The Turquoise Mineral Group - What's the difference between Turquoise, Variscite, Chalcosiderite, and Faustite

The Turquoise Mineral Group - What's the difference between Turquoise, Variscite, Chalcosiderite, and Faustite

Turquoise is formed by a complex combination of aluminum, copper, phosphorus, water, and other local ingredients that may change the color or add matrix (host rock). Turquoise is found at elevations between 3,000 - 8,500 feet and typically in dry, arid climates. Other, very similar minerals also form under these conditions- and five of these are classified under the Turquoise Mineral Group.
What is the difference between stabilized and natural turquoise?

What is the difference between stabilized and natural turquoise?

Turquoise by nature is a relatively soft, porous stone, and it can vary greatly in its quality.   Only rarer high-grade turquoise is actually dense enough that it can be cut and shaped without damaging the stone.  Softer turquoise has to be treated in some way in order for it to be made usable.  Therefore, the majority of turquoise has been enhanced in some way.  The resulting piece of turquoise is then much stronger and easier to cut, polish, and set by a jeweler without risk of breaking.
Turquoise Chart

Turquoise Chart

Here's a fun turquoise chart showing both rough stone and cut and polished cabochons. The turquoise mines are listed next to each stone. It's so fascinating to see the variety of colors that can be produced by different turquoise mines in the Southwest!

Rosarita

Rosarita is a unique material, which derives its exceptionally rich, red color from the process of gold refining. It is a unique by-product of the 1960s and 1970s gold refining processes. Alaskan beach sand was smelted for its gold content and the slag by-product was Rosarita, which is essentially a gold-infused glass.
About Turquoise

About Turquoise

Few things in the Southwest are as iconic as turquoise Native American Indian jewelry. This striking blue gemstone has truly stood the test of time, appearing in American Indian jewelry as early as 1600 CE in Santo Domingo (Kewa) Pueblo and weaving its way through generations of artists, traders, and collectors, and into the hands of modern-day fashionistas.