Identifying Genuine Turquoise: A Comprehensive Guide

Turquoise is a captivating gemstone, but purchasing authentic turquoise rather than imitations or treated stones is essential. Here is a necessary guide on what turquoise meaning and to help you identify genuine turquoise.

In This Article

  1. Exploring the Symbolism of This Captivating Gemstone
  2. Varieties of Green Turquoise
  3. Grading of Green Turquoise
  4. Discerning Genuine Turquoise and In-depth Knowledge
  5. Popular Turquoise Jewelry and How to Distinguish Authenticity
  6. Conclusion

Exploring the Symbolism of This Captivating Gemstone

Turquoise meaning encompasses a rich tapestry of symbolism. Across cultures and traditions, turquoise is famous for its protective properties and healing energies. In spiritual practices, it serves as a conduit for connecting with inner wisdom and fostering spiritual growth. The turquoise meaning extends beyond mere adornment; it represents clarity of communication and expression, encouraging honesty and creativity. Moreover, Turquoise can instill strength, courage, and emotional balance, whether worn as jewelry or as a meditation aid. Embracing the turquoise meaning invites harmony into one’s life, fostering a deeper connection with oneself and the world around us.

Varieties of Green Turquoise

Moreover, Green turquoise, named for its resemblance to pine cones and its proximity to pine green, is also known as “pine stone.” It is a hydrated copper aluminum phosphate mineral with colors ranging from sky blue, light blue, blue-green, green, and blue-tinted pale white. It is produce primarily in the United States, Iran, Egypt, China, and Australia.

Iron Line Green Turquoise: Iron line green turquoise refers to turquoise with fine black iron-colored floral lines on its surface.

Iron Line Green Turquoise                          Porcelain Turquoise

Porcelain Turquoise: Porcelain turquoise is sky blue in color and has a dense and tough texture. After breaking, the fracture surface resembles porcelain and exhibits exceptional brightness.

In addition, Surface Green Turquoise: Surface green turquoise refers to turquoise with a less firm texture, a granular fracture surface, and a lower hardness, which can be scratched with fingernails.

Surface Green Turquoise                                Foamy Turquoise

Foamy Turquoise: Foamy turquoise is softer than surface turquoise and is considered inferior. It cannot be used as a carving material.Surface Green Turquoise

These varieties of green turquoise are commonly found in the market. Porcelain turquoise is highly favored for its excellent texture and high luster, and it is widely used in the production of jewelry and crafts. Although iron line green turquoise has fine black lines on its surface, it also possesses a unique beauty and is suitable for jewelry design and processing. Surface green turquoise and foamy turquoise are generally considered inferior and have limited uses.

Grading of Green Turquoise

The value of green turquoise is determined by factors such as color, iron lines, and texture. In addition, the bluer the color, the fewer the iron lines; the denser the texture, the higher the value. Green turquoise is categorized into four grades based on quality:

Grade One (Persian Grade):

This grade is further subdivided into three categories. First, Persian turquoise is characterized by its blue color, uniform hue, slight transparency, and glassy surface. It is primarily sourced from the United States, Hubei Province in China, and Iran. Second, there is Persian spiderweb turquoise, which exhibits spiderweb-like patterns on its surface. Lastly, there is the Persian iron line turquoise, which contains iron lines within the turquoise base.

Grade Two (American Grade):

The turquoise in this grade has a lighter color, appearing in a light blue shade and is opaque. It has a darker luster and overall lacks the vividness and brightness seen in higher grades.

Grade Three (Egyptian Grade):

This grade presents turquoise with a blue-green or green-blue color, with dark blue patches on a light-colored base. The texture is porous, with multiple iron lines, resulting in inferior quality.

Grade Four (Afghan Grade):

Turquoise in this grade exhibits light to dark yellow-green coloration, with numerous iron lines and inferior quality.

Discerning Genuine Turquoise and In-depth Knowledge

The distinction between authentic and counterfeit green turquoise is essential for buyers and collectors. Here, we delve into the intricate details to aid in this process:

Moreover, the saying that there is absolutely no “dying, glue filling (also called glue injection), or artificial turquoise” only means no such different processing methods. Still, it does not mean that the turquoise has not been treated! Any optimized treatment of turquoise is like the B of jade. For goods, the national stone test will mark “processing.” Special note: Although wax dipping is a traditional craft, the national appraisal standard defines “wax dipping turquoise” as “processing” and is not classified as “optimization.”

glue filling

wax dipping

To aid in the selection of turquoise, here is a list of common knowledge for identifying “untreated” turquoise:

The highest value:
A. Generally, the highest value, turquoise, is blue. Turquoise with unique patterns and colors, such as pictograms, is also highly sought.
There is a saying in the international market that one gram of turquoise equals one gram of gold, referring to the highly high-quality “blue porcelain turquoise” priced equivalently with gold.
B. The best quality turquoise has a glossy appearance similar to porcelain. (In some turquoise mining areas, turquoise with higher silica content or more complex texture appears brighter and more complex.)
C. Untreated natural turquoise without any optimization treatment holds the highest collectible value.

Optimization treatment methods:

A. Due to the loose texture and frequent coexistence of multiple minerals in turquoise, it is prone to damage during processing. Additionally, surface irregularities are typical after processing. Therefore, optimization treatment has become a standard manufacturing procedure for increasing production. Consequently, untreated natural turquoise is rarely seen in the market.
B. Among optimized products, “wax immersion” is considere relatively valuable (as it is a traditional craft recognized by many enthusiasts). Next is the optimization through “resin immersion” (filling method), followed by resin injection (filling method) and dyeing. (There are also cases of using phosphorite to impersonate turquoise.)

Methods for identifying optimization treatment without detection equipment:

A. Water test: Generally, turquoise apply for inlay is polished on the front side while the back side is left unpolished. You can dip the turquoise in clear water; untreated turquoise will immediately absorb water, wax-immersed and resin-immersed turquoise will absorb water slowly, and resin-injected turquoise will not absorb water. When untreated turquoise is placed in water, the color will darken, whereas treated turquoise will remain unchanged. Therefore, untreated turquoise is highly sensitive to changes in weather: it will darken on rainy or cloudy days and lighten on dry and sunny days. Additionally, turquoise acquired in the southern region will have a darker color than that obtained in the northern region. The color will deepen during the rainy season compared to the dry season and will deepen with prolonged wear.

Untreated Turquoise

Untreated Turquoise

B. Visual inspection: Untreated turquoise often has an uneven surface (especially if there are many patterns, while the surface of treated turquoise is very smooth). (Many people prefer a shiny surface without imperfections, but most very soft surfaces, especially those with patterns, have been treated.)
Untreated turquoise—ceramic luster (the back side of turquoise used for inlay is in its original state without polishing, hence lacks luster); wax-immersed—waxy luster; resin-immersed—resinous luster (especially for turquoise used for inlay, the unpolished back side has a noticeable resinous luster); resin-injected—darkening, poor luster (for turquoise apply for inlay, the unpolished back side has a wholly solidified resin luster).

Identify according to different characteristics

Different characteristics: Over time, treated turquoise will become darker with touch but will not be easily broken. On the other hand, untreated turquoise will become glossier and brighter with prolonged touch.
Untreated turquoise is expensive but preserves value well (prices continue to rise this year), has good luster, and becomes brighter with prolonged wear.
Treated turquoise: Inexpensive, not easily broken, but poor luster, and becomes less lustrous with prolonged wear. Apart from wax-immersed turquoise, other optimized turquoise treatments have little collectible value due to their low prices and are more suitable for processing into ornaments.

Popular Turquoise Jewelry and How to Distinguish Authenticity

Black Turquoise Bracelets: A Unique Statement

Black turquoise bracelets showcase the mesmerizing beauty of black matrix turquoise, characterized by its deep black or dark gray matrix intermingled with veins of turquoise. These bracelets exude an air of mystery and sophistication, making them ideal for those who appreciate distinctive and unconventional jewelry pieces. The contrast between the dark matrix and the vibrant turquoise creates a striking visual effect, making black turquoise bracelets a standout accessory for both casual and formal occasions.

Green Turquoise Bracelets: Timeless Elegance

Traditional green turquoise bracelets feature the classic beauty of turquoise gemstones, renowned for their stunning blue and green hues. These bracelets may showcase turquoise in its pure form or complement the gemstones with intricate silver or gold settings. Traditional turquoise bracelets exude a sense of timeless elegance and charm, making them a versatile accessory that can effortlessly elevate any ensemble. Whether worn alone or layered with other bracelets, traditional turquoise bracelets add a pop of color and sophistication to any look.

Identifying Authentic Turquoise

Color and Matrix: Genuine turquoise exhibits vibrant hues of blue and green with minimal matrix or veining. Be wary of stones with overly uniform colors or unnatural shades, as they may be dyed or treated to enhance their appearance.

Moreover, Texture and Luster: Authentic turquoise has a smooth, waxy texture and a moderate to high luster. Avoid stones that appear overly glossy or have a plastic-like sheen, as these characteristics may indicate treatment with resin or other substances.

Inclusions and Imperfections: Look for natural inclusions and imperfections within the stone, such as small fissures or surface irregularities. These features are typical of untreated turquoise and can help authenticate its natural origin.


In conclusion, identifying genuine turquoise requires a combination of knowledge, observation, and appreciation for this captivating gemstone. By understanding its symbolism, exploring its varieties, and discerning its authenticity, you can confidently enjoy the beauty and significance of turquoise in all its forms.

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