Home Knowledges Is Purple Turquoise Real: Separating Fact from Fiction

Is Purple Turquoise Real: Separating Fact from Fiction

by Madonna

Turquoise, a captivating gemstone known for its brilliant blue and green hues, has been cherished by civilizations for thousands of years. However, recently, a particular question has surfaced in the gemstone world: Is purple turquoise real? This article delves into the intricacies of turquoise and explores the authenticity and rarity of purple turquoise.

The Fascination with Turquoise

Turquoise, with its vibrant colors reminiscent of clear skies and cool waters, has held a special place in the hearts of jewelry enthusiasts, gem collectors, and cultural traditions around the world. Its use in adornments, art, and spiritual practices dates back to ancient times, with evidence of turquoise mining in locations like the Sinai Peninsula and Iran dating to over 5,000 years ago.


The allure of turquoise lies in its captivating color, which ranges from sky blue and robin’s egg blue to deep green and teal. This captivating gemstone is commonly associated with protection, good fortune, and healing properties across various cultures, making it a cherished gem.


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Turquoise Varieties

Turquoise is a hydrated phosphate mineral that primarily forms in arid regions with sufficient copper deposits. It’s the presence of copper that imbues turquoise with its signature blue and green colors, and it often contains other minerals and elements that can influence its appearance. As a result, various turquoise varieties exist:

1. Robin’s Egg Blue Turquoise

This variety of turquoise is known for its delicate, light blue color, often resembling the color of a robin’s egg. It’s highly sought after for its soothing and calming appearance.

2. Persian Turquoise

Sourced from Iran, Persian turquoise is renowned for its vivid and intense blue color. It is considered some of the finest quality turquoise in the world.

3. Sleeping Beauty Turquoise

Mined from the Sleeping Beauty Mine in Globe, Arizona, this turquoise is known for its vibrant, almost uniform blue color and minimal matrix or veining.

4. Chinese Turquoise

China is a notable source of turquoise, and Chinese turquoise is diverse in terms of color and matrix patterns. It often features intricate veining or webbing.

5. Matrix Turquoise

Matrix turquoise, as the name suggests, features a matrix or host rock that weaves through the turquoise, creating a unique pattern. The matrix can be brown, black, or various other colors.

The Quest for Purple Turquoise

The quest for purple turquoise has intrigued gem enthusiasts for years. The idea of turquoise taking on a regal purple hue is alluring, but it has also sparked debates about its authenticity. To understand the origins of purple turquoise, it’s important to explore the factors that contribute to its color.

Copper and Turquoise Coloration

Copper is a crucial component in turquoise, giving it the blue and green hues that are so highly prized. The varying shades of turquoise are a result of different copper content and the presence of other elements like iron and aluminum. In essence, the copper ions in turquoise are responsible for absorbing certain wavelengths of light, which results in its unique colors.

The idea of purple turquoise challenges this fundamental principle, as copper typically doesn’t yield purple hues. This raises questions about whether true purple turquoise exists or whether other factors are responsible for this unconventional coloration.

The Myth of Purple Turquoise

The idea of purple turquoise has been associated with myths and misconceptions within the gemstone industry. One common misconception is that purple turquoise is a naturally occurring variety of turquoise, similar to its blue and green counterparts. However, the reality is more nuanced.

1. Stabilized Turquoise

Many instances of “purple turquoise” are not a natural occurrence but are a product of treating blue or green turquoise to enhance or change its color. This process typically involves stabilizing the turquoise by impregnating it with resin and dye to achieve the desired hue.

2. Reconstituted Turquoise

Reconstituted turquoise is another method used to create turquoise in non-natural colors. In this process, small turquoise fragments or powder are mixed with resin to form a block, which is then shaped into beads, cabochons, or other jewelry components. Purple reconstituted turquoise is relatively common in the market.

3. Misleading Marketing

One challenge in the gemstone market is the misrepresentation of purple reconstituted or treated turquoise as “purple turquoise.” Some sellers may not disclose the treatment or reconstitution process, leading consumers to believe they are purchasing a rare and natural gemstone.

The Role of Dyeing and Stabilization

Understanding the role of dyeing and stabilization in the creation of purple “turquoise” is essential to discerning real purple turquoise from enhanced or reconstituted versions.

1. Dyeing Turquoise

The process of dyeing turquoise involves introducing colored dyes into the gemstone to alter its appearance. This can result in a wide range of colors, including shades of purple. However, dyed turquoise is not considered natural, and its color may not be stable over time.

2. Stabilizing Turquoise

Stabilization is a common treatment used in the turquoise industry to enhance the gem’s durability and color. It involves impregnating the turquoise with a clear resin. While stabilization doesn’t necessarily change the color, it can enhance the intensity of the existing color, making the turquoise appear more vibrant.

Differentiating Real Purple Turquoise from Enhanced Varieties

Distinguishing real purple turquoise from enhanced or reconstituted versions can be challenging. However, there are several methods and indicators that can help you make an informed assessment:

1. Ask for Documentation

When purchasing turquoise, especially if it’s advertised as “purple turquoise,” ask the seller for any available documentation. Natural gemstones are typically accompanied by certificates from gemological laboratories, which can provide details about the gem’s authenticity and treatment history.

2. Examine the Matrix

A natural turquoise stone, even one with unusual coloration, will often have a matrix that matches the host rock from which it was mined. If the matrix appears inconsistent or unnatural, it may be an indicator of reconstituted turquoise.

3. Check for Consistency

Real turquoise, whether naturally colored or treated, should have a consistent color throughout the stone. If you notice significant variations in color or an unnatural-looking surface, it may be an indication of dyeing or reconstitution.

4. Seek Expert Opinions

Gemologists and experienced jewelers can provide valuable insights into the authenticity of turquoise. They have the knowledge and tools to examine the gemstone and determine whether it has been treated or is a naturally occurring purple variety.

Natural Turquoise of Unusual Colors

While the authenticity of purple turquoise remains a subject of debate, it’s important to note that natural turquoise can exhibit a wide range of colors, some of which may border on shades of purple or violet. These colors are typically the result of specific mineral inclusions or impurities and are considered natural variations. They are often referred to as “blue-violet” or “violet-blue” turquoise.

These unusual colorations are prized by collectors and are distinct from the dyed or reconstituted versions that are marketed as “purple turquoise.”

The Rarity of Purple Turquoise

True purple turquoise, in the sense of turquoise that exhibits a vivid, royal purple color naturally, is exceptionally rare. In nature, turquoise primarily derives its colors from copper ions, which are not known to produce a vibrant purple.

However, natural gemstones can sometimes surprise us, and unique specimens with unusual colors can be found. These are highly prized by collectors and can command significant value.

Synthetic Turquoise

In addition to enhanced or reconstituted turquoise, there is another important distinction to make: synthetic turquoise. Synthetic turquoise is not a naturally occurring gemstone but is instead created in a laboratory setting. It is typically composed of materials such as resins and colorants.

While synthetic turquoise can come in various colors, including purple, it is an entirely man-made product and should not be confused with natural or enhanced turquoise.

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The fascination with turquoise, with its stunning blue and green varieties, is undeniable. While the concept of true purple turquoise remains elusive and the subject of debate, the market is flooded with dyed, stabilized, and reconstituted versions that may be marketed as “purple turquoise.” As a discerning consumer, it’s essential to consider the authenticity of any gemstone you purchase and to understand the treatment processes that may influence its appearance.

Natural turquoise of unusual colors, including shades that border on purple, can be highly collectible and valuable. However, verifying the authenticity of such gems may require the expertise of gemologists or experienced jewelers. In the end, the allure of turquoise, in all its forms and colors, continues to captivate the hearts of gemstone enthusiasts, ensuring its place as a beloved gem in the world of jewelry and art.

Is Purple Turquoise Real: Separating Fact from Fiction


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