How Do You Tell If Turquoise is Real

To tell if turquoise is real, you'll need to examine it closely to look for signs of authenticity. Real turquoise is a semi-precious stone prized for its unique blue-green color. Turquoise grows in dry and barren regions worldwide, including the southwestern United States, Mexico, Iran, and Tibet.

When shopping for turquoise jewelry or other items made with this stone, keep an eye out for fake versions made from cheaper materials like howlite or magnesite. These imitations can be challenging to spot if you're not familiar with what genuine turquoise looks like, but there are a few key differences you can look for.



One of the easiest ways to tell if turquoise is real is by checking the price tag. If the item you're looking at is very cheap, it's likely not made with real turquoise.




You can sometimes tell an imitation stone by its appearance, but because fake turquoise stones come in various materials, you may not get the most consistent results. For example, in some fake 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 that the cracks in the stone are painted on.

Genuine turquoise varies widely because of its formation in nature, so fake turquoise jewelry that does not appear precisely like the real thing is difficult to spot.




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




There are many tests you may attempt to decide whether your turquoise is genuine, 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. So if you scratch your stone with real turquoise and it scratches easily, there's a good chance it's made of the softer howlite crystal. So you've got authentic turquoise if it's challenging to scratch your stone! We recommend performing the scratch test on the part of the stone that isn't easily visible.




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 press it into an inconspicuous part of the turquoise stone's surface. If it begins to melt or produces a burnt smell, it is either plastic or resin jewelry.




It is difficult to distinguish fake turquoise jewelry (even we have difficulties sometimes!) since turquoise varies so much from stone to stone. For example, today, 90% of the turquoise on the market is dyed howlite crystal made to resemble authentic turquoise. Other common imitations include dyed magnesite, plastic, epoxy, and resin.

Reconstituted turquoise is another form of imitation turquoise that dupes buyers by mixing tiny bits of genuine stone with other minerals to create one large fake turquoise stone. This type of jewelry is usually lower quality and not as expensive as pieces made with real turquoise, but it can still be difficult to spot.


Wrapping Up

With so many imitation turquoise jewelry pieces on the market, it's important to know how to spot the real thing. Luckily, there are a few ways you can tell if your turquoise is genuine or not. If you're ever in doubt, we recommend taking your piece of jewelry to a professional jeweler for examination.