Home Knowledges What Happens When Turquoise Gets Wet: A Comprehensive Guide

What Happens When Turquoise Gets Wet: A Comprehensive Guide

by Madonna

Turquoise, with its distinctive blue-green hues reminiscent of tranquil waters, has held a revered place in history and jewelry for centuries. This captivating gemstone, often associated with the Southwest and Native American cultures, carries a mystique that extends beyond its beauty. However, one question frequently arises in the minds of those who adore turquoise: What happens when turquoise gets wet? In this article, we delve into the world of turquoise, exploring its composition, reaction to moisture, and the guidelines for its care and preservation.

The charm of turquoise

Turquoise exudes an enchanting charm with its captivating blue-green hues reminiscent of serene waters. Beyond its aesthetic allure, this gemstone holds a rich history embedded in cultures across the globe. Symbolizing protection, wisdom, and tranquility, turquoise’s timeless charm resonates from ancient civilizations to modern jewelry. Its unique porous nature adds character, absorbing life’s experiences and evolving over time. Whether set in ornate jewelry or cherished for its raw beauty, turquoise’s charm lies not only in its vibrant colors but also in the stories it carries and the emotions it evokes.


What are the components of turquoise?

Turquoise is a hydrous phosphate mineral composed primarily of copper and aluminum. Its captivating blue and green hues result from the presence of copper ions within its crystal structure. The gem’s intricate lattice includes additional elements like phosphorus and water molecules, giving turquoise its distinct characteristics. These unique components contribute to its porous nature, allowing it to absorb liquids and potentially react to environmental factors. Turquoise’s composition not only defines its vibrant colors but also holds a key to its historical significance and cultural symbolism, making it a cherished gemstone across civilizations and time.


History of Turquoise

Turquoise’s history spans millennia, with origins in ancient civilizations. It was cherished by ancient Egyptians, used in jewelry and amulets. In Persia (modern-day Iran), turquoise was revered for its protective qualities. Native American cultures used turquoise for adornment, trade, and spiritual significance. It held a special place in Aztec and Maya cultures as well. Throughout history, turquoise adorned royalty, religious artifacts, and talismans. Its popularity surged during the Victorian era and the Art Nouveau movement. Today, turquoise continues to captivate as a symbol of cultural heritage, spirituality, and enduring beauty in jewelry and art worldwide.


What types of turquoise are there?

There are various types of turquoise, each with distinct characteristics, colors, and sources. Some notable types include:

1. Sleeping Beauty Turquoise:

Mined in Arizona, USA, this turquoise is known for its pure blue color and minimal matrix (host rock). It’s often used in contemporary jewelry for its vibrant hue.

See Also: The Sleeping Beauty Turquoise: Unraveling The Price

2. Persian Turquoise:

Hailing from Iran, this type features deep blue to green hues with intricate matrix patterns. It has been treasured for centuries and is associated with high quality.

3. Chinese Turquoise:

Found in China, it comes in various colors, including green, blue, and even matrix-free forms. Some Chinese turquoise has been dyed or treated to enhance its color.

4. Kingman Turquoise:

Mined in Arizona, it displays a range of blue and green colors with distinctive matrix patterns. Kingman turquoise is a popular choice in Native American jewelry.

5. Royston Turquoise:

Mined in Nevada, USA, it offers a range of colors from green to blue, often with a mix of brown matrix. It’s appreciated for its unique look.

The appearance and quality of turquoise can vary greatly even within the same type due to factors like mining location, treatment, and geological conditions. Collectors and enthusiasts value turquoise for its unique attributes and the stories it carries from its place of origin.

Turquoise and Water: A Delicate Balance

When it comes to turquoise and water, a delicate balance must be struck. Turquoise is naturally porous, which means that it can absorb liquids, including water, oils, and even perspiration from the skin. While this porosity is part of what gives turquoise its unique character, it also means that the gemstone is susceptible to certain reactions and alterations when exposed to moisture.

Reactions to Water: The Good and the Cautionary

When turquoise encounters water, a few things can happen:

1. Strengthening the Color:

In some cases, contact with water can actually enhance the color of turquoise, making it appear more vibrant and intense. This reaction is often temporary and occurs as the gemstone absorbs moisture.

2. Altering Color:

However, the interaction with water can also lead to changes in the gem’s color. Water can cause some turquoise to become paler, more translucent, or even develop a mottled appearance. This alteration is due to changes in the gem’s hydration level and light refraction properties.

3. Cracking and Damage:

The most significant concern when turquoise gets wet is the potential for cracking or damage. As the gem absorbs water, it can expand and contract, potentially leading to fractures or breakage, particularly if the stone has inherent weaknesses or structural imperfections.

4. Staining and Discoloration:

Turquoise’s porosity can also make it susceptible to staining from substances in the water, such as minerals or impurities. This can result in discoloration or a cloudy appearance.

How Much Does Turquoise Cost?

The cost of turquoise can vary widely based on factors like quality, type, size, color, and origin. Lower-quality turquoise can start at a few dollars per carat, while higher-quality and rarer specimens can range from $10 to $100 per carat or more. Exceptional pieces with unique colors, patterns, and historical significance can command even higher prices. Variations in market demand, treatment, and rarity influence turquoise’s value. Highly sought-after types like Sleeping Beauty turquoise may come with a premium due to their vibrant color and limited availability. Consulting reputable jewelers or gemstone experts is advisable for accurate pricing.

Is Turquoise Worth the Investment?

Investing in turquoise can be rewarding if approached with careful consideration. High-quality, untreated turquoise with vibrant color and minimal matrix tends to hold value better. Certain types, like Sleeping Beauty turquoise, have shown appreciation due to limited supply. Historical and culturally significant pieces also have collectible value. However, the turquoise market can be volatile, influenced by trends and supply fluctuations. While some pieces appreciate, others might not yield substantial returns. If investing, research, authentication, and consultation with experts are crucial. Ultimately, turquoise’s appeal often extends beyond investment potential, embracing its aesthetic beauty, cultural heritage, and personal connection.

See Also: Exploring the Uses and Significance of Turquoise Crystal

Caring for Your Turquoise: Guidelines for Preservation

To ensure the longevity and beauty of your turquoise jewelry, consider the following guidelines:

1. Avoid Prolonged Water Exposure:

While wearing turquoise in light rain or occasional contact with water is generally safe, it’s advisable to remove turquoise jewelry before activities involving prolonged water exposure, such as swimming or showering.

2. Dry Gently:

If your turquoise jewelry does get wet, gently pat it dry with a soft cloth. Avoid using excessive heat or direct sunlight to speed up the drying process, as this can further stress the gemstone.

3. Store Properly:

When not wearing turquoise jewelry, store it in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Use jewelry boxes or pouches to prevent contact with other harder gemstones or metals that could potentially scratch or damage the turquoise.

Preserving the Beauty and Heritage

While the interaction between turquoise and water presents some considerations, it’s important to remember that turquoise, when cared for properly, can maintain its beauty and charm for generations. The gemstone’s historical significance and cultural ties add to its allure, making it a cherished choice for jewelry and collectors alike.

In the world of gemstones, understanding the nature of each stone is key to preserving its beauty and integrity. Turquoise, with its distinct behavior around water, invites us to embrace its unique qualities and ensure that we enjoy its timeless appeal for years to come. Balancing its vulnerability with proper care allows us to continue adorning ourselves with the beauty of turquoise while respecting its delicate nature.


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