Calibrated turquoise is pretty common in the gemstone market today, but what does it actually stand for? When you hear the word calibrated coupled with the word turquoise, it makes you wonder how it actually works. Because turquoise is so soft and unique in color and pattern that it just can't be cut into the same size, or look exactly the same. Is calibrated turquoise real turquoise or made of resin or some other synthetic material?
What is Calibrated Turquoise
Calibrated turquoise is turquoise that is cut to fit standard size commercial gemstone jewelry mountings and settings, just like many gemstones that adhere to standard jewelry setting measurements, such as 7mmx9mm, 8mmx10mm, etc.
The nature of turquoise being relatively soft, therefore, even the highest grade natural turquoise needs to go through a certain enhancement (stabilization) process to be cut into precision without breaking.
The stabilization process was invented in the 50s in Arizona and was soon adopted globally. Essentially, the stone is put under pressure to absorb a clear epoxy filler which makes the stone much stronger to cut and polish.
Setting the record straight, calibrated turquoise does not mean it is fake. Stabilization is a necessary process to make natural turquoise hard enough to be shaped. In fact, the higher-grade natural turquoise is dense enough to be cut and shaped without too much enhancement. The higher the quality of the stone is, the less stabilization it undergoes. On the other hand, a softer and lower grade of turquoise needs to have more treatment and requires more stabilization.
In fact, calibrated turquoise can be more expensive than freeform turquoise cut from the same rough, because the yield rate of calibrated turquoise is so much lower, sometimes even below 10%.
Market of Calibrated Turquoise
The need for calibrated turquoise sprung as more jewelry makers want to have materials that possess the same size casting or bezels whenever they have top-selling styles that require personality and the same size - this is especially true with designer brands.
Some independent jewelry designers go for calibrated turquoise too whenever customers request for the same design, making it easier for jewelry-makers to produce more of the same.
Take for example turquoise earrings - designers love to use calibrated ones in order to achieve the same size for each pair, making their designs as symmetric as possible. Adding to that, traditionally, native designers love the same-sized materials when creating clustered flowers and squash blossom necklaces.
A lot more jewelry designers just simply like the small or unique sizes of the calibrated turquoise, and when paired with its natural unique color the jewelry piece is surely one of a kind!
Reconstituted and Fake Turquoise
Calibrated turquoise is well sought after in the market by jewelry-makers, silversmiths, metalsmiths, and the love for their process of standard fitting creation while keeping the uniqueness of each piece. In the meantime, natural calibrated turquoise stones are quite rare and difficult to cut due to different factors. You may have heard of depleting turquoise mines and mines that have uncooperative weather conditions that make it hard to produce a ginormous percent of yield. So there comes the presence of reconstituted and fake turquoise.
Reconstituted turquoise mixes crushed turquoise power with epoxy. Usually, there is very little natural stone in reconstituted turquoise, instead, it contains mostly resin and dyes.
Fake turquoise is the ones that do not even contain any turquoise presence. One of the most popular ways is by dying a Howlite to imitate the color of turquoise. You'd also be surprised by the amount of plastic-made imitation turquoise!
Luckily, there are ways and tell-tale signs in distinguishing if your turquoise piece is a fake. Think price, appearance (overall look), and color.
As most turquoise enthusiasts know, turquoise is of high value so if you see someone selling it for next to nothing, that’s just too good to be true! As for the appearance, if you have a natural stone make sure to do the fingernail test. Run your fingernail across the surface of the stone - once your fingernail gets caught on where the turquoise meets its webbing, you have a real one! You can also scratch your turquoise surface - if it scratches easily, it’s fake. Lastly, if your ‘turquoise’ is only dyed in Howlite, you can perform a nail polish remover test. Get a cotton ball and apply nail polish remover, apply some of it to an area of your stone - if it is just Howlite, it will render a blue color on your cotton ball.
At Turquoise Moose, we globally source natural turquoise roughs from reputable mines and most of the natural freeform turquoise are cut inhouse.
Our calibrated turquoise is sourced directly from mine owners - making sure that each piece meets our standards when it comes to color, shape, quality, and authenticity.
We never carry reconstituted turquoise or fake turquoise. Team Moose's every turquoise piece is one hundred percent genuine. We source directly from the mine owners, and we are equipped with onsite turquoise experts to check the stone authenticity.
All Moose freeform turquoise are natural turquoise without any enhancement. Our calibrated turquoise is cut from high-grade turquoise rough from reputable mines with minimal stabilization.
Our turquoise promise is if it’s Moose Certified, you can guarantee you’re getting only genuine turquoise.
Moose Calibrated Turquoise
Below are some of our handpicked calibrated products, currently available on turquoisemoose.com
Once you see stunning colors of dirty green, sky blue, to deep dark blue coupled with a sparse tan to brown web matrix, that’s the Tyrone turquoise!
These calibrated turquoise pieces with round and oval shapes can be combined with tarnished silver to get that wild and free look going!
photos contributed by @borealsilverjewelry on Instagram
This gorgeous turquoise variety typically displays a beautiful translucent blue, it may also come in lime green and sometimes a two-tone blue and green. Its matrix is a noticeable golden to brown ones.
You can elevate your next designs with calibrated Sonora turquoise in different shapes such as round, oval, and pear and pair it with any metal of silver or gold. Picture silver or gold and blue - it’s a match made in heaven and it is the new robins egg blue.
photos contributed by @karawkearney on Instagram
Carico Lake Calibrated
Known for its clear, iridescent, and spring lime green color, the Carico Lake stones also display dark blue-green colors and a black spider web matrix. Most turquoise collectors know how valuable Carico Lake turquoise stones are due to its stunning colors and scarcity.
Looking into designing a calibrated Carico Lake turquoise piece? Here’s a little tip: these are great if you want to make it the star of the show! Make it your centerpiece and voila! Amp up its beauty even more.
Green Egyptian Calibrated
The Green Egyptian turquoise was brought to the US in the early 2000s, it’s known for its distinctive color from other turquoise stones, with its notable dark matrixes. Due to its rarity, it’s one of the most sought-after turquoise pieces around.
With its small sizes and various shapes, metalsmiths can go for the wild and free look and use this with tarnished silver!
photos contributed by @littlefangsilver on Instagram
The Kingman turquoise ranges from pale green to blue, with red, brown, or yellow matrixes. This is known for its vibrant sky blue turquoise colors!
Kingman by default represents one of the largest turquoise operations in the United States. Unlike the other mines, the miners of Kingman are still mining actively. Calibrated Kingman turquoise is perfect to pair with any silver, gold, or another center stone!
New Lander Calibrated
This beautiful turquoise has a black spider web matrix and generally is light blue, white, or green. It often possesses a higher density because it is in fact a Chalcosiderite (a close group of mineral to turquoise).
Calibrated New Lander turquoise pieces with round and oval shapes are so fun to play around with. Adoring their translucency and clarity, jewelry artists can make just about anything with it - rings, bracelets, earrings, necklaces - you name it!
photos contributed by @nicoleannharing on Instagram
Prince Egyptian Calibrated
Mined from the Sinai Peninsula, the Prince Egyptian turquoise is notable for its variety of stunning blue colors with red and golden matrixes.
These beautiful blues of calibrated Prince Egyptian turquoise form with round and oval shapes are so good to pair with any silver or gold to make that color stand out!
Also known as the Cloud Mountain turquoise, the Yungai turquoise which originates from Hubei, Yungai is pretty known as the signature turquoise of Asia. Predominantly these are blue in color with a solid dark black matrix, and the material is quite hard.
Calibrated Yungai turquoise pieces in various shapes such as round, oval, rectangle, square, and moon, are perfect for pairing with any silver, gold, or another center stone!
photos contributed by @ blacksheepjewelrywv on Instagram
Ready to get started with Calibrated Turquoise? Explore our wide range of calibrated turquoise collections from different mines - available in different shapes and sizes!
If you are looking for one-of-a-kind freeform turquoise, check out our freeform turquoise collections, all-natural, and cut in house!
If you have any turquoise requests from different mines, or shapes and sizes, place a custom order with us!
And finally, don't forget to follow us on Instagram (@turquoise_moose) and share with us as well as our 18,000 fans your turquoise designs!