Healing Properties of Turquoise
Like most blue gemstones, turquoise activates the throat chakra, helping us speak our wisdom and truth. The gift of turquoise is in bringing an awareness that every part of us is an element of our Divine self, to be understood and embraced. The heart of compassion is knowing that darkness and pain is a universal human experience, and only by integrating these aspects of existence can we become whole. Turquoise encourages to accept ourselves, warts and all.
Turquoise as a Gemstone
An opaque greenish-blue gemstone consisting of a copper aluminum hydrous phosphate mineral. It often has veins of darker or lighter material running through it, which is referred to as “matrix”. The matrix can be yellow, brown, or black depending on the turquoise.
Turquoise has a long history dating back to 5000 B.C. and is mined in Iran, Afghanistan, Tibet, Australia, and in the southwestern US.
Types and treatments of turquoise
“Stabilized” means that turquoise has been processed in a way that hardens it and deepens the color somewhat. The vast majority of turquoise on the market is stabilized, as otherwise it is too soft and prone to fading when used in jewelry. Be aware that while it is not necessary to dye turquoise to stabilize it, some sellers do dye it while stabilizing it to produce a more intense color. So, be careful and ask questions when you are buying if you are looking for undyed turquoise.
Sleeping Beauty turquoise is turquoise from a specific mine in Arizona that produces very high quality turquoise.
Spiderweb turquoise is turquoise where the matrix is more dense and looks like a spiderweb.
Buffalo turquoise is a rare form of white turquoise found in the southwest USA. It still has a tint of blue or green. Yellow turquoise is also also found rarely in this area. However, both of these terms are also used for imitation turquoise (see below), as genuine white or yellow turquoise is quite expensive.
There are several turquoise imposters to look out for. Howlite as well as magnesite are sometimes dyed to mimic turquoise. African turquoise is actually a form of jasper. Look out for words like synthetic, dyed, artificial, faux, and imitation.
Many variations like “yellow turquoise”, “white turquoise”, “Buffalo turquoise”, “pink turquoise”, “mosaic turquoise” are “creative” names for other stones, usually howlite, serpentine, magnesite, or jasper that have a look similar to the characteristic veins of genuine turquoise.
Be sure that what you buy is sold as genuine turquoise and you trust your source. If it seems too inexpensive, it’s probably not real turquoise.
Stones that are sometimes mistaken for turquoise include chrysocolla and Eilat stone.
Materials derived from turquoise
Reconstituted turquoise is made from scrap turquoise that is left over from the cutting process, ground up, and then put back together with resins, dyes, and sometimes added metal to either enhance the color or matrix.
Chalk turquoise is (debatably) a kind of reconstituted turquoise–debatable because it is made from a mineral that is the same as turquoise but minus the copper that gives turquoise it’s blue color. It is white, chalky, and is stabilized and dyed various bright colors.
Oyster turquoise consists of bits of turquoise, oyster shell, and copper that are fused together into a solid mass in a way that attempts to mimic a natural mineral. The resulting conglomerate is then cut and shaped to use in jewelry. The material was inspired by the work of indigenous American artists who make jewelry combining turquoise and inlays of shell from the spiny oyster.
Mojave turquoise is a reconstituted turquoise with an added bronze metal matrix.