What is turquoise?
Turquoise stone is a hydrous basic phosphate of copper and aluminum which is formed as water trickles through a host stone for about 30 million years, gradually leaving a deposit. If the mix has more copper, the turquoise will be colored in the blue range; if more aluminum, in the green to white range. The addition of zinc yields a yellow-green color and hardens the stone even more. The finest of turquoise reaches a maximum Mohs hardness of just under 6, or slightly more than window glass.
What is the "matrix" in turquoise?
Other colors that appear in a turquoise stone come from the host stone that the turquoise formed in, and are called "matrix." A black matrix is usually from iron pyrite; a gold-brown matrix from iron oxide, and a yellow to brown matrix from rhyolite. Matrix that is thin and evenly spaced over the surface of the stone is commonly known as "spider web" matrix. Spider web matrix usually enhances the collectibility and value of turquoise.
Grade of Turquoise
earthlodge use only Natural and Stabilized stones and stay away from color-treated or enhanced, reconstituted and imitation stones.
- NATURAL turquoise means a stone with no alteration to its composition. Such stones are merely polished and cut into shapes before being mounted in jewelry. Natural turquoise may change color over time as it is worn and handled.
- STABILIZED turquoise means that the natural mineral has been chemically altered to harden the stone, usually by infusing epoxy or polystyrene into the porous surface of the stone. The stabilization process freezes the color of the stone so it will not change.
- COLOR-TREATED or color-enhanced turquoise means that the natural mineral, usually too soft and pale to finish for use in jewelry, has been chemically altered to change the color of the stone or hardness. Dye is mixed with a stabilizing epoxy or polystyrene liquid and infused into the stone under pressure. .
- RECONSTITUTED turquoise is the name used for turquoise dust and chips that are mixed with plastic resins and compressed into a solid form so as to resemble natural turquoise.
- IMITATION or SIMULATED turquoise is any synthetic compound (usually dyed plastic) which is manufactured to resemble turquoise, but which contains no actual gemstone.