Block turquoise, sometimes called synthetic turquoise, contains no turquoise at all. It is made by combining inert ingredients, dye, and usually a resin to form blocks that can be cut or shaped. The mixture can also be poured directly into molds to create most any desired shape.
By combine various shades of blue and matrix-like dark materials, synthetic turquoise can come close in appearance to the real thing. Whatever one thinks of synthetic turquoise, the artistry of the people doing the imitating is truly impressive. By varying shades of blue and the imitation matrix patterns, a close resemblance can be achieved, as can be seen from the synthetic beads to the right.
How can one tell if the turquoise is synthetic? First, the porous surface typically found in real turquoise is usually absent in synthetic turquoise. Second, synthetic turquoise does not have the “cold stone feel” of natural turquoise. Third, in our experience synthetic turquoise has a tad bit more luster than natural turquoise.
As with treated turquoise, we have no objection to the use of synthetic turquoise, as long as it is sold as such and not misrepresented.
A final point. Block/synthetic turquoise is often sold as “reconstituted turquoise.” This is not correct. Reconstituted turquoise contains pulverized turquoise stone. Block turquoise is 100 percent imitation.