Mineral Family:  Phosphates

Chemical Composition:  CuAl6(PO4)4(OH)8 4H2
Cleavage:  Good
Color:  Blue, green
Crystal System:  Triclinic
Form/Habit:  Massive
Fracture:  Conchoidal
Gravity:  2.6-2.8
Hardness: 5-6
Luminescence:  Blueish-white (long wave)
Luster:  Waxy to dull
Streak: White to green
Transparency:  Opaque

Where does Turquoise come from?

Turquoise Placeholder
Turquoise

The best Turquoise is found in Mexico, Iran and the United States.  Turquoise is also found in several other countries including Australia, Belgium, Chile, China, Egypt, Ethiopia, France, Poland, Portugal and the United Kingdom.

What is Turquoise?

Turquoise is a phosphate mineral.  These minerals all contain Phosphorus and Oxygen in a 1:4 ratio (written as PO4), which are then combined with various other elements to create unique minerals.  Other famous phosphate minerals include Apatite, Lazulite and Variscite.

How is Turquoise formed?

Turquoise forms in arid desert regions, during the weathering and oxidation process of pre-existing minerals.  Turquoise requires a combination of Copper-sulfide materials (which typically come from: Azurite, Chalcopyrite or Malachite), Aluminum (typically from Feldspar), and Phosphorus (typically from Apatite).  Turquoise usually fills or encrusts cavities and veins in igneous rocks.  Generally, Turquoise appears at a relatively shallow depth of less than 20 meters (66 feet).  Turquoise is sometimes inter-grown with secondary Copper minerals such as Chrysocolla.

How is Turquoise mined?

Turquoise is a rare and highly desirable gemstone.  Most mining operations are small scale, worked by hand with little to no mechanization.  Turquoise may also be mined as a byproduct of small-scale Copper mines in the United States and elsewhere.

What is fake Turquoise?

 There is a great deal of fake, cheap Turquoise on the market.  Most of it is dyed Magnesite, plastic, or glass.  The most convincing form is the the dyed Magnesite, with its dark veins.  Turquoise can also be dyed, stabilized, or even reconstituted to bring out a more uniform color.  Natural Turquoise is rarely uniform and is expensive.  Virtually all natural Turquoise is lightly waxed/oiled to bring out the color and luster of the stone.  The majority of Turquoise is stabilized, since it is so soft in its natural form.  Occasionally nuggets are found that don’t require stabilization.