How to Tell if the Turquoise You’re Buying is Real by Sam Silva

Images of faux & real turquoise.

It’s no secret that people enjoy the finer things in life; but sometimes the finer things in life come at an all too high cost. High-end items like jewelry are commonly being copied and made from cheaper materials, yet sold at high-end prices. Unfortunately, without the right expertise, consumers can be tricked into buying stones and jewels different from what we intend.

Fake turquoise makes up about 90% of the turquoise market today. Real turquoise is a mineral found near deposits of copper. Turquoise also requires the presence of three other materials: aluminum, phosphorus, and water. The mix of these minerals make each piece of turquoise incredibly unique. Turquoise has a rare distribution of green and blue color that other mined stone simply can’t recreate. However, other stones, like howlite, can be easily manipulated and dyed to achieve an almost identical look to turquoise, at a cheaper cost.

Howlite is a borate mineral found in evaporite deposits. Like turquoise, howlite itself is a beautiful stone that can be sold in its natural state. Howlite can be found under the names of: white turquoise, white buffalo turquoise, or white buffalo stone. However it can also be altered to imitate other stones like turquoise. Because of its spongy texture, howlite is easily dyed and the dye then sinks into the pores of the mineral giving it a look very similar to real turquoise.

When consumers look at the beautiful turquoise stone, there are three things to keep in mind to be sure that the turquoise is the real thing:

  1. Appearance: Every piece of real turquoise will have its own, unique look. If stones are identical, they may not be real.
  2. Color stability: Natural turquoise will be colored throughout from its creation in the earth. The color will not rub off.
  3. Price: Real turquoise is going to be more expensive. If the price looks too good to be true, it probably is.

Here are a couple tricks to find out if the turquoise is real.

  • The fingernail test. The fingernail test is simply running your fingernail along the surface of the stone. If your fingernail gets caught where the veins and splotches of the stone are, chances are the stone is real. If your fingernail can run smoothly along the stone, chances are you have manipulated howlite.
  • The scratch test: Howlite is a lot lighter and softer than turquoise. The scratch test will test the hardness of the stone. If the stone scratches easy, chances are you have piece of howlite. If the stone is difficult to scratch, odds are higher that it’s turquoise. Be careful when using this technique as it does involve scratching up your stone.

The only way to be certain that you are buying real turquoise is to know where it came from. There are many vendors who sell fake turquoise labeled as the real thing. You should always buy turquoise from a reputable source with expertise and knowledge of the stone’s source. Here at Desperado Boutique we highly encourage that when looking for your new jewelry you shop local and don’t be afraid to ask questions. We love to talk about where we get our products, as everything we sell comes with a story.

Solar Eclipse Jewelry by Jennifer Anderson of Allora Designs

Graphic image of the solar eclipse.

Come Monday, August 21st all eyes will be to the sky – provided you’re wearing your safety glasses –  for a once in a life time glimpse at the solar eclipse.  Central Oregon is in the path of totality and experts predict hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world will flock to Oregon for a look.  Central Oregon is prime viewing because of our great weather and cloudless skies.

One of desperado’s favorite artists Jennifer Anderson of Allora Designs has created a line of jewelry to commemorate this event.  Images of jewelry from artist Jennifer Anderson of Allora Designs.

Jennifer was born and raised in Bend and as a 5th generation Oregonian she jumped at the chance to capture this important historical event in her work.  Inspired by family members who are also artists, Jennifer started her career path as a jeweler more than 15 years ago.  She says jewelry has always been a presence in her life. Her aunt created a variety of pieces, mainly with turquoise, which sparked Jen’s interest in jewelry making and encouraged her to give it a try. It was her father, though, who provided the spark for the inspiration that followed. One night, nearly two decades ago, he gave her a variety of materials and some tools, and then sent her off home to tinker. That tinkering episode lasted the entire night and from it, passion was born.

Image portrait of Jennifer Anderson.Solar eclipse images.We think you’ll love this limited edition line of eclipse inspired jewelry as much as we do.  It will be available in our store and on our website throughout the month of August. Jennifer’s other work can be seen at desperado year round and can be found under the accessories/jewelry tab on our website.

Viewing the eclipse will begin at the Oregon coast and travel on a path to Central Oregon hitting the mountains at Madras and Warm Springs (predicted optimal viewing due to weather patterns) at about 10:19AM.

Actual darkness (if you are directly in the path of totality) will last less than 2 minutes. Bend will NOT experience total darkness, but Madras will.  For more details on safe viewing you can visit  http://www.eclipse2017.org/eclipse2017_main.htm 

Desperado with Shoes &… plans to be open on the day of the eclipse, but will likely not open our doors until 12:00 due to congested traffic.  Our normal business hours will be followed on the days before and after the eclipse.

So grab your safety glasses and get ready to see this spectacular event!!! And of course we hope you’ll make us a stopping point on your travels!

 

Jewelry and eclipse images.
Solar eclipse images.