Birthstones: December - Turquoise
December is lucky enough to have multiple birthstones - we focus on two. This article is the second and final for the month.
Arguably one of the most treasured gemstones through the years, turquoise has been worn by Pharaohs, carved by ancient Chinese artisans, cherished by native tribes across North America. There's no wonder why - it's even, intense medium blue mimics the brightest blues of nature and make it pop against all skin tones. Turquoise can be found in a variety of hues, tones, saturations and in a variety of wearable pieces - from earrings, to rings, to necklaces, to bracelets, to shoes, to belts, there is a piece of turquoise out there for everyone.
Shopping for Turquoise
Turquoise ranges from various shades of green to blue, but the most valuable turquoise is an even, intense medium blue. Turquoise is typically translucent to opaque, and often shows matrix between it's intense blue. This matrix is the rock that it grew around and with. This matrix can be black, brown, yellow or other combinations of colors. Black matrix is the most desired. When the matrix is finely webbed, it is called Spiderweb Turquoise, and is desired by many collectors.
The finer the matrix of turquoise, the harder and more durable it will be. Fine turquoise is also rare and beautiful, which drives it's price up. The more matrix that's in turquoise will make the gemstone more susceptible to breaking and less durable. This turquoise is often treated to improve color and make it more durable for wear.
Commercial turquoise can be impregnated with dye to saturate the gemstone with color and make less valuable rough, appear more valuable. There are no tell-tale signs that you can simply test to make sure your turquoise is natural or dyed (these tests must be done in a gem lab), so it's very important to buy turquoise (and other gemstones) through a trusted jeweler. If a price seems too good to be true - it likely is.
Caring for Turquoise
Turquoise is a porous material, meaning it can absorb what is surrounds it. It can darken with wear, because it will absorb the skins oils and moisture. That being said, natural turquoise should be kept away from any abrasive chemicals and solutions - including but not limited to perfume, lotions, metal polishes, cleaning products, etc.
If you feel the need to clean your turquoise, do so with warm water and a mild liquid detergent. Do not use an ultrasonic cleaner or steamer to clean your turquoise.