Turquoise Matrix

Turquoise is often marked with dark veins that run through it called “matrix.”  In some regions such markings are considered to be beautiful.  This seems to be so in the U.S. Southwest and the Far East.  In other areas, such as the Middle East, these markings are thought of as imperfections and the stones that carry them are valued less.

Turquoise matrix is essentially the remnants of the rock that “hosted” the turquoise as it formed through weathering and oxidation processes over millions of years.


Matrix Color

Turquoise matrix can take on different colors, depending on the host rock (sometimes called “the mother rock”). 

  • Black matrix tends to be favored, as it creates a nice contrast.  Matrix of this color is often iron pyrite (iron sulfide).

  • Yellow matrix is often rhyolite, an igneous, volcanic rock.  Since turquoise usually forms in rock with a volcanic origin, the presence of rhyolite should not be surprising.

  • Brown matrix usually consists of an iron oxide, of which there are sixteen different types.  The best known of the iron oxides is probably hematite.

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Spider Webbing

The term “spider webbing” is used to describe turquoise with thin lines of matrix running throughout them, much like a spider’s web.