Friday, April 4, 2008


For several years now we have been seeing new kinds of turquoise, or is it turquoise? Chalk turquoise, white turquoise, yellow turquoise and more. Now you even see "white turquoise" referred to also as magnesite, which is what it really is.

When I use any of these not really turquoises, I indicate what they are, by saying turquoise, (stabilized, dyed etc. ) But really it should be reading in a lot of cases as magnesite, (dyed, stabilized) and not turquoise at all. Here are two links, one defining magnesite, and one a good explanation of turquoise and its matrices:, It doesn't appear that it is even a type of matrix for turquoise.

Here's a good summary of the situation. Look under Turquoise:

When looking at a lot of the "turquoise" in Tucson this year I began to wonder how I could even tell if a strand was stabilized turquoise or chalk turquoise on the fly. A lot of chalk turquoise has inclusions that really look like real turquoise. In many cases I could recognize what I have come to know as typical webbing patterns of magnesite in the strands, thus indicating what it was, but in many cases I just didn't know for sure. It looks like they are indeed using a matrix of turquoise that just doesn't have the turquoise color so they dye and stabilize it. And when you break one that you know is chalk turquoise, the color goes all through the bead. It sure seems that there is a lot more chalk turquoise out there next to the stabilized turquoise. What do you consider chalk turquoise to be? There are differing definitions.

What are your feelings on this? What do you do for labeling when you use these materials?

1 comment:

Dave Robertson said...

Hi, Deerwoman,

Thanks for quoting approvingly from our Gemstone Beads Index. We've put a lot of work into it, and we keep adding to it. If you don't mind me mentioning, people can receive frequent updates straight from the Index by using these "feeds":




We really appreciate your putting out the word about turquoise. Knowledge is power!

Take care,

--Dave Robertson
at Rings & Things


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