Home Knowledges The Secrets of Natural Turquoise: Appearance & Characteristics

The Secrets of Natural Turquoise: Appearance & Characteristics

by Madonna

Turquoise, one of the world’s most beloved gemstones, has enchanted humans for thousands of years with its vibrant blue and green hues. Revered for its natural beauty and cultural significance, turquoise has long held a special place in the world of gemstones. In this comprehensive article, we will delve into the captivating world of natural turquoise, exploring its appearance, characteristics, sources, and the factors that make it a cherished gemstone.

Turquoise Color Changes

The first characteristic that often comes to mind when envisioning turquoise is its color. Natural turquoise can range from a stunning sky blue to a lush green, with variations in shade and tone within this spectrum. The color is influenced by several factors, including the presence of specific minerals, the geological environment in which the turquoise forms, and the level of oxidation.


1. Sky Blue Turquoise: This is the classic, iconic color most people associate with turquoise. It embodies the bright, clear blue sky and is often found in the American Southwest and Persia.


2 .Green Turquoise: Turquoise can also appear in varying shades of green. These green hues are typically seen in stones that contain higher levels of iron, which can give the turquoise a lush, forest-like appearance.


3. Robins-Egg Blue Turquoise: This shade is characterized by a lighter, more pastel-like blue, similar to the color of a robin’s egg. It is particularly favored for its delicate and soothing appearance.

4. Matrix or Veined Turquoise: In some cases, turquoise exhibits matrix, or veining, which can vary in color from brown to black. The matrix provides a captivating contrast to the blue or green background and is often seen in Southwestern American turquoise.

Translucency and Luster

Translucency and luster are key attributes that define the visual appeal of natural turquoise. High-quality turquoise is typically translucent, allowing light to penetrate and give the gemstone an inner glow. The presence of fine, evenly distributed microcrystals contributes to its lustrous appearance.

1. High-Grade Turquoise: Top-quality turquoise showcases a high degree of translucency and a glass-like luster. This type of turquoise is exceptionally prized for its beauty and value.

2. Opaque Turquoise: Some turquoise, especially lower-grade stones or those with a higher concentration of impurities, can be more opaque in appearance. While still attractive, opaque turquoise lacks the same level of brilliance as translucent varieties.

Surface Texture

Turquoise can display different surface textures, which can add character and uniqueness to each stone. These textures may include:

1. Smooth: Some turquoise appears smooth and polished, reflecting a sleek, modern appearance.

2. Waxy: Other turquoise stones have a waxy texture that is slightly rough to the touch. This texture is often appreciated for its tactile quality.

3. Porcelain-Like: Exceptional turquoise can exhibit a porcelain-like texture, with a fine, polished surface akin to fine china.

Natural Inclusions and Matrix

Turquoise is known for its unique inclusions and matrix patterns. These patterns are created by the presence of other minerals or host rock within the turquoise. While some may consider these patterns as imperfections, they are often prized for their artistic and intricate qualities.

1. Spiderweb Matrix: Perhaps one of the most iconic and sought-after patterns, the spiderweb matrix consists of fine, interconnected lines that resemble a spider’s web. This matrix is often found in high-grade American turquoise.

2. Pyrite Inclusions: Some turquoise stones may contain small, reflective pyrite inclusions, which can create a mesmerizing sparkle within the gem.

3. Iron and Copper Inclusions: The presence of iron and copper inclusions can add unique colors and patterns to turquoise, including shades of brown, black, and reddish-brown.

See Also: Real Turquoise vs. Plastic: How To Identify Them?

The Geological Origins of Natural Turquoise

Turquoise is a hydrous phosphate mineral that forms as a secondary mineral in areas where certain conditions are met. It primarily develops in arid or semi-arid regions, where water containing specific minerals percolates through rocks and interacts with existing minerals. Turquoise is often found in association with host rocks such as limonite, sandstone, shale, or volcanic rocks.

Turquoise deposits are scattered across the globe, each with its unique geological and mineralogical characteristics. Some of the world’s most notable turquoise deposits include:

1. Persian Turquoise (Iran): Known for its legendary quality and rich robin’s-egg blue color, Persian turquoise has been highly prized for centuries.

2. Southwestern American Turquoise (United States): This region boasts numerous turquoise deposits, including the famous Kingman, Bisbee, and Sleeping Beauty mines. Southwestern American turquoise is renowned for its varying shades, matrix patterns, and rich history.

3. Chinese Turquoise (China): China is a significant source of turquoise, with diverse deposits yielding a wide range of colors and qualities.

4. Egyptian Turquoise (Egypt): Turquoise has been mined in the Sinai Peninsula since ancient times, known for its distinct greenish-blue color.

5. Mexican Turquoise (Mexico): Mexico is home to several turquoise deposits, including the notable mines of Sonora and Zacatecas, which produce turquoise with a vibrant blue hue.

6. Turquoise from Other Localities: Turquoise can also be found in countries like Afghanistan, Australia, Chile, and Tibet, each with its unique characteristics.

Turquoise Formation Process

The formation of turquoise is a complex geological process that begins with the interaction of water containing dissolved copper and aluminum phosphates with pre-existing minerals in host rocks. As the water percolates through the rocks, it reacts with these minerals, ultimately leading to the formation of turquoise.

The turquoise crystallizes in cavities, fractures, or voids within the host rock. Over time, the turquoise deposits accumulate, and the gemstone begins to take shape. The mineralization process can take thousands of years, with the final appearance and quality of the turquoise being influenced by a variety of geological factors, including the types of host rocks, temperature, pressure, and mineral content in the area.

See Also: What Does a Turquoise Ring Mean: Things You Need To Know

Caring for Natural Turquoise

Turquoise, like any gemstone, requires proper care to maintain its beauty and integrity. Here are some essential tips for caring for natural turquoise:

1. Avoid Harsh Chemicals: Turquoise is sensitive to chemicals, so avoid exposing it to household cleaners, perfumes, and cosmetics. These substances can lead to discoloration and damage.

2 .Storage: Store your turquoise jewelry or specimens away from direct sunlight, as prolonged exposure can lead to fading. Keep them in a cool, dry place to prevent any moisture-related issues.

3. Cleaning: To clean turquoise, use a soft, damp cloth to wipe away any dust or dirt. Avoid using ultrasonic cleaners or steam cleaners, as the intense vibrations and heat can damage the stone.

4. Avoid Extreme Temperatures: Turquoise can be sensitive to sudden temperature changes. Avoid exposing it to extreme heat or cold, as this can lead to thermal shock and cause fractures.

5. Wear with Care: When wearing turquoise jewelry, be mindful of potential impact and pressure on the stone. Turquoise is relatively soft compared to other gemstones and can be scratched or damaged if not treated with care.

6. Rehydration: Turquoise is known to change color over time due to dehydration. Periodically exposing the stone to moisture or wearing it close to the skin can help maintain its vibrant color.


Natural turquoise, with its mesmerizing hues, geological origins, and cultural significance, remains a gemstone deeply cherished by people worldwide. Understanding its appearance, characteristics, and the factors that influence its value is crucial for anyone interested in appreciating or collecting this beautiful gem.

As you explore the world of turquoise, remember that its value goes beyond its physical attributes and market price. Turquoise embodies the spirit of the Earth, the craftsmanship of time, and the beauty of a stone that has captivated hearts for millennia. Whether worn as jewelry, displayed as a specimen, or used as a symbol of protection and spirituality, turquoise continues to enchant and inspire, bridging the gap between the natural world and human expression.


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