4 Tips to Help You Spot Fake Turquoise

To the untrained eye, real and fake turquoise look very much alike. There are several things you can do to help ensure that your piece of jewelry or gemstone is genuine turquoise.


1) Price Tag


Genuine turquoise is more expensive than its fake counterparts. If you see a piece of turquoise lying around and it's priced for $10, there is a good chance it isn't authentic. While this rule may not always apply to vintage jewelry or heirlooms, if you are looking at new pieces of turquoise it is helpful.

The best turquoise is found in the Sleeping Beauty Mine and prices can range from $100 to $700. On the other hand, inauthentic turquoise stones are purchased for less than a dollar per pound.


2) Check the Appearance


You can sometimes tell an imitation stone by its appearance, but because fakes come in various materials, you may not get the most consistent results. In some inauthentic turquoise jewelry pieces, you may notice where the dye builds up in the cracks of the "turquoise," or if you can't feel the cracks of the stone then this means the cracks are painted on. Bona fide turquoise varies widely because of its formation in nature, so fake turquoise jewelry that appears precisely like the real thing is difficult to spot.


3) Acetone Test


The acetone test is another helpful technique. First, rub a cotton swab with pure acetone. Then apply it to the stone and wait 10 minutes to see if any color transfers off along with the liquid. If the piece of jewelry you're examining is authentic turquoise jewelry, the color will not rub off.


4) The Scratch Test


There are many tests you may attempt to decide whether your turquoise is genuine (Fingernail Test, Acetone Test, Mohs Hardness Test), but many of them are quite damaging to the stone itself. The scratch test is the least damaging of all. Turquoise is a soft stone by nature, but howlite crystal (a common turquoise substitute) is even softer and scratches easily. If you scratch your stone with real turquoise and it scratches easily, there's a good chance it's made of softer howlite crystal. If it's extremely difficult to scratch your stone, you've got genuine turquoise! We recommend performing the scratch test on a part of the stone that isn't easily visible.


5) The Hot Needle Method


The hot needle method is probably the most effective test for telling real from imitation turquoise. Use a jeweler's torch to heat up a needle and then press it into an inconspicuous part of the stone's surface. If it begins to melt or produces a burnt smell, then it is either plastic or resin jewelry.


What is Fake Turquoise?


It is difficult to distinguish inauthentic turquoise jewelry (even we have difficulties sometimes!) since turquoise varies so much from stone to stone. 90% of the turquoise on the market today is actually dyed howlite crystal made to resemble bona fide turquoise. Other common imitations include dyed magnesite, plastic, epoxy, and resin. Reconstituted turquoise is another form of imitation turquoise that's used to dupe buyers by mixing tiny bits of genuine stone with other minerals to create one large fake replica.



In conclusion, there are many technique to distinguish between real and imitation turquoise. In conclusion, there are many ways to distinguish the difference between real and imitation turquoise. Each test has its limitations, so the only true answer to knowing whether that hunk of turquoise is real or not? Get it tested at an actual gemology lab.