Ever wondered about why is the stone you wear is considered valuable? Turquoise has been the most legendary gemstone in the industry of healing minerals. This beautiful stone is the most sought after due to its energy properties, attractive appearance, and protective features.
With many turquoise collectors around the globe, the common question remains the same. What turquoise is most valuable?
Families like Otteson and Garlands have spent generations digging out the most valuable turquoise.
Gem experts believe that the value of turquoise is derived from the rarity and quality of the stone. The harder the turquoise is on the Mohs scale, the more valuable it is.
What Turquoise Is Most Valuable?
According to Otteson, the overall value of Turquoise depends on its grade. Cultures across the globe have treasured turquoise through centuries.
Designers of unusual jewelry and collectors are in constant search of fine-quality turquoise. The most valued turquoise color is generally referred to as sky blue or robin’s egg blue.
This beautiful gemstone is made of a complex combination of copper, aluminum, water, phosphorus, and other ingredients that can add a matrix or change color.
About 90% of the turquoise available on the market has been treated, tampered with, or stabilized to harden the stone or enhance its color. Stabilized turquoise is a low-grade stone that can be easily cut or manipulated.
Cheap quality turquoise is usually mixed with epoxy to maintain its hardness.
Natural quality turquoise with a high-grade value is one of the most collectible and rare commodities. Gem grade turquoise has become scarce over recent years.
Such gems have been deemed as more precious than diamonds. High-grade turquoise can be 3x times more valuable than gold and diamond.
Turquoise stone in its purest silhouette is a hydrous phosphate blend of copper and aluminum. Egyptian and Persian gem collectors prefer this pure medium blue color of the turquoise.
The stone color usually ranges from sea green to sky blue. Most gemstone mines are now subjected to government restrictions and high mining costs. Such factors have made it even more challenging to locate gem grade turquoise.
Factors Which Determine Turquoise Value
There are three essential factors which help in the valuing of turquoise.
Only 4-5% of the total turquoise mined comes with a natural hardness. To be used in jewelry, turquoise needs to be hard.
In most cases, around 90% of the turquoise mined comes soft and chalky. Such turquoise is then stabilized to enhance its hardness. The top-level or most valuable turquoise is the ones that are naturally hard.
Such gemstones are called untreated or natural turquoise. Within this level of top-tier turquoise, further differentiation is made.
There are two subcategories, namely — gem-grade and high-grade. These two terms define the absolute hard and best natural gemstones.
The rarest pieces of turquoise have a greater value. The rarity of turquoise is closely related to the mines from where the stones are extracted. Lander Blue turquoise is one such example.
The mine is located in Nevada and was referred to as a hat mine. Lander Blue turquoise is incredibly expensive because of its rarity.
It is one of the highest-grade and hardest turquoise in the world. The mine deposit was completely exhausted in the 1970s, which made the gemstone extremely rare.
The aesthetic beauty, rarity, hardness, and grade of the Lander Blue makes it the most expensive turquoise.
Another vital factor that determines the value of turquoise is its aesthetics. The presence of host rock or matrix and the depth of turquoise’s color adds value to the stone.
Spider webbing or tight webbing is known to add greater value to the gemstone. Gemologists prefer more clear stones when it comes to turquoise.
Still, native American collectors and jewelers prefer turquoise with more matrices. If you are a gemstone collector, opt for intense color and beautiful webbing.
What Determines the Worth of Turquoise?
The most intense turquoise with a transparent color is generally valued more. It is usually accepted that even rich color is worth more when it comes to gemstones.
The Turquoise Quality Index considers two essential factors — Transition and Intensity. It is done on a scale ranging from 1 to 10. Turquoise, with a TQI score of 1, is considered to have the lowest value. Synthetic or dyed stones generally have a score ranging from 1 to 2.
Intensity determines how dark and rich the color is of the turquoise. The more intense colors are the most valuable and hard to find.
The rich and dark colors range has a score of 4 to 5. Collectors and gemologists generally prefer turquoise with a clear blue color. However, white-colored turquoise ranks high on the rarity scale and can cost more than some pale blue variations.
If you want a turquoise with multiple colors, compare each color’s grade in the stone.
Color Consistency of Turquoise
The transition between colors and the consistency of coloration in turquoise also plays an essential part in grading. The transition of a stone’s color can occur due to many reasons.
The natural and chemical composition of the matrix or host rock on which the turquoise was formed can influence its color. Often the stabilization process of the rock leaves behind ugly scars.
Smoother and even color transitions are more valuable than harsh or sharp turquoise color transitions. Smooth color transitions come with a score of 4+ and are the best in the market.
Turquoise is becoming rarer as most mines are running dry. Less than 5% of the total turquoise mined globally has the features to be cut into jewelry.
Turquoise filled with epoxy is deprived of the beauty and hardness of the natural gemstone. Turquoise is considered to be sacred across the globe, which adds to its value.
Blue minerals are hard to find, which makes high-grade turquoise incredibly valuable. Blue turquoise with a clear and intense tone is preferred over its greener counterparts due to its rarity.
While buying turquoise, avoid heavy matrices as they ruin the clarity of the stone.