Turquoise comes in all shades of blue, to blue-green, with a possible shading towards brown-veined greens. It is the natural variations in turquoise that make it appealing. The color of turquoise in American Indian jewelry ranges from brownish green to bright blue.
Found in veins sandwiched in between layers of mother rock, the turquoise can show some of the influence of the mother rock in its matrix or veining. The matrix colors range from blue to golden brown to black and sometimes with golden flecks (sometimes called “fools gold” or iron pirite) which is very desirable.
Sometimes turquoise is cut so that it takes some of the mother rock with it. This is referred to as “Boulder Turquoise” and it is very popular as it shows great contrast between the turquoise and the surrounding rock with which it formed.
Not All Turquoise is Created Equal
If you are looking at two turquoise bracelets one at $30 and the other at $500, what is the difference? Well, there are many uses and misuses of the word turquoise.
Natural Turquoise is a stone that has not been altered in any way. It is the way it was found in nature. Natural Turquoise looks very real and beautiful but, over time, when exposed to light, sweat, perfume, makeup, oils and detergents, it can deteriorate (crumble) and lose its color or change color to a pale green. It can also lose its structural stability and crumble and crack. To deal with these problems, methods have been developed to preserve turquoise. Manufacturers and dealers use the following terms in a non-standard fashion, so if you are ever in doubt when purchasing a turquoise item, you should ask about the origin of the turquoise and its treatment.
Royston turquoise mine district (Nye County, Nevada) consists of several mines including Royston, Royal Blue, Oscar Wehrend and Bunker Hill. Discovered in 1902 it is the oldest patented mine in Nevada. Royston turquoise is known for its beautiful deep green to rich light blue colors in the same formation and the stones are often two-tone, displaying both dark and light green and sometimes blue. It has a heavy matrix ranging from dark brown to gold in color. Royston turquoise is considered very collectible.