Turquoise is a beautiful gemstone that is wonderful in in silver turquoise jewelry. Scientifically it's a combination of aluminum and phosphates with traces of copper oxide, from which it gets its blue color, and manganese oxide, iron, calcium and zinc. The green color of the gems arises from the aluminum or iron and the yellow comes from zinc. Green is the most common color for turquoise gemstones, and furthermore blue gems frequently change to green if exposed to light for a long time. Various mixtures of these elements give turquoise its variety of colors, with the most highly prized being those with an intense blue color and yellow gems having the lowest value. The best quality gemstones, for instance Persian turquoise, don't usually fade and maintain their gorgeous blue color indefinitely.

Some gemstones have a major color with different colored lines in a spider web pattern marking the surface. The cause of this is irregular distribution of the various elements that are present in the gem and the marks may be brown, yellow or black in many patterns. However pure colored stones are more valued than stones with a spider web matrix while turquoise stonse of intense blue color, even with spider web matrix, are more highly prized than yellow or green pure colored gemstones. Natural gemstones of a pure color, that is those which are not marked with spider web matrix, are rare and are very highly prized.

Turquoise Treatments

Around 10% of turquoise used in jewelry is natural, high quality stone. Over 85% is treated from soft, rough turquoise so that it hardens enough for use. The procedure also improves durability and enhances the color of the stones. Turquoise mined in a few countries, for example China, is too soft and always requires treatment. Nevertheless the process yields attractive gemstones, which, although less valuable than unprocessed gems, still make fantastic jewelry. These procedures enhance the the stone's color as well as making them tougher so that they last for much longer. A process used to boost the color consists of injecting epoxy resin that contains a dye into the gem. The color is more stable and won't change to green. The soft Chinese turquoise is toughened by injecting the gemstones with a liquid plastic. An alternative method is to use epoxy resin without a dye to harden the gemstone but not change the color.

Simulated turquoise can be made from a base of liquid plastic with powdered turquoise. This type of turquoise is, of course, very low-priced. These imitations are sometimes sold as high quality natural turquoise turquoise and are often coated in plastic or waxed.

Care of Turquoise Gemstones

Turquoise is both porous and soft so needs to be looked after carefully. It must never be worn when it can become scratched and must always be protected from any kind of blow. On no account wear turquoise jewelry when cleaning or digging the garden! Store turquoise jewelry in a box lined with soft material such as velvet and do not store with other, harder gems which may well damage it. Turquoise stones can soak up liquids so keep them away from oils, chemicals or hot water and even perfumes and cosmetics. These can be absorbed by the stone which could change color or become dull. Turquoise can be cleaned by using mild soapy water and drying thoroughly with a soft cloth. Make sure it is dried completely before you store it away and on no account use an ultrasonic cleaner as they can cause cracking of the gem.

In Conclusion

Turquoise is a lovely, eye-catching stone which is rare and sought after. It definitely does have several disadvantages in that it must be looked after carefully and some of the blue stones can change to green over time. Despite this it makes magnificent silver turquoise rings, necklaces, pendants and earrings as the lovely blue color is complimented perfectly by the silver.