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Spotting Fake Turquoise: Techniques to Ensure Genuine Investment

How to Spot Fake Turquoise

Turquoise is a beautiful and versatile gemstone that has been used in jewelry and decorative pieces for centuries. Unfortunately, the demand for high-quality turquoise has led to the creation of many fake or imitation pieces that are often sold to unsuspecting buyers.

In this article, we will provide you with tips and techniques to help you identify fake turquoise. What is Fake Turquoise?

Fake turquoise is any material which is made to look like genuine turquoise but is not. The most common material used to make fake turquoise is an absorbent white mineral called howlite.

Howlite is a soft, porous mineral that can easily be dyed and molded into the shape of turquoise. The problem with buying howlite disguised as turquoise is that buyers do not know what they are getting.

It is imperative to have the knowledge to differentiate between real and fake turquoise.

Techniques to Identify Fake Turquoise

Price

One of the most common tell-tale signs of fake turquoise is the price point. If the price seems too good to be true, then it probably is.

Genuine turquoise is a valuable gemstone, and you can expect to pay a premium for high-quality pieces. Be wary of deals that seem too good to miss, or discounts that seem too steep.

For example, if you see a necklace that is supposedly made from genuine turquoise and the price is only $20, it is highly possible that the piece is not what it claims to be.

Overall Look or Appearance

One of the easiest ways to spot fake turquoise is by looking at its overall appearance. Real turquoise has a vibrant and distinctive color that cannot be replicated by imitation materials.

Take a good look at the stone and assess its brightness, texture, and overall quality. If the color is dull, the stone is too smooth or too shiny, or the texture is not right, it is most likely fake.

Fingernail Test

Test the hardness of the gemstone by scraping it lightly using your fingernail. Genuine turquoise is much harder than howlite, and therefore it should not get scratched easily.

If the stone flakes or scratches easily, it is a sign that it is fake.

Scratch Test

The scratch test involves using a sharp object such as a needle or a knife to try and scratch the stone. If the stone is easily scratched, then it is fake.

If it is genuine turquoise, it should be sufficiently hard enough to resist any scratches.

Color

Turquoise is a unique and alluring gemstone, which comes in varying shades of blue and green. Real turquoise has a distinctive shade that is never entirely uniform.

You can identify fake turquoise by assessing the uniformity of its color. If it appears too uniform or the shade is not right, then it is likely fake.

Fingernail Polish Test

The fingernail polish test involves applying a small amount of clear polish on the stone’s surface. If the stone has been dyed, the color will begin to run, and you will be able to see the white color of the howlite underneath it.

Example of Price difference

To further illustrate the differences in price between genuine and fake turquoise, consider the following example. A necklace made from genuine turquoise can cost anywhere from $80 to $100 or more.

In comparison, a similar necklace made from a fake or imitation material might only cost $20 or less. While the price differences between genuine and fake turquoise may not always be this significant, it is important to be aware of these discrepancies when making a purchase.

In conclusion, fake turquoise can be a waste of money, and so it is crucial to know how to identify the real from the fake. The techniques mentioned above provide a simple and effective way to differentiate between genuine and fake turquoise.

Remember to be wary of any deals that sound too good to be true and take your time to inspect the stone carefully. With the right knowledge, you can avoid being conned into buying fake turquoise and ensure that you are only investing in high-quality, genuine gems.

3)

Overall Look or Appearance

Another way to spot fake turquoise is by examining its overall look or appearance. Genuine turquoise has a unique appearance that cannot be replicated by imitation materials.

Here are a few tricks to help you identify fake turquoise by looking at its appearance.

Fingernail Trick

The fingernail trick is a technique that can be used to identify whether a piece of turquoise is fake or not. The trick involves using your fingernail to scratch the surface of the stone and feel its texture.

Genuine turquoise is hard and somewhat gritty, giving it a slight resistance when scratched. Fake turquoise made from howlite, on the other hand, is often smooth and uniform, and may even feel powdery when scratched.

Webbing Matrix

Another characteristic of genuine turquoise is the webbing matrix that is often visible in the stone. The webbing matrix is the pattern of veins or lines that run through the surface of the gemstone.

The matrix is one of the most recognizable features of natural turquoise, and no two stones are ever the same. When inspected closely, you can see tiny veins of different colors running through the stone.

In contrast, fake turquoise made of howlite, plastic, or resin often has a uniform color that doesn’t vary much throughout the stone.

Natural Turquoise

Natural turquoise is a rough stone that is often found in mines and quarries. When buying natural turquoise, it’s essential to understand what natural turquoise looks like.

Natural turquoise often has small imperfections, and the color is not always uniform. A genuine piece of natural turquoise should have lines and other features that resemble the natural patterns found in rocks and minerals.

The natural grooves, lines, and texture should be visible to the naked eye. 4)

Fingernail Test

The fingernail test can be an effective technique for identifying fake turquoise.

Here’s how to use the fingernail test:

Step 1: Obtain a small piece of rough natural turquoise that you can use for comparison. Step 2: Scratch the rough natural turquoise with your fingernail and observe how it feels.

Genuine turquoise should be hard and somewhat gritty, giving a slight resistance when scratched. Step 3: Scratch the stone you are trying to identify with your fingernail.

If the stone is made of howlite, plastic, or resin, it will often feel smooth and uniform or even feel powdery when scratched. A fake stone will be scratchable with your fingernail.

Step 4: You can also use the fingernail test to inspect the webbing matrix. If the surface of the stone is smooth or feels powdery, it is unlikely to have a natural webbing matrix.

Genuine turquoise on the other hand will usually have a distinctive webbing matrix. Step 5: As a final check, hold the stone up to a bright light source to see if the webbing matrix is evenly distributed.

If the stone is a fake, the webbing matrix might be printed on the surface rather than being present throughout the stone.

Conclusion

It is important to have the knowledge to differentiate between real and fake turquoise. By using these techniques, you can easily spot fake turquoise and avoid being fooled into buying fake gems.

Remember to be vigilant when making your purchases and follow the tips mentioned above to ensure you are getting your money’s worth. 5)

Scratch Test

The scratch test is an excellent technique for identifying fake turquoise.

A scratch test is done by using a sharp object to try and scratch the surface of the gemstone. The idea behind the scratch test is to check the hardness of the gemstone.

Here is how to use the scratch test:

Step 1: Obtain a small piece of rough natural turquoise that you can use for comparison. Step 2: Use a pointed object such as a needle or knife to try and scratch the surface of the stone.

If the stone is genuine turquoise, it should be reasonably hard and should not get scratched easily. Step 3: Compare the scratch test with natural turquoise.

If the scratch mark is shallow or not at all visible, it is genuine turquoise. If the mark is deep or easily visible, it is most likely fake.

Remember, howlite is a soft and porous mineral that can easily be dyed, making it a common choice for fake turquoise. So if the stone flakes or scratches easily, it is a sign that it is fake.

6)

Color

The color of genuine turquoise is an essential factor in identifying fake turquoise. The color of natural turquoise can vary, but generally, it is blue-green, sky blue, or greenish-blue due to the presence of copper, water, aluminum, and phosphorus.

One characteristic of natural turquoise is that the color of the stone is not entirely uniform, and you can see variations and changes in shade throughout the stone. Dyed howlite can also be used to make fake turquoise.

In many cases, the color of howlite is uniform and does not have the subtle variations present in natural turquoise. This uniform color is usually a telltale sign that the stone is fake.

Fingernail Polish Test

Another way to check the color of the stone is to use a fingernail polish test. This test involves applying acetone to a cotton ball and wiping it on the surface of the stone.

If the color wears off onto the cotton ball, then the stone is probably dyed. This test does not work well for natural turquoise, as the coloring of natural turquoise goes throughout the stone.

But it is still helpful to use this test to check for any uneven coloring or any artificial coloring on the surface that indicates a fake stone. If the area of color that comes off is a distinctive blue, it is a sign that the howlite has been dyed to resemble turquoise.

Conclusion

In conclusion, genuine turquoise is a valuable gemstone that deserves careful attention when purchasing. The techniques above are excellent ways to identify fake turquoise.

Look at the overall appearance, use the scratch test, pay attention to the color, and use the fingernail polish test. Remember, if the price seems too good to be true or if the color or appearance is too uniform, be wary, as these might be signs that you are looking at a fake gemstone.

By following these tips, you can ensure that you are only investing in high-quality, genuine gems. 7)

Conclusion

In conclusion, learning how to identify fake turquoise is essential when purchasing this precious gemstone. Familiarize yourself with the characteristics of genuine turquoise, such as its unique appearance, the webbing matrix pattern, the natural color shades, and its hardness level.

To recap, here are some quick tips to help you distinguish fake turquoise from genuine turquoise:

– Be wary of prices that seem too good to be true. Genuine turquoise is a valuable gemstone that is not cheap.

– Look out for stones that have an un-naturally uniform color. Genuine turquoise’s shade can vary, and the color changes throughout the stone.

– A fake stone scratches easily and may show visible scratch marks or flake quite easily. A genuine stone is harder and somewhat gritty.

– Use the fingernail polish test to check if the color of the stone rubs off easily. A genuine stone’s colors go throughout the stone, while if a stone flakes color off, it may have been artificially dyed.

By following these tips, you can ensure that you don’t fall victim to purchasing fake or imitation turquoise. It is always advisable to purchase from a reputable dealer who can guide you through the purchasing process and answer any questions you may have about the gemstone.

Remember, authentic turquoise is a beautiful gemstone that is worth the investment. With a little bit of knowledge and the proper observation techniques, you can distinguish fake turquoise from the real deal.

When in doubt, seek advice from gemologists or reputable jewelers. In summary, identifying fake turquoise requires close observation and an understanding of the distinguishing characteristics of genuine, natural turquoise.

Techniques such as examining the overall appearance, conducting the scratch test, and inspecting the piece for a webbing matrix pattern can help buyers distinguish between authentic and fake turquoise. Buyers are also advised to be wary of prices that seem too good to be true and use the fingernail polish test to verify the color of the stone.

By following these techniques and purchasing from reputable sources, you can ensure that you are investing in high-quality, genuine turquoise gems.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How do I tell if turquoise is authentic? A: Look for a genuine webbing matrix, variations in color, and a resistance to scratches when using the fingernail test.

Q: What is howlite, and how is it used to make fake turquoise? A: Howlite is a porous mineral that has a similar appearance and composition to turquoise, making it a common material used to make fake or imitation turquoise pieces.

Q: Can imitation turquoise still be valuable? A: While imitation turquoise may have some decorative value, it is not considered as precious or valuable as genuine, natural turquoise.

Q: Can turquoise be dyed? A: Yes, it is common for howlite, plastic, or resin to be dyed to resemble turquoise.

However, it is important to know that this can significantly lower the stone’s value. Q: Which tests are most effective at identifying fake turquoise?

A: The scratch test, fingernail polish test, and inspecting the stone’s overall appearance are all helpful techniques in determining if turquoise is genuine.

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