Local Gemstones: Mexican Turquoise

Posted by Kimberley Keehn on

As a destination jewelry boutique are asked all the time to display jewelry that is local to the region.  Our first response is always to explain that although we source our materials from all over the world, the majority of our jewelry is hand-made in our Sayulita workshop.  That being said there are some gems that we actually source here in Mexico.  Today I’d like to share more with you about my very favorite local gemstone: Mexican Turquoise.

Caring for Turquoise by Sayulita Sol Jewelry

 We have an amazing every-changing selection of turquoise in the store and on our website.  Mexican turquoise is found in the state of Sonora, which borders Arizona. I have been purchasing Mexican turquoise from the same two turquoise specialists for the last 17 years.  They both have amazing variety and their quality is exceptional.  Most of the beads and cabochons are hand-cut in Mexico.  One thing I have noticed over the last few years is the increase in the price of Turquoise.  It has become much more expensive every year. 

Mexican turquoise is found in an array of colors, from light ice blue to dark azure blue, and from mossy green to mint green, and all the tones between.  The color of turquoise is determined by the content of copper and other minerals present in the soil, and therefore the color can be so different even in neighboring mines. 

  • Blue in turquoise is formed when copper is present. 
  • Green in turquoise is a result of aluminum in the soil. 
  • When zinc is present, the deposits are a yellow-green color, a rare combination

All of our turquoise is stabilized but otherwise untreated.  Because turquoise is a chalky mineral there is a stabilization process often used which hardens the gem and makes the color less susceptible to change with normal wear. 

Many people ask us how to know if turquoise is real or imitation. Here are some tips we use if sourcing new turquoise vendors:

  • Look for imperfections in the stone.  Turquoise is prized for its “matrix”, or veins of the original rock that 'grew' the turquoise. When stones are cut, some of the matrix can remain bound to the turquoise. Use your fingernail to rub along the surface of the stone. If your nail gets caught on where the Turquoise meets the webbing, then this is a good indication of natural Turquoise.
  • Real Turquoise is expensive.  If the price is too good to be true it’s probably imitation turquoise. made from a dyed Howlite stone or reconstituted turquoise dust.
  • Look for variations in the color of the stones. It is quite rare to find Turquoise with a perfectly uniform and evenly distributed color, and when it does occur it is extremely expensive. 
  • Bonus: Inclusions of pyrite can not be imitated.

Want to see a selection of our favorite Mexican turquoise jewelry? Click the link or stop by our Sayulita boutique! We can also create a made-to-order piece by using our custom order form.

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