Home Knowledges 10 Types of Turquoise:A Comprehensive Guide

10 Types of Turquoise:A Comprehensive Guide

by Madonna

Turquoise, with its captivating blue-green hues, has been prized for centuries for its unique beauty and cultural significance. The diversity of turquoise extends beyond its color, encompassing a wide range of types, each with its distinctive characteristics and origins. In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the fascinating world of turquoise, exploring the many types that grace the realms of jewelry, art, and culture.

The Origins of Turquoise: A Geological Tapestry

Turquoise is a hydrated phosphate mineral that forms in the presence of copper, aluminum, and other minerals. Its vibrant coloration is the result of the presence of copper, while the varying shades and matrix patterns are influenced by the surrounding minerals and geological conditions. Turquoise is primarily found in arid regions, and historically, it has been mined in locations such as the American Southwest, Iran, China, and Egypt.


The geological diversity of these regions gives rise to a spectrum of turquoise types, each with its unique characteristics, making turquoise a gemstone with a rich tapestry of origins.


See Also: Is Turquoise More Blue or Green: A Full Guide


1. Persian Turquoise: The Jewel of the East

Renowned for its sky-blue hues and historical significance, Persian turquoise holds a special place in the world of gemstones. Mined in Iran, formerly known as Persia, this type of turquoise is celebrated for its pure, robin’s egg blue color and minimal matrix. Persian turquoise has been highly prized for centuries, adorning the jewelry of ancient civilizations and gracing the treasures of royalty.

The finest Persian turquoise is characterized by its intense blue color, often with a hint of green, and a smooth, even texture. While Persian turquoise is less commonly mined today, vintage pieces featuring this rare gemstone are highly sought after by collectors and connoisseurs.

2. Sleeping Beauty Turquoise: The Purity of Sky Blue

Named after the Sleeping Beauty Mine in Arizona, this turquoise is celebrated for its pure, robin’s egg blue color and lack of matrix. Sleeping Beauty turquoise is renowned for its clarity and consistent color, ranging from a light sky blue to a slightly deeper azure. The absence of matrix sets Sleeping Beauty turquoise apart, giving it a clean and contemporary appearance.

The Sleeping Beauty Mine, once a prolific source of this turquoise, unfortunately ceased operations in 2012. As a result, Sleeping Beauty turquoise has become increasingly scarce, and vintage pieces featuring this sought-after gemstone are highly coveted in the jewelry market.

3. Kingman Turquoise: A Spectrum of Beauty

Situated in Arizona, the Kingman Mine has been a prolific source of turquoise for centuries. Kingman turquoise is known for its wide range of colors, including vibrant blue, green, and teal, often with a prominent matrix. The matrix patterns in Kingman turquoise can vary from delicate spiderweb patterns to bolder, more pronounced veins.

The versatility of Kingman turquoise makes it a favorite among jewelry designers, as it allows for a broad spectrum of creative possibilities. From traditional Native American designs to contemporary jewelry styles, Kingman turquoise continues to captivate with its diverse color palette and distinctive matrix patterns.

4. Royston Turquoise: Earth Tones and Matrix Magic

Mined in Nevada, Royston turquoise is celebrated for its earthy tones and intricate matrix patterns. The colors of Royston turquoise can range from light blue and green to deep forest green, often with a brown matrix that creates captivating patterns across the surface of the stone. The matrix in Royston turquoise is considered an integral part of its charm, adding depth and character to each piece.

Jewelry featuring Royston turquoise often highlights the natural beauty of the stone, with artisans embracing the unique matrix patterns to create one-of-a-kind designs. The warm, earthy colors of Royston turquoise make it a favorite among those seeking a distinctive and rustic aesthetic.

5. Chinese Turquoise: A Tapestry of Colors

China has emerged as a significant source of turquoise, offering a diverse range of colors and matrix patterns. Chinese turquoise can exhibit hues ranging from light blue and green to deeper shades, often with intricate matrix patterns that add character to the stone. Varieties such as Hubei turquoise, in particular, have gained recognition for their unique coloration and artistic appeal.

Chinese turquoise has become increasingly popular in the global market, contributing to the accessibility of turquoise jewelry for a broader audience. Its varied colors and patterns make it a versatile choice for both traditional and contemporary designs.

6. Bisbee Turquoise: A Legacy of Richness

Once considered one of the most significant turquoise mines in the world, the Bisbee Mine in Arizona produced turquoise of exceptional quality and richness. Bisbee turquoise is known for its deep blue and green hues, often with a chocolate brown matrix that creates striking contrasts. The distinctive color combination and high-quality material make Bisbee turquoise highly sought after by collectors and jewelry enthusiasts.

While the Bisbee Mine is no longer in operation, the legacy of its turquoise lives on in vintage pieces and in the hearts of those who appreciate the unparalleled beauty of this exceptional gemstone.

7. Morenci Turquoise: True Blue Elegance

Mined in Arizona, the Morenci Mine was once a prolific source of high-quality turquoise. Morenci turquoise is characterized by its deep blue color, often with a pyrite matrix that adds a touch of sparkle. The rich blue tones of Morenci turquoise have made it a favorite among artisans and collectors alike, with vintage pieces showcasing the timeless elegance of this classic gemstone.

Although the Morenci Mine is no longer operational, the enduring popularity of Morenci turquoise ensures its continued presence in the world of turquoise jewelry.

8. Number Eight Turquoise: A Fusion of Colors

Number Eight turquoise, mined in Nevada, is celebrated for its vibrant hues and intricate matrix patterns. This type of turquoise can display a range of colors, from light blue and green to deeper shades, often with a golden or brown matrix. The matrix in Number Eight turquoise forms captivating spiderweb patterns, creating a visually dynamic and energetic appearance.

The unique coloration and matrix of Number Eight turquoise make it a favorite among artists and designers seeking to infuse their creations with a lively and distinctive aesthetic.

9. Cerrillos Turquoise: A Southwestern Legacy

Mined in New Mexico, Cerrillos turquoise holds historical significance as one of the oldest known turquoise mining sites in North America. The turquoise from Cerrillos is characterized by its light to medium blue color and distinctive matrix patterns, often in the form of intricate spiderweb designs. Cerrillos turquoise has been used by Native American tribes for centuries, contributing to the cultural heritage of the Southwestern United States.

The historical and cultural importance of Cerrillos turquoise adds a layer of significance to jewelry pieces featuring this timeless gemstone.

10. Egyptian Turquoise: A Historical Gem

With a history dating back thousands of years, turquoise from Egypt holds a special place in the world of gemstones. Mined in the Sinai Peninsula, Egyptian turquoise is known for its bright blue color and historical significance. This type of turquoise has been found in ancient Egyptian artifacts, including jewelry and burial items, showcasing its enduring allure.

While Egyptian turquoise may be less common in contemporary jewelry, its historical significance makes it a fascinating aspect of the broader tapestry of turquoise varieties.

Identifying Authenticity: Characteristics of Genuine Turquoise

Whether you’re a collector, enthusiast, or someone seeking a meaningful piece of turquoise jewelry, understanding how to identify authentic turquoise is essential. Genuine turquoise possesses certain characteristics that distinguish it from imitations or synthetic materials:

1. Color Variation: Genuine turquoise can exhibit a range of colors, from blue and green to shades in between. Be cautious of stones with a uniform and artificial appearance, as this may indicate imitation or treatment.

2. Matrix Patterns: The matrix, or veining within turquoise, varies among different types. Genuine turquoise often features matrix patterns that are unique to each variety, adding character and depth to the stone.

3. Texture: Authentic turquoise typically has a smooth and waxy texture. Be wary of stones that feel excessively hard or plastic-like, as they may be synthetic or treated.

4. Temperature Sensitivity: Genuine turquoise is sensitive to temperature changes. When touched, it should feel cool to the skin. Synthetic or imitation materials may not exhibit this characteristic.

5. Matrix Material: Examine the matrix closely for the presence of natural minerals like pyrite, chrysocolla, or limonite. The matrix material can provide clues about the authenticity and origin of the turquoise.

See Also: Does Turquoise Have Healing Properties: All You Need To Know

Caring for Turquoise: Preservation and Maintenance

Turquoise, while admired for its beauty, is a relatively soft gemstone that requires special care to ensure its longevity. Here are some guidelines for preserving and maintaining your turquoise jewelry:

1. Avoid Harsh Chemicals: Remove turquoise jewelry before applying lotions, perfumes, or cleaning products, as these can damage the stone.

2. Protect from Sunlight: Prolonged exposure to direct sunlight can cause fading. Store turquoise jewelry in a dark or shaded area when not in use.

3. Gentle Cleaning: Clean turquoise with a soft, damp cloth to remove dirt or oils. Avoid abrasive materials or ultrasonic cleaners that may harm the stone.

4. Store Separately: Store turquoise jewelry away from other pieces to prevent scratches. Consider placing it in a soft pouch or lined jewelry box.

By following these care guidelines, you can ensure that your turquoise jewelry remains a cherished and vibrant part of your collection.

In Conclusion: Turquoise’s Enduring Allure

In conclusion, the world of turquoise is a captivating journey through time, culture, and geological wonders. The diverse types of turquoise, each with its unique colors, matrix patterns, and cultural significance, contribute to the enduring allure of this cherished gemstone. Whether you’re drawn to the vibrant blues of Persian turquoise, the earthy richness of Royston turquoise, or the pure elegance of Sleeping Beauty turquoise, each variety tells a story that transcends borders and generations.

As you explore the many types of turquoise, consider the craftsmanship, history, and cultural context that accompany each piece. Whether adorning yourself with turquoise jewelry, collecting vintage pieces, or appreciating the artistry of contemporary designs, turquoise invites you to connect with the natural beauty and cultural heritage that make it a timeless gemstone. In a world rich with varieties, colors, and stories, turquoise stands as a testament to the enduring allure of nature’s artistic creations.


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