Real Turquoise Jewelry

How to identify if it is fake or real.

Once Only

Finding these beads is a unique moment in time. Once I sell my vintage turquoise at low cost they are gone forever.

Validating What is Real Turquoise and What is Fake Turquoise

I’ve been showing new turquoise assemblages this week. The turquoise is vintage and old. When I found the pieces in a collector’s garage it was a eureka moment.  And, I have been asked to validate if the turquoise is real.

Turquoise, much like opals, are soft and unstable. Like opals, turquoise can be stabilized with a bonding agent, composited and enhanced in a number of ways and sold at high prices. 

Growing up in New Mexico, I was blessed to receive gifts of turquoise as a child. It is also my birth stone. When I graduated from high school I was gifted two large Indian bracelets and one large ring made in silver and turquoise. The pieces and turquoise in the bracelets are at least 50 years old. In looking at them closely, I see variations in color and in one some yellowing from the epoxy used to stabilize it. I’m not a huge fan of the ornate metal work even though it is authentic in it’s first nation design. I like one bracelet made by my father and one I made when I was 15 years old casted out of volcanic tufa sourced here near Santa Fe.


Turquoise Mummy Beads

Turquoise from other continents was frowned upon when I was growing up in Santa Fe. When people ask if I know where my turquoise comes from in my jewelry work. When I say “This piece of turquoise is from China.”. I see a negative reaction. The GIA fact sheet notes ancient turquoise. I’ve seen turquoise mummy beads from Egypt and China and other works in beautiful turquoise.

Here is the truth.

Mines, like the Bisbee mine in New Mexico is stripped. You can’t mine for turquoise in the USA unless you own a mine. Resources from the ground are gone.

Look at old New Mexico turquoise. You might not like the color, treatment or epoxy used. It might look too blue or too yellow even though it is REAL. 

Green turquoise and robin egg blue turquoise are two of my favorites. Thick pieces of turquoise are highly valuable but hard to wear. The turquoise squash blossom I received from my Grandmother is difficult to wear due to it’s weight. Earrings are the same. They can bee great pieces of turquoise but too difficult to wear.

Stephanie West

Author: Stephanie West

Art can be contagious, like laughter or singing. When viewing art you can feeling it almost without thought. Encouragement is the greatest gift someone can give to an idea. It can arrive in may forms: self inspired; with a purchase; or spoken to someone else. I hope beauty surrounds you.