Turquoise, NOT Turquoise

One of the most common forgeries I have come across is that of misidentified Turquoise. True Turquoise colors include a bright blue, sky-blue, pale green, blue-green, turquoise-blue, apple green, green-gray. Many may have streaks of pale greenish blue to white. Watch carefully for the wording a vendor uses. For instance Turquentine is the name given to Howlite that has been dyed. Turquenite is made from Howlite crushed to powder, with blue dye and resin added then compacted and polished.

Dyed Howlite, not turquoise

In a batch of stones I recently purchased, with Turquoise being one of the pieces listed in the batch, I was dismayed to find that it was not Turquoise at all. Instead, it was dyed Howlite. This was easy to see as the streaks were most decidedly gray to black, not greenish blue to white.

Another example of false Turquoise was at a gem fair I attended. I purchased several pendants from a vendor at the show. He correctly identified the pieces as I picked them up until it came to the Turquoise ones. He called it Turquoise due to the pendant being a Turquoise color, but it was most decidedly NOT Turquoise. The color was not even, it had patches of white and silvery/gold. When I pointed this out to him, he changed his mind and said it was a denim Lapis Lazuli. Curious, I purchased one. My fool proof test of this piece would tell me what it REALLY was.

Dyed Howlite pendant, NOT Turquoise

Upon returning home, I wrapped the piece in a towel and tapped it with a hammer. The result of the tapping test can be seen here. Yes, you guessed it!! This is Howlite that has been dyed. You can even see where the dye job has started to bleed in. It looks more like an M & M doesn’t it with its candy coated outer shell?

This is where education is your friend. For instance, if you see a piece in which the color has unnatural splotches or is too evenly distributed and you may suspect it is a fraud, simply ask more questions. Point out the color distribution and point blank ask if it is dyed or enhanced. As always, just be discerning. In the end, your intuition will be your guide.

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