Turquoise Treatments and SyntheticsTurquoise Treatments and Synthetics

Turquoise Specialist Mini Course

Turquoise Treatments and Synthetics

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stabilized turquoise doublet  - turquoise treatments
Heart-shaped, 49-ct cabochon doublet, cut from stabilized turquoise rough from Kingman, Arizona. © 49erMinerals. Used with permission.

Why Do Turquoises Need Treatments?

Turquoise is one of the few gems that form via a sedimentary process. Instead of developing as a single crystal squeezed into shape by immense pressure and heat, turquoise grows as an aggregate gem made of many individual cryptocrystalline pieces cemented together gently at the Earth’s surface. This results in a loose internal structure. Although specific turquoise stones may vary, most have a high degree of porosity, which makes them crumbly and susceptible to scratches and other damage.

This same porosity also allows turquoise to take color and durability-boosting treatments readily and with great success. There are many types of turquoise treatments — for strengthening the gem, sealing microscopic openings on the surface, and improving color and polish. Some researchers estimate that up to 98% of the turquoise on the market today have undergone such procedures.

Types of Turquoise Treatments

Impregnation Treatments

Almost all but the finest turquoise receives impregnation treatment (also called stabilization). In this procedure, turquoise is immersed in a substance to improve its durability and color. Sealing the turquoise’s surface

Emily Frontiere

Emily Frontiere is a GIA Graduate Gemologist. She is particularly experienced working with estate/antique jewelry.

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