very mild soap and warm water with a soft, clean cloth. 

Lab-Made Synthetic Turquoise 

Lab-made turquoise is not the same as imitation turquoise.

The process for making lab-made synthetic turquoise is similar to the way natural turquoise is formed, it is just speeded up in a lab.

It is very difficult to spot the differences between natural turquoise and lab-made synthetic turquoise, but the main difference is that the natural stones often have inclusions due to the crystallisation process. On the other hand, lab-made turquoise stones are made using a more controlled process and therefore have fewer inclusions.

Lab-made turquoise is a great alternative to the precious gemstones without the high price-tag.

Caring for Lab-Made Synthetic Jewellery

As with natural turquoise, lab-made synthetic turquoise can sometimes be quite soft and porous. Because of this, keep it away from oils and only clean your jewellery with a clean, damp cloth.

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Until next time,

Daiane x

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