What Is Reconstituted Turquoise
The name reconstituted turquoise might not sound familiar to the casual gem buyer, but the volume of reconstituted turquoise gems that is produced and sold is quite high. What this obviously means is that, many sellers of such turquoise gemstones do not provide complete information to buyers. It has always been our view that, a clear and complete disclosure proves beneficial to the buyer and the seller. While this might not be immediately visible in the short term, the industry as a whole stands to benefit in the long term with such fair practices. The explanation for the question, what is reconstituted turquoise is really not that complicated - it is quite easy to understand.
When any gemstone is mined, you would have grades of rough stone. The top quality would be gem quality rough that will yield very good quality gems when cut and polished. The quality that follows would also be gem quality but perhaps, not as clear or as good as the top quality. You would then end up with a rough grade that is just about usable, some might call it gem quality and others might disagree. All these three grades of rough stone make an entry into the gems and jewelry market. At the bottom of the spectrum and lower than the three grades would be rough that is quite bad in terms of quality, it is something that even low end wholesale jewelry manufacturers would not touch. This logic of grading works for most gems including turquoise.
So the turquoise rough that is of very low grade and surely not of gem quality, would ideally be discarded. Gem manufacturers try to give some life to this turquoise rough too. What follows is some rather drastic or desperate form of processing, you cannot refer to this as gemstone treatment - you will know why this is so in a moment. The low grade turquoise rough is ground to a fine powder, this as you can see destroys the gemstone as it has now disintegrates into another form (powder). Resins and plastics are then heated to melt and become liquid, dyes are added to the melted material. At this point, the turquoise that is powdered is added to the melted mixture, the whole material is then stirred to form a near homogenous mass. On cooling, the mixture hardens and you could say that this is, reconstituted turquoise rough.
Since the basic material which is a solid rock is broken into a powder and then, remade into a solid, the term reconstituted has rightly been applied here. Any gem expert would prefer to leave reconstituted turquoise out of the list of turquoise gems or natural turquoise gems. We are of the opinion that, reconstituted turquoise needs to be very thoroughly explained to the buyer. The seller should hold nothing back and not attempt, to cover up the issue by giving some fancy or even confusing names to such turquoise.
As you might expect, reconstituted turquoise is cheap, things begin to get ugly when sellers try to sell such turquoise as dyed turquoise, stabilized turquoise or turquoise by any other name. We have come across such reconstituted turquoise gemstones where, the black or dark veins within the gem are also made - the idea is to mimic natural turquoise gems of a higher quality. The entire process of producing reconstituted turquoise is vague, no fixed proportions of plastic, resin, glues or dyes are maintained. There is therefore no way to predict or estimate the durability or even stability including color stability of reconstituted turquoise gemstones.
The above report on reconstituted turquoise has been compiled to educate and inform, we do not aim to firghten turquoise gemstone buyers. The objective is to let you know what you could get when you shop for turquoise gems. Sellers generally are a little more careful when they realize that, they are dealing with buyers who have some knowledge about the gems being discussed.
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