Thursday, August 6, 2009

Turquoise

Dreams

Last night, it was a large octopus in a glass container. Shrug



Stone Minerals… Turquoise, in particular

So I mentioned about that last vendor Alex and I met at the bead show recently and how he was so straight-up regarding disclosure and he was also really knowledgeable. Anyway, one of the things he said that I actually remembered (whoohoo!) and that was news to me was in regards to Howlite.

I used to think dyed Howlite was the stone most often used to produce faux Turquoise, but it turns out Howlite isn't a very common mineral… and most fake Turquoise (and Lapis) are actually dyed Magnesite. BTW, Dolomite is pretty much the same thing as Magnesite from what I can tell.

If you buy something called "white turquoise", "white buffalo turquoise", or "white buffalo stone"… you may in fact be buying Howlite.

Wanna know about the different things that can be done to Turquoise ASIDE from faking it?

Chalk Turquoise: A very low grade of Turquoise that is dyed and infused with epoxies and/or other stabilizers.

Chinese Turquoise: Turquoise mined in the Hubei provence of China and usually enhanced with waxes and/or dyes.

African Turquoise: Not Turquoise. Some say it's Jasper, but I think it may also be dyed Magnesite.

Reconstitued Turquoise: Turquoise bits and/or powder are mixed with binder (glue/plastic/epoxy) and often dye and formed into Turquoise "pieces" or "beads".

Sleeping Beauty Turquoise: A beautiful, natural Turquoise with little to no matrix. If left untreated, it may change color as sun and/or body oils interfere with the stone.

Stabilized Turquoise: A plastic resin is injected into the cracks and crevices of low to medium grade Turquoise so that the stone is then more "stabilized". Stabilized Turquoise is not dyed. The stabilizing process may darken the stone, but it is a permanent color change and was not produced by dyed resin.

Wax-Treated Turquoise: Like stabilized Turquoise except that the treatment is more superficial (only affects the surface of the stone rather than any interior parts).

Yellow Turquoise: Again, not really Turquoise. Might be Jasper or Serpentine. The color MAY be natural (in lighter versions), but the stone is not Turquoise. Sometimes Magnesite is dyed yellow and sold as "Yellow Turquoise" (darker versions).

Okay, lemme see if I can dig up some photos of "Turquoise" that I've worked with over the years so you can see some examples (that aren't pilfered from the internet).

Okay, here's an example of "Yellow Turquoise". There was a big craze for this about five years ago… and there was much internet debating amongst the jewelry makers whether it was really Turquoise or not…




And here's some VERY dyed Chalk Turquoise...




Here's some of the "Yellow Turquoise" that definitely looks like it's from the non-dyed variety (of Jasper)...




Here are some lovely pieces that, as far as I can tell, are genuine Stabilized Turquoise...




And here...




Chalk Turquoise (and dyed Dolomite imitating Lapis)...





Hubei Turquoise...




Chalk Turquoise and Stabilized Turquoise...




Most likely Reconstituted Turquoise...




Dyed Magnesite...




And "African Turquoise" (aka Jasper)...




One thing you can do if you suspect your Turquoise beads are dyed (and if you want to see how well or not they are dyed), leave them overnight in a glass of water. What color is the water when you wake up?

You can also sacrifice a bead. Cut or break one in half and see what the interior of the bead looks like. If the color is even all the way through, it may not be dyed. If, however, you see white splotches, particularly closer to the center, you can bet it's dyed.

Oh, and a lot of vendors try to play dumb by pleading ignorance. "This is what I was told by my supplier." Just as we jewelry makers have to take the initiative to learn about the products we work with, so should the gemstone vendors. I'm not saying I've never been duped. Not at all. But I do try to maintain a good working knowledge of my supplies.


Comments

Kevin Ian said... Hi Laura,

I'm sorry your recent shopping experience at Artfire wasn't up to par. There may have been some issues with browser compatibility (It looks like you were using IE6). These issues should be corrected and the pages should render correctly in IE6.

I'm very sorry for the inconvenience this caused you and hope you'll be back to visit soon,

Kevin
ArtFire.com



I can't find a blog for Kevin, but his profile states: "I lead the social media team here at ArtFire as the head of member engagement."

Hi Kevin. Thanks for commenting on my post. Yes, I was using IE6 on computer #1 (the one that showed the whacked out scenario). However, I'm thankful to report that today I tried again on the same computer and everything looks normal. Whew! I breathe a sigh of relief as I am also a seller on ArtFire and don't want shoppers to have an unpleasant experience.

I'm glad ArtFire is working out as many reported bugs as possible, but there are definitely some things that I see month after month that are annoying enough to keep me away even as a seller.

Are you understaffed?

Well, bugs or no bugs, I hope you don't go the way of Etsy or eBay. We're all counting on you. I did lose some confidence recently though when it was brought to my attention that some sellers on ArtFire have completely erroneous gemstone listings and I offered my services to the ArtFire team. Two emails later and I have to assume you don't wish to address the matter. Both times I was told, "We'll be in touch". A few months have passed.


mclainjewelry said... I suppose the irony is that artfire boasts its rapidcart checkout ... blech

I have an artfire... but not using it at the moment

love love love the pic of gabe, git and gato

as far as grammar goes ... keep it .. I have given up proper typing,punctuation,and grammar for Lent... uh PERMANENT lent... take me as I am ... I type like I talk... one great big run on sentence... old age gives me this entitlement ( I said so)

I guess I will bop over to Made It Myself, also and take a gander

I am personally glad you are back from your globetrotting and posting more ... see I got all spoiled when ya had the Ebay discussion group.... you are someone I appreciate as a fellow artist in this crazy web world... so (by the way) thank you!



Ha! I know what you mean about the grammar thing. I'm torn. I see the trend (what with texting and IM'ing, and kids not really caring about grammar, etc), but I also feel that certain things should at least be KNOWN (like "well" versus "good", "infer" versus "imply", etc). But… it's probably a lost art soon, so I'll probably join you in the last of who cares very shortly.

Thanks for letting me know you read my blog. I do miss the eBay discussion group… but near the end it was like pulling teeth… which is also how I feel about the SRAJD one and the ArtFire one. For all the yappy people in the world, it sure is hard to get a good forum going… sheesh!



mclainjewelry said... I am back

Made It Myself does not impress me

clicked on a featured seller of jewelry.. top price was 30 dollars

then I listed jewelry highest to lowest ... nothing at the top run looked either original, smithed, or cool

... and I have a real pet peeve ... the way they structure the price .. they post a higher price and then the "real" or "sale" price ... such a contrivance fools no one and diminishes the perceived worth of all the pieces.



Ah, thanks for saving me the time/trouble of looking at it. You're actually the second person to tell me pretty much the same thing.

Have you looked at NativeMotif yet?

2 comments:

  1. I just went and peeked at NativeMotif ... I am glad it is juried and I liked what I saw... but I am not sure I would be comfortable with how they work... for those who have not looked yet here are their terms:

    General Process Overview

    * Pricing: a) You set a competitive wholesale price including your projected packaging/materials costs. b) You set a suggested retail price. c) NativeMotif.com sets the final retail price.
    * Receiving Orders: Orders are forwarded to you via email by the NativeMotif Staff who manage the relationship between you (the artist) and the customer.
    * Shipping: You ship directly to the customer from your home or studio. NativeMotif pays for shipping upfront, we will send you pre-paid postage via email for you to print and ship. We currently use USPS & UPS. For oversized items, special shipping options can be made available.
    * Payment: Based on the Artists Return Policy choice, the Artist will be paid anywhere from 8, 15, or 31 days after shipment has been received. NativeMotif.com pays you (the artist) the wholesale price agreed upon. (More detailed information is available for those who qualify)


    so ... the final price is set by THEM ... they get the money first , then pay you.... hmmm I will keep an eye peeled to see how sales are going for folks.... also I thought at first it was for Native American work (old term = Indian) and though I have a Cherokee great grandmother... I found out very rapidly when I lived in Santa Fe that the one drop theory does not pertain to the Native American community... so I didn't go there.
    Now I see that they mean made in America.

    here is a copy paste of their pricing strategy:
    General Process Overview

    * Pricing: a) You set a competitive wholesale price including your projected packaging/materials costs. b) You set a suggested retail price. c) NativeMotif.com sets the final retail price.
    * Receiving Orders: Orders are forwarded to you via email by the NativeMotif Staff who manage the relationship between you (the artist) and the customer.
    * Shipping: You ship directly to the customer from your home or studio. NativeMotif pays for shipping upfront, we will send you pre-paid postage via email for you to print and ship. We currently use USPS & UPS. For oversized items, special shipping options can be made available.
    * Payment: Based on the Artists Return Policy choice, the Artist will be paid anywhere from 8, 15, or 31 days after shipment has been received. NativeMotif.com pays you (the artist) the wholesale price agreed upon. (More detailed information is available for those who qualify)


    ........................................

    We shall see.

    ReplyDelete
  2. You're still using IE6? Holy crap--upgrade.

    I dropped IE for Firefox earlier this year--I prefer Firefox. You should at least download IE7.

    ReplyDelete