When it comes to fine jewellery, the most crucial characteristic to consider is the quality of the gemstone being used. There are several ways to test the value of a gem, from visual checkpoints to laboratory analysis.
The turquoise stone is no exception to the rule. But it can be a bit hard to weed out less valuable pieces of this beautiful stone since it’s so popular and easy to emulate.
What gives this stone its colour?
The stone is found in a wide range of hues, from medium blue and pale powder blue to amazing yellow-green and bright green. It occurs when a source of water, copper, phosphorus and aluminium come together.
Small amounts of copper give the gem its blue colour, vanadium and chromium add the green, and then iron or zinc contributes yellow tone.
Where to purchase a real gemstone
You can purchase real pieces from several jewellers online. We highly recommend that you take a look at the good selection of turquoise jewellery at minerals-kingdom.com.
Factors that determine its value
Typically, this stone is judged on three basic quality factors – the absence or presence of matrix, texture, and colour. Other factors that affect the value of the semi-precious stone include grades, hardness, treatments and pricing.
#1 – Colour
The most valuable or prized colour of the gem is a medium, intense and even blue – likened to the colour of the sky or robin’s egg. It is also described as ‘Persian blue’ because its traditional source is the Nishapur district of Iran.
Gems with a greenish-blue to green colour are lowered on the rungs of value. There are some modern designers who find lime green and avocado stones unique and actively seek them out.
#2 – Pattern
The gorgeous stone can be opaque to semitranslucent, with a colour that normally ranges from light to greenish-blue or medium blue. It is often mottled and may have dark splotches. The December birthstone might have veins of matrix (a remnant of its surrounding rock) running through it.
The material called spiderweb turquoise contains seams of matrix, which form beautiful web-like patterns. The most prized gem is a medium even blue, with the ability to take a great polish and no matrix.
#3 – Carat weight
A carat is the unit of measurement used to describe the weight of stones, and 5 carats equals a gram.
The stone is available in an extensive range of sizes. The larger the size of the gem, the greater the value per unit of weight. So a 20 carat stone will garner a less high value than a 40 carat stone of similar quality.
#4 – Cut
The gemstone is most often cut as a cabochon. The dome-like shape sets off the colour, matrix, and texture of stone beautifully.
Additionally, artisans and manufacturers fashion the precious stones into oblong or round beads for strand necklaces, and into flat, small pieces popular in jewellery inlays. Some top-colour blue jewel is usually engraved with Arabic or Persian inscriptions, inlaid with gold. Rough, lower-quality material is most often tumbled into nuggets.
#5 – Grade of the stone
The grade of the gem you buy indicates its quality. High-quality gemstones come from specific locations and are given a grade of AAAA, AAA, or AA. This includes gemstones that:
• Have webbing
• Can take a high polish
• Have bold or unusual colours
High-quality gemstone is extremely hard to find. Standard jewellery-grade stone merits a grade of C, B, AA- or A. Stones with a lower grade has to be treated before being used in jewellery, making it cheap.
This stone is reasonably soft and porous than sapphire or diamond. The gorgeous stone ranges from a 2 to a 6 on the Mohs scale. Any stone with a score of 2 will be extremely porous and soft and require treatment. Stones with a score of 6 may be used in Jewellery and won’t need treatment.
#7 – Treatments
As mentioned earlier, higher-quality gem stones are hard to find. So it is safe to say that a lot of stones available in jewellery stores or shops have been treated. Jewellers are obligated by law to disclose all and any treatments on the gem sold. So before purchasing a piece, ensure that you ask if it has been treated. There are two main types of treatment: colour enhancement and stabilization.
• Colour enhancement
The stone is treated with chemicals in order to enhance its colour. The treated gemstones are cheaper than the untreated pieces, which can be expensive depending on their grade.
Stabilization is the main form of treatment. Stones are treated with substances like epoxy resin to fill the pores for the stone to retain its colour.
You can easily tell the difference between a stabilized and natural stone since a stabilized piece is harder. In addition, a stabilized stone won’t absorb oils and moisture, while a natural stone will.
Why is turquoise stone so valuable?
This stone is one of the oldest gemstones known to humanity. Being well-known for hundreds of years, the stone is a part of the culture of a number of nations. For example, the some ancient Chinese and Egyptians use the stone in Lithotherapy and consider it sacred.
Put simply, the precious stones are valuable due to their ancient history and attractive colour. It is more part of human culture and history than gems or mineralogy market.
The stone is also valuable because of its scarcity. High-quality or real stone is very hard to find, adding to the price per carat.
Sadly, the most valuable New-Mexican and Persian deposits of the best quality stones are al-ready mined out. It’s set into pieces of jewellery stones to be auctions for the biggest price or re-sold on the aftermarket.
How to spot a turquoise stone imitation
Modern technology has really helped in inventing several chemical formulas, which can create a product similar to the jewel. Note that there are natural minerals that look exactly like this stone. For instance, minerals like variscite may be confused with the stone, even though it’s greener in appearance.
If you want to know the difference between real and fake stones, you should first know what an imitation gem is.
Imitation gemstone is an absorbent white mineral referred to as howlite. This super-absorbent mineral can be dyed into all colours imaginable. When it is done, it can be extremely hard to know if you’ve fake or real gem. Below are a few ways to check if a jewel is fake or real.
Fake gem is made out of simple materials like plastic and is, thus, cheaper to create or produce than genuine stone.
Genuine gem, on the other hand, can be costly since it is made of natural materials, such as iron, aluminum or copper, which are hard to work with.
• The colour intensity
Genuine gemstones have an intense colour that fades with age while imitation pieces tend to have faded a colour even when new.
If your gem is too dark or has black flecks, it is probably fake. A real stone has no such specks or streaks of other colours present within its body.
• The scratch test
The scratch test is one of the easiest ways to spot imitation pieces. Howlite is very soft, so you can use this to your advantage when determining if the piece is fake.
All you have to do is to look to see if the gem stone you’ve scratches easily. If it is hard to scratch, then it might be real. If the stone scratches easily, you may be holding a piece of howlite.
• The weight
Imitation gems feel lighter when compared to real precious stones since they are made of cheap materials or plastic.
Genuine gems are heavier than imitation ones because they are made of natural materials. Real stone will also have a solid weight to touch and fake ones feel hollow.
• The fingernail test
The fingernail test method can be used if you’ve got a rough natural gem. Simply run your fingernail along the surface of the gem stone. If your fingernail gets caught on where the stone meets the webbing matrix, you have a piece of genuine gem in your hands.
• Fingernail polish test
If the stone is dyed, then the fingernail polish test method may damage it. All you need is some nail polish remover (acetone) and a piece of tissue or cotton bud.
Acetone is very handy for checking if the stone has been dyed. Place some acetone on a piece of tissue or cotton bud and wipe an area of your gem. Wipe an area that’s insignificant like right on the edge or at the back of the stone. Once you’ve wiped the gem your piece of tissue or cotton bud should turn blue and then the gem should appear to have an area of lighter colour or a whiter patch.