African Turquoise

African Turquoise is not turquoise at all.  It is a type of jasper found in Africa and is often dyed to achieve a turquoise-like color.  Enhancing its role as a turquoise substitute is its matrix, which also resembles turquoise matrix.

African turquoise is beautiful in its own right.  We have sold it ourselves.  The problem arises when it is sold as genuine turquoise.  Our informal survey suggests that perhaps one-half of the sites on the Internet selling “African Turquoise” do not acknowledge that the item is actually a turquoise substitute.  We have no way of knowing if this is being done out of ignorance or to misrepresent the product.  Turquoise is rare; jasper is abundant.   One should expect to pay up only for the former .

What Is Jasper?

So then, what is jasper?  Jasper is a form of chalcedony.  Another form of chalcedony is agate.  The differences between jasper and agate is that jaspers (there are many of them) have less regular patterns and are more opaque.  Jaspers are opaque because they contain microscopic grains of crystalline quartz, whereas the quarts in agate are more fiber-like.  Jaspers take on varying colors depending on the other minerals present at the site of formation.  One advantage of African jasper is that it is harder than turquoise.