Still waiting to hear about your store…
Yes, I forgot to mention that trust and rapport is a vital part to the transaction process.
Also, eBay is very, very pricey, these represent the more “high-end” prices. Much of my stock comes out of flea markets and antique stores, so I am able to buy cheaper. Unfortunately, I had no Asian turquoise in stock to photograph, so eBay was my only option, lol!
Thank you for you comments my friend
Excellent post! Everyone mentions the Chinese connection but no one seems to really get down to the details! Thanks for the insight!
Thank you for the feedback, Battin3 it is much appreciated!
Just read this after all of this time. Great information and I have to say, I am seeing better and better quality items for export coming from China. My auction group has a member who would not buy something that was marked China until there was that one piece that he couldn’t say “no” to. lol. On a side note, The bead of mine you posted turns out was Persian. I still have it. I use it for my ceiling fan pull. Smacks me in the head from time to time. lol.
Great post and really fair commands on Chinese turquoise. I’m from Hubei and so glad to see a objective overview on Chinese turquoise. I’ll bring in my two cents about Chinese turqoise.
One big new about the current state of Chinese turquoise (specificly Hubei turquoise) is the government enforced to close down mining operation this month. I think this time is for real. All the newly mined Hubei turquoise in these few years are come from unofficial mining (stealing) and the local government decided to close them down completely. (they are saying it is for environmental reasons.) So I’m expecting the price for high quality Chinese turqoise will go sky high within a few months. I’m starting to see domestic price went higher already. With the addition of local demand increase, I’m hardly seeing any good quality new pieces in US markets lately.
last but not least, since I only collect Chinese turquoise, let me show you a few newer pieces. these were all came from my local connection in rough and I made them into the finished cabs.
Thanks for that great information. I have been looking to purchase some, so if you know anyone please let me know!
Great article! The only additions I can make is that the demand for Chinese turquoise was driven by the boom in turquoise jewelry (70’s-early 80’s).
The high demand and low supply of US turquoise (which is relative now that there are significantly fewer US mines than in the 80’s) drove demand for more turquoise imports.
The Chinese have always valued less matrix (as does most of the world). They would discard all of the turquoise with matrix as worthless. Someone put one and one together (America prefers matrix, China discards matrix) and Chinese turquoise was used in Native American jewelry.
Finally, very similar to the Native American jewelry “heist”, unscrupulous players entered the market with “cheapies”. Natural turquoise became stabilized turquoise (both are real turquoise). However, as the need to meet different price points, especially in the low cost area, “turquoise jewelry” started using real turquoise substitutes like block or plastic (not real turquoise). A lot of the plastic and block was Chinese in origin.
So, people remember the “fake” turquoise flood from China and align “Chinese turquoise” with “fake turquoise”.
As we can see, however, China has some of the highest grade turquoise in the world. The real turquoise, both natural and stabilized from China has been used in Native American made and southwest style (made in the style, but not necessarily made by a person of Native American descent).
Of course, this Is just my conjecture.
I forgot to add that today we have the internet. It has really helped educate the public. There are more pics of turquoise online than I am sure were ever published in books. It is also nice because some of the mines have sites and it is easy to find a “classic” piece as an example.
I have some beautiful beads that I purchased at my local lapidary club’s annual show. A gentleman had his bead strands from Hubei, where he was from. However, they were purchased with the knowledge they were Hubei. The more education we have, the happier we are with our baubles.
I actually don’t know a lot about the different Chinese mines and identifying the unique characteristics of each mine. Do you have examples of a few mines and the key characteristics for identifying Chinese turquoise?
I think it would really help people also delineate “fake” turquoise from some of the beautiful high grade Chinese turquoise you have been showing.
Just a thought…
I’ll try my best to point out some of the major mines and their typical characteristics but please keep in mind that any mines can produce top class material and they also produce LOTS of so-so materials, and by saying characteristics, I mean characteristics for typical top class material from different mines.
Cloud Temple mine
This is probably THE MOST FAMOUS Chinese mine, but unfortunately it has been closed for almost 15 years (at least that’s the official status of the mine). It used to produced the best quality materials both for neat chunk and beautiful black matrix spiderweb materials. For its spiderweb materials, it looks just like the Lander Blue if not better in my point of view. The key characteristics are the high hardness and pure deep blue color.
Ya Jiao Shan Mine
This mine is still producing very small amount of materials and the quality of the new materials from this mine is way worse than before. We will focus on the characteristics in its peak era. The raw materials usually not too big but it is hard and very few matrix. The color is more greenish blue. For the polished piece, it shows a gel-like shine which is high desirable. Chinese people love to use this kind of materials for making beads. (usually very expensive beads)
Dong Zi Gou Mine
This mine is famous for its pure blue material. Compare to Cloud Temple, this mine produce materials slightly brighter in color but very hard and take the polish extremally well. It has been closed for a few years but you still can get them on the market. Materials from this mine is my personal favorite.
Qin Gu 808 Mine
The big thing for this mine is its huge production capability. Usually the material from it has a bluish green color. It is more green than blue. I’ve seen all kinds of good materials from this mine and people frequently see high quality materials from this mine as the other famous mine’s materials.
Yao Jia Po Mine
This mine is famous for its one of its kind lime green turquoise. As far as I know, the only other place which can produce similar material is in the US, but this mine’s production is very small and it has been depleted for years now.
Jin Long Shan Mine
This mine produces very hard intense blue materials. Usually it contains very few matrix and highly crystalline (if you shine strong light to it, the light can go through some thinner area).
@wjuanxp I’ve been told that I have several pieces of Chinese Turquoise that were sold to me as American. I’m not bothered by it as I bought the pieces for their beauty. I find myself drawn to Chinese Turquoise quite often. I appreciate your write up. Does the piece below look like it comes from Yao Jia Po Mine? It has other colors mixed in with the lime green. Thank for your help.
Thanks for writing this informative article. No I know why I was having trouble finding turquoise like that in my cuff. When the mine has been shut a long time it’s hard to find comparisons.
this could be from any of those mines. the lime green needs to be fresh or even Flourecent a bit to be Yao Jia Po. (from these few pictures, this particular piece might not be very high quality material, since the reflection is more of a wax like appearance instead of glass or china like)
there are still so many “Not-so-famous” little mines out there and they still produce some really nice ones, but just not at the previous production scale.
This site is wonderful; where have you been my whole life!
Doesn’t look like it. This looks like older blue turquoise that has gone green over time. This is a look many of us love.