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Cleaning & Caring: Turquoise
Natural Turquoise is a porous stone so please treat with care
Natural Turquoise is a phosphate mineral with a MOHS hardness which ranges from 4.5 to 6 and as such is easily damaged by hair and body cosmetics, even the oils from the skin can damage the stones surface. To protect your turquoise, it is recommended you put your jewellery on after applying makeup, sunscreen or perfume, and never wear it in the shower, bath or swimming pool
Heat and sunlight can cause Natural Turquoise to discolour or dehydrate. This is not a stone to be worn on a day at the beach.
Natural turquoise has no artificial changes made to the gem. It is just cut and polished. Only high-quality turquoise can be used in its natural state. As you will see, most of what is sold as Turquoise may not be natural or even Turquoise.
The colour of the stone may change gradually as body oils and other sources of moisture are absorbed into the stones, creating a lovely patina.
The colour of natural Turquoise can range from a vibrant blue to a green to brownish green with the webbing being black, brown, yellow or a host of other colours.
Stabilized or Enhanced Turquoise?
Most of the Turquoise found on today’s market has been treated or enhanced in some way which makes the stone more readily available to a wider customer base, otherwise it would generally be too expensive for most shoppers.
Stabilized Turquoise has an epoxy resin or similar infused into the pores of the stone. It’s no longer porous after treatment and will no longer discolour.
Stabilization allows the use of poorer-quality Turquoise that might otherwise not be suitable for jewellery.
Some dealers provide Turquoise in varying colours to the jewellery industry but be aware that much of this Turquoise has been dyed or manipulated in other ways or may not be Turquoise at all.
It is thought that approximately 90% of Turquoise on the market today is actually dyed Howlite or Magnesite. Howlite is an absorbent white mineral that can be dyed in almost any colour imaginable. It has a natural webbing or matrix which is almost identical to the webbing in natural Turquoise. Since this webbing is basically impossible to manufacture it is easier to use an existing mineral that has the same properties. Magnesite is another soft, porous stone with similar natural veining to that of Turquoise. Magnesite can be found in a small variety of colours naturally but is mostly a milky white colour. The porousness of this stone makes it ideal for taking on dyes to imitate Turquoise.
There is nothing wrong with this if the customer is aware of what they are getting. Like all things with gemstones and fraudsters, it is far more profitable to sell something that looks like Turquoise than the actual stone.
Howlite is a softer stone with a MOHS hardness of about 3.5 while Magnesite ranges from 3.5 – 4.5 and this is one way to distinguish the difference from Turquoise. Another way is to see if the stone has been dyed by wiping a small section with a cotton bud dipped in nail polish remover.
Even though it is disappointing if you find that you have been duped, both Howlite and Magnesite have interesting Metaphysical Properties.
Storage & Cleaning
Store your natural turquoise in a dark place away from harder stones or settings which may damage the stone. Keep turquoise away from high heat and chemicals such as oils, perfumes, and household cleaners. Even stabilized turquoise can be affected by a constant bombardment of chemicals.
Clean your turquoise in warm water with the addition of a gentle soap if needed. Do not leave it to soak in water and dry it immediately with a soft cloth. Turquoise is a porous gemstone that absorbs liquid.
Avoid using commercial jewellery cleaning liquids and never use steam or ultrasonic cleaners.