Fake Turquoise


Fake Turquoise can be found almost anywhere!

Howlite is dyed blue and often fools turquoise enthusiasts
Howlite is dyed blue and often fools turquoise enthusiasts
  • Look for white spots, chips in the stone that appear white, and if the nuggets are drilled: look for white present inside the holes!
Howlite can be detected by looking for white areas that do not absorb the dye.
Howlite can be detected by looking for white areas that do not absorb the dye.
Ceramic beads may have brown spider webbing that look painted on.
Ceramic beads may have brown spider webbing that looks to be painted.
  • Rub your fingernail along the “cracks”. “Cracks” on fake turquoise are artificial and have no variance or deviation in feel from the rest of the sample, as real turquoise would!
Rubbing your fingernail on the matrix reveals a "smooth" surface
Rubbing your fingernail on the matrix reveals a “smooth” surface
Artificial black spider web matrix in blue plastic
Artificial black spider web matrix in blue plastic
Big resin and turquoise powder created nugget
Big resin and turquoise powder created nugget (Chinese)
Block Turquoise, made with resin, contains no turquoise
Block Turquoise, made with resin, contains no turquoise

The preceeding examples of fake turquoise: Howlite is a stone that is naturally white, but stained blue to resemble real turquoise. A good way to identify Howlite that is drilled, look at the hole.  The interior of the hole is white! Look at the center bottom stone, as an example. Another example of Howlite which is stained blue to resemble “real” turquoise. The crevasses are stained black. Ceramic beads made to look like “real” turquoise.  Notice the irregular color in the round center bead? Some “fake” turquoise is easier to spot then other pieces.  Notice the fake matrix and dye pooling? Plastic made to look like turquoise.  “Fake” turquoise shows simulated matrix which is perfectly smooth to the touch (run your fingernail over the “fake” matrix and you won’t feel any ridges). Resin and turquoise powder are fused together in this reconstituted turquoise nugget. Block Turquoise contains no turquoise at all.

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Block Turquoise

“Block turquoise” is a mixture of chemicals, plastic resin, and dyes that produce blocks. Block turquoise contains no turquoise. Iron pyrite is sometimes used as “matrix.”

Color Enhanced Turquoise

“Color enhanced” simply means that the turquoise has been treated with dye.

Enhanced Turquoise

“Enhanced turquoise” refers to medium-grade turquoise that has been treated by a process that penetrates and hardens the turquoise with vaporized quartz. This process will not work on low-grade “chalk” turquoise.The process will only work on relatively hard turquoise.  Turquoise enhancement is commonly undetectable using normal testing methods.

Imitation and Simulated Turquoise

Stones such as howlite, magnesite and dolomite may be dyed to look like turquoise. Glass, plastic, ceramic and polymer clay may also be used to imitate turquoise.

Reconstituted Turquoise

“Reconstituted” turquoise consists of small pieces of turquoise chalk powder mixed with dye and plastic binder. This type of turquoise is sometimes referred to as “block.” Fake turquoise is also often labeled “reconstituted.”

Stabilized Turquoise

“Stabilized” turquoise has been treated with a plastic resin to make it harder. Stabilization allows genuine, but lower-grade turquoise, to be used in jewelry making. Even when a stone has been stabilized, its color can change over time by human oils, soap and skin lotion.

Wax-treated Turquoise

Wax is sometimes used, instead of plastic resin, to stabilize turquoise. Chinese turquoise is often wax impregnated. The wax typically only effects the surface of the stone.

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