Fake imitation turquoise jewelry or stones are made to look like natural stones. There are a few different kinds to look out for. George Francis a experienced Navajo silversmith shows us some examples that can be found in jewelry. Please Watch the Video.
Can you tell us about fake turquoise?
“Yes, and this is really difficult to talk about at times because I want people to understand if you buy a piece because you like it, it’s worth keeping. If a family member buys you a piece of jewelry, it may not have natural products in it, but it has sentimental value because a family member or a friend may have bought that for you.
“In this case, we have imitation turquoise. It comes in varied forms. For example, we have here an epoxy-based resin with coloring added to it. You’ll notice that some of them have a matrix in black and some of them are in brown. These all have an epoxy resin. We refer to these in the industry as ‘block turquoise’ because it is sold in little blocks.
“These are an example of all the colors that are available, not only in turquoise, but also in coral, amber, et cetera. One gentleman came to me and said: “My amber has bugs in it.” When they pour the stuff they put all the bugs in there they want, so you still get a bug. He was sad because he didn’t realize what could happen.
“These are imitation turquoise. You’ll see a lot of these being sold. This is magnesite, which is a white stone with brownish matrix in it. When it’s dyed different colors the brown is deeper. The turquoise tends to be more greenish because that’s what (the customers) desire, but it can be dyed any color. This is howlite, which is a white stone with black or gray matrix, and as you add color dye to it, the matrix also turns different colors. The stone can be dyed any color they want. This piece is howlite dyed that blue and it looks like a Heishi-cut turquoise.
“Those are things to look out for: it boils down to asking a lot of questions. A lot of people will ask, “Is that real turquoise?” Yes, of course, the color is turquoise. Does that make it proper? No. We should be honest with our customers if it isn’t turquoise, say so. If they like it, they’re going to buy it anyway. Those are things a buyer must be aware of. Never ask if it’s real, ask the question “Is that a natural stone?” By law, they’re required to answer you properly.”
– George Francis, Navajo silversmith