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Turquoise Terms & Definitions

Here are a few terms and their definitions that may help in understanding the various processes:

Natural Turquoise means a stone with no alteration to its original state. Such stones are merely polished and cut into shapes before being made into jewelry. Natural turquoise remains porous, as all natural stone is to varying degrees, and may tend to change color over time as it is worn and handled, absorbing ones natural body oils.

Stabilized Turquoise means that the natural material as it comes from the ground has been chemically altered to harden the stone, usually by infusing an epoxy or similar chemical into the porous surface of the stone. The stabilization process serves to maintain or sometimes darken the color of the stone so it will not change. Generally the color remains natural in this process.

Color Treated Turquoise means that the natural material, as it comes from the ground, is usually too soft and pale to be of any commercial use. It is then altered in similar ways as the stabilized product, but a blue dye is also added to the mix. Treated turquoise is best recognized by its transparent plastic appearance. It looks unnatural because it looks too blue and too highly polished.

Reconstructed Turquoise is the name used for turquoise dust and chips that are mixed with plastic resins and dye and compressed into a solid block so as to resemble natural turquoise.

Simulated or Imitation Turquoise is not really turquoise. This material is pure plastic which has been colored with blue dye. It contains absolutely no actual turquoise whatsoever. Pieces of rocks, sand, pyrite and black dye are often added to the formula to imitate matrix.

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