How We Test Our Turquoise
There are four ways to know if turquoise is real or fake.
Testing is a skill.
Some pieces of turquoise you can tell right when you pick them up. Others require a more scientific approach.
Ways To Test Turquoise:
1. Visual Test - This is the first and easiest way to test what looks like real turquoise. Usually, the color of turquoise is uniform. The gradient of the stone won't have drastic changes. If the stone is deep blue on one side and light blue on the other... It is a good indicator the stone has been dyed.
2. Acetone test - We use acetone on a cotton swab and vigorously rub the turquoise in question. The cotton swab should not turn blue. If it does, it means the stone is dyed. And is probably howlite or magnesite.
3. Heat test - We heat a small, high-heat, metal tester until it is red hot. Then, we touch this to the "turquoise" in question. If it smokes or melts... it is not genuine turquoise. It is usually some type of plastic composite material.
If it is genuine, it will easily withstand heat.
4. Stress/scratch test - Genuine turquoise is somewhat soft and brittle. But howlite and magnesite (fake turquoise), are much softer and more brittle.
Using a known piece of howlite and magnesite, we compare scratch pressure against the turquoise in question. If it is hard or does not scratch with the same amount of pressure, it passes the test.
To our Diné, it is the color and what it represents that is most important.
If you have an old piece of jewelry and you aren't quite sure if it is real... you can do these same tests. If you love the piece and what the color represents, then maybe you don't even care. And that's okay too.