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A Beginner’s Guide to Buying Turquoise Jewelry

by Shari Berg 18 Jan 2023
A Beginner’s Guide to Buying Turquoise Jewelry

Are you thinking about buying turquoise jewelry for your collection? Whether you’re a first-time buyer or a seasoned fine fashion jewelry collector, there are a few things to keep in mind when shopping for this eye-catching gemstone.

The most important lesson is learning to tell the difference between cheap imitations and the real thing. When you buy your turquoise jewelry from a reputable Albuquerque jewelry store like Harris Jewelers, you never have to worry about getting duped.

There’s more to know about this gemstone if you want to add it to your fine fashion jewelry collection.

What are the different types of turquoise jewelry?

One of the reasons that turquoise is so popular is because it comes in a variety of colors, ranging from light blue to dark green. The most sought-after hue is a deep blue, sometimes called “robin’s egg turquoise.”

Some of the other popular colors include green, orange and yellow. (Yes, turquoise comes in other colors besides blue!)

Another bonus of buying turquoise jewelry from an Albuquerque jewelry store is you can choose from different shapes—beads, cabochons, inlays—for bracelets, earrings, necklaces, and rings. Cabochons is the most popular shape. It’s a smooth, rounded stone that looks stunning in just about any piece of fine fashion jewelry.

turquoise jewelry collection earrings with oval center stones set in sterling silver

When did turquoise jewelry become popular?

Turquoise jewelry is one of the most recognizable gemstones. During the late Victorian era, you could find it in brooches, earrings, and rings.

In the 20th century, it rose to fame in the U.S. between 1950 through the 1970s as part of a Native American jewelry revival. However, it has serious staying power and remains among the most popular gemstones available today.

Its popularity in New Mexico is tied to the legacy of the Native American culture. Believed to be the happiest stone, all native peoples used it in both jewelry and for ritual purposes. Turquoise represents the water and the sky, bountiful harvests, health, and protection among Native peoples.

fake turquoise jewelry bracelet has cracked stones in the middle

How can you tell if turquoise jewelry is good quality?

One of the materials used to imitate turquoise is called howlite. It’s a borate mineral that’s deposited into rocks when water evaporates. It can be difficult for the untrained eye to tell the difference between howlite and genuine turquoise.

A good way to test is by scratching the gemstone (preferably on the underside where you can’t see it). Turquoise is a naturally soft gemstone. However, howlite is even softer and scratches easily. If the stone you have fails the scratch test, it’s likely imitation turquoise.

Two other ways you can tell if your turquoise jewelry is good quality include:

  • Fake turquoise is often dyed to look like the real deal, which can make it difficult to tell. If you look closely at the piece, you can probably see where the dye piles up in the cracks of the stone. Sometimes you can feel the cracks but not see them.
  • Genuine turquoise is expensive (and well worth it) because it’s so rare. That $25 necklace you found online is most likely expertly painted plastic dressed up to resemble the real thing.

Which jewelry stores in Albuquerque carry turquoise jewelry?

Most Albuquerque jewelry stores carry turquoise pieces in their collections. Harris Jewelers stocks a selection in our showroom. Stop by and ask to see what’s available.

You also have the option of talking with our master jeweler about creating a custom design piece of jewelry that features this timeless gemstone.

A sonic jewelry cleaner should never be used on turquoise jewelry

Caring for your turquoise jewelry

Turquoise jewelry can be worn daily if you commit to taking care of it in between. Some tips that can keep your turquoise jewelry looking its best for years to come include:

  • Avoid wearing it while cleaning, exercising, or gardening because it’s a soft stone that can easily get damaged by these activities.
  • Clean it with a mild detergent and warm water solution only. Never use ultrasonic cleaners because they can crack and pit the soft stone.
  • Keep it away from other tough gemstones like diamonds, which can scratch the surface of turquoise.
  • Wrap your turquoise jewelry in a soft cloth and store it in a cool place when not wearing it.

Spice up your collection with turquoise jewelry

Ready to spice up your fine fashion jewelry collection with a turquoise piece or two? Stop by our showroom to explore your options. We’re proud to be an Albuquerque jewelry store that features the rich history of Native American culture by offering genuine turquoise pieces.

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