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Turquoise Tips

Turquoise popularity is on the rise, and they're quickly becoming one of the hottest emerging trends in designer and fashion jewelry -- gemstone beaded jewelry. Available in a unique variety of blues and greens, as well as intricate and interesting matrix patterns, it's very safe to say that no two turquoise gems are the same. Shopping for beaded gemstones should be no different than shopping for faceted gems. That's why we encourage consumers to be cautious when purchasing colored gems for anything more than a simple souvenir. When purchasing gems for jewelry and / or investment, one can never be too informed or knowledgeable on the subject of gem buying.

The following are some helpful tips when selecting gemstone beads for your handmade beaded jewelry:

1. Purchase and use the best quality gemstones for your beaded jewelry. When gems are beaded, they are more susceptible to come into contact with one another, which means more opportunities for dings, scratches and cracks to occur. By choosing high quality gemstone beads, your jewelry will last much longer.

2. Check and confirm that the cracks in your beaded gems are not darker than the gem body color. If they are, this is typically a clear indication that the gemstone was dyed to enhance the color.

3. Check gemstone beads for cracks and chips near the drilled hole. Chips and cracks near the drilled hole will likely cut and wear into the thread holding your beaded gems together.

4. For a uniform look, hand-select your beads and choose ones that are evenly shaped and with great color. Uneven shaped beads may end up affecting the way the your strand will hang loosely.

5. Look for gemstone beads with larger than average size drilled holes, within reason of course. If the drilled holes are larger, you'll be able to use a thicker, stronger and more durable thread, ensuring your beaded jewelry will last you for many years to come.

Many people tend to believe that only the most expensive of gems are synthesized or simulated, but unfortunately, this isn't necessarily true. Even though turquoise is not considered to be a high-end gem, its value is still greater than many materials used for simulation. In addition, wherever there is consumer demand, there will always be unauthentic copy-cat imitations lurking in the background.

At GemSelect, we believe that it is absolutely paramount to establish good relations with your vendors, and as a vendor, we believe in order to sustain long term relationships, they must be built on trust, honesty and integrity. For this reason, GemSelect discloses any and all gemstone treatments / enhancements made to our gems to the best of our knowledge.

Some of the frequent enhancements made to turquoise gems are:

1. Prized turquoise gems from the Sleeping Beauty Mines of Arizona have earned a reputation of being some of the best turquoise gemstones available. These special gems possess a vivid Persian-blue color like no other, but many of these gems may be enhanced by a patented stabilizing process known as the Zachery process. This enhancement makes turquoise denser in order to enhance the gem's color and reduce the level of porosity. Turquoise gems enhanced by this patented process are described on GIA reports as being 'Impregnated Natural Turquoise'.

2. Stabilized turquoise is enhanced by an age-old old method, using pressure and hot resin to enhance turquoise color and hardness. Typically, either tints or dyes are infused along with hot polymer resin to enhance the color of lower grade turquoise gems. Most color treatments are extremely hard to detect and prove, so it is best to simply assume that the color has been enhanced unless otherwise specified.

3. Very similar to the Zachery process, the Eljen process is a hardening enhancement made to turquoise gems. This method leaves only a faint trace of polymer resin behind, but without the addition of any tints or dyes being used. These are described as 'Impregnated Natural Turquoise' and 'Showing No Evidence of Dye' on GIA lab reports.

4. Chalk Turquoise is stabilized and dyed turquoise, but not naturally blue color like common turquoise. It is actually a porous, white turquoise originating from China. This type of turquoise has a chalky white consistency and can also have intriguing matrix patterns too. The reason why this turquoise has a white body tone is that its internal composition lacks copper, which gives standard turquoise its natural intense blue color.

5. Lastly, imitation turquoise can come in the form of colored quartz, jasper, porous magnesite, howlite and dolomite marble (sometimes referred to as 'mountain jade'). There are many trade names being used for imitation turquoise and almost all of them reference the very term 'turquoise', which is why it can be a bit deceiving. For this reason, be weary of anything called 'African Turquoise', 'White Turquoise', 'Tibetan Turquoise' or 'Yellow Turquoise'. These aforementioned varieties are more than likely not composed of natural turquoise, but rather, an inferior material, wannabe turquoise.

So before buying turquoise gemstone beads for your next beaded design, be sure to ask your Gems Dealer outright if any enhancements were made to the gemstones you're interested in and do keep in mind our helpful tips detailed above.