Jewel How

How to Identify Raw Turquoise

Did you know that most of the turquoises you see every day are actually fake? So, how do you identify raw turquoise in the first place? The good news is that there are several things you can check to help you determine if what you have is raw turquoise or a fake one.


Turquoise has an incredible color that is known to come from the combination of various things that naturally occur in the environment. The primary contributor to that blue color you see in turquoise is none other than the copper contained in the stone. Once this gets mixed with water, phosphorus, and aluminum, this is when you will get turquoise. Obviously, this is only a simplified explanation of what happens but you could get a good idea of what happens.

However, it is important to remember that any difference in the amount of the said elements can change the turquoise stone’s color. And this is why it can be very hard to look for raw turquoise in nature perfectly uniform with equally distributed color.

Fingernail Polish Test

Be warned: this way of identifying raw turquoise might end up damaging your stone if you have a dyed turquoise in the first place. For this particular test, you need a tissue or cotton ball and nail polish remover. Use the tissue or cotton ball to apply an amount of nail polish remover on an inconspicuous part of the stone, like the side or back. You will see the blue color on the cotton ball or tissue if your stone is only dyed and not really raw turquoise.

Overall Appearance or Look

One more thing that will help you identify raw turquoise is to check the overall appearance or look of the stone using the fingernail and scratch trick.

Scratch Test

With the scratch test, you can determine how hard your stone is. Fake turquoise is much softer than raw turquoise. You can use this fact to your advantage if you want to know if your turquoise is raw or fake.

All you have to do here is to see if your stone gets scratches easily. A specimen that scratches easily might not be raw. If you find it hard to scratch the stone, there is a big chance that you have a raw turquoise in hand.

Fingernail Test

The fingernail test is a method that can be used on rough natural stones. Run your fingernail along the stone’s surface. If your nail gets caught on the spot where the webbing matrix and turquoise meets, there is a big chance that what you have is indeed raw turquoise.


You have surely heard that if something is too good to be true, it probably is. This old saying is also applicable to turquoise jewelry and turquoise gemstones. If you have come across a particular turquoise stone that doesn’t cost you that much or comes with a bargain price, it is very possible that you are not looking at raw turquoise.

What is Fake Turquoise?

To make sure that you know how to distinguish between raw turquoise and fake turquoise, you have to know what a fake turquoise is in the first place.

Fake turquoise is in fact an absorbent white mineral known as howlite. Howlite is a super absorbent mineral that could be dyed in almost all colors you can imagine. And when the process of coloring is done right, it might become very hard for you to know if you have a fake or raw turquoise.

Turquoise rock

An Overview of the History of Turquoise

Both the Egyptians and the Chinese had this fondness for turquoise. It was even discovered that turquoise was carved by the artisans in China more than 3,000 years ago.

The largest turquoise market in the world was found in Persia, or the modern day Iran. Around 2,000 years ago, the people there traded the gorgeous gemstone that can be found in the nearby mountains in the area.

The Persians had a belief that the turquoise stone’s blue color was a representation of the heavens. This is why if you will look around modern day Iran, you will notice that most of the places of worship and temples have turquoise embedded in the entrance.

Turquoise stone also caught the eyes of the native American Indians. Evidence shows that Navajo Indians had ancient turquoise mines. The Navajo Indians even made the turquoise stone as the central focus of several of their beliefs. Among the said beliefs was that the rain will fall if turquoise stone is thrown in a river.

Through the years, turquoise has served as the pinnacle of handcrafted adornments and jewelry among numerous cultures all over the world. Its green and deep blue colors are renowned far and wide for their appearance that never fails to catch the eyes of onlookers. Also, depending on the specific locality, there are also some turquoise nuggets that may include some complimentary minerals that further make the mineral rarer, more coveted, and more valuable.

But as expected, with the popularity of turquoise stone came the rise of imitations as well. In fact, turquoise is among the most commonly imitated or faked minerals in the market right now, with most of these either dyed howlite or just downright plastic. Good thing that you can use the above factors to look for or tests to help you determine if you have fake or raw turquoise.

The Bottom Line

It is not a secret how easy it is to get swindled when you are surrounded with beautiful stones. Hopefully, the above tips on how to identify raw turquoise can help you keep yourself safe from becoming a victim of frauds or swindlers. As always, when something is too good to be true, it probably is. If the turquoise doesn’t pass the tests mentioned above, it only means that what you have is not really a raw one. Always be mindful and vigilant to make sure that you can keep your money protected at all costs.