Is the Turquoise in the Heishi Necklaces Real?

Hi Paula,

I received my package today. Thank you for such a careful and professional packing, fast delivery and beautiful necklace. I do have a question. Is the tourquoise stablized and dyed or stablized but real? Is it chalk tourquoise? I am sure I will wear it to death because it is what I wanted and the price is excellent. I am just curious. Please let me know. Thanks. Shelly


Hi Shelly.

Most of your questions are answered here in an article where I try to describe all the forms of turquoise – All About Turquoise.

Most heishi turquoise is stabilized because if it wasn’t, it would be brittle and could crack. Also, when natural turquoise comes in contact with skin oils of the neck area, it would become discolored. So stabilization helps prevent that too. Some turquoise heishi is enhanced which further strengthens it and could make its color more vivid. You’ll read about these terms in that article.

When you say chalk turquoise, are you referring to “block turquoise”?  Block turquoise is a manufactured composite product, with little if any real turquoise in it. No, the turquoise heishi necklaces are not block turquoise. Most are stabilized real turquoise, some are also enhanced.


10 thoughts on “Is the Turquoise in the Heishi Necklaces Real?

  1. For several years one large bead seller erroneously described “chalk turquoise” as “Chalk turquoise is a form of natural turquoise that has a white chalk-like consistency. It has the same chemical composition as turquoise, only without the copper (it’s the copper that causes the turquoise color). The chalk is then dyed and stabilized to produce a material that’s hard enough to use in jewelry with a pleasing turquoise color.”

    Of course turquoise is a copper based stone so this description is wrong. I think this seller used the term “chalk turquoise” to refer to dyed magnesite. Magnesite is a Magnesium carbonate and not related to turquoise in any way.

    I agree that the necklace pictured above looks like real turquoise stabilized with clear (no dye) resin.

  2. Hi everybody

    What Paula says is right all turquoise has to be stabilized as the stone is soft and brittle. stabilizing is accepted and does not interfere with the cost.

    Enhancement though is a different story because if the stone is actually dyed than it is no longer natural. You have to find out what kind of enhancement has been done.

    The same with Onyx it is hard to find an Onyx that has not been dyed. Very few Sapphires are natural they have been treated in some way. Premium is now paid for natural untreated stones of any sort.

    But remember the natural is never as pretty as the treated stones so throw the dice natural of pretty

    Take care

  3. Glad to add to your knowledge! There is a lot to know about turquoise. (And a lot of misinformation spread by some sellers.)

    Turquoise miners often call soft natural pale turquoise “chalk turquoise” because of the chalky look before it is stabilized. That’s a valid use for the term. I’ll share a picture of natural Competos chalk turquoise from Sonora, Mexico surrounded by stabilized nuggets from the same mine from my Flickr page.
    Natural and Stabalized Sonoran Turquoise

    The blue nuggets around the rough have been stabilized in clear resin. In a few cases the resin did not penetrate to the center of the nugget leaving the center very pale like the large piece.

      • Yes, softer, pale stone is produced by many mines. Unless you deal with rough stone dealers or miners we usually don’t see it until it is stabilized and cut into cabs or tumbled into nuggets. Most mines produce a range of quality, from hard, natural high grade to softer, paler stone that must be stabilized to use. I just happen to have examples from Competos because I buy directly from the mine owner. My Flicker page includes strands of stabilized “waterweb” nuggets from that mine.

        Much of the Competos stone has pyrite inclusions in it. They are visible in the big rough piece and in the smaller stabilized nuggets.

  4. Hi

    Clear resin does not hurt the stone in anyway and is accepted form of stabilization not effecting cost for resale if you so wish. or valuation

    Be careful of terms people are using and if you have a good trusted dealer stick with them. In fact keep a spare stone as a test stone.

  5. Great detailed and researched “lesson” for all readers. Really a Must See blog. Since my computer went down from Oct.2012 to modum replacement Feb 2013, I lost most of my links. Are we still connected? Best, Dara

    • HI Dara,
      I think we are connected here and on Facebook aren’t we? Nice to hear from you and thank you for the compliment on the blog info. If I didn’t have to work for a living, I’d do this full time, there is so much I want to write about !

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