“Mojave Turquoise”

Please tell me what you know about “Mojave Turquoise”. My internet searching has been confusing at best.

I found this ring at T.J. Max for $35, and liked it enough to wear it, the tag said “genuine Mojave Turquoise and Sterling” and it is stamped “YS 925 INDIA” But I’d like to know what “Mojave Turquoise actually means.

![image|281x500](upload://wj6CkBMthCMGmJSxrTeSwTPydMp.jND even my untrained eye can see that the stone is cracked all the way down, and is stabilized.

I believe “Mojave” is a trade name or brand name of a type of compressed/composite material made with turquoise and sometimes other materials (copper or bronze particles to mimic matrix, too), often dyed in a variety of colors, then all glued and compressed together before being cut into cabs for setting. Sometimes you see it called “copper turquoise.”

It’s a matter of taste, if you like the look of it or not. I think it’s probably an economical way of making something flashy looking from offcuts or pieces too small to cab. I know there are a few Native makers who do use it, but i think the majority that I’ve see has been in imports.


also - that’s a cute ring! Enjoy it.

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Ebay has quite a lot of this material and this type of ring, if you want to see more (and see prices if you search Sold listings). It’s new on the market, popular in Indian/Asian imported costume-level jewelry, sometimes dyed green or purple as well as the traditional turq coloration.

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USA source: https://www.kingmanturquoise.com/shop/pressed-composite-bricks

Thank you all. Everything I’ve found online seems to communicate that Mojave Turquoise is some form of either composite or stabilized turquoise. I remember the tag said “genuine Mojave turquoise” and I believe it is unethical to sell turquoise labeled “genuine” if it’s a composite (?)

I’m confused about all this, because I watched a YouTube video about turquoise that said that stabilized turquoise can be labeled genuine, even though chemicals (basically plastics if I’m not mistaken) have been added (??)

I’m confused! :joy:

Many types of gemstones are treated or stabilised to make them suitable for jewelry. Topaz is commonly irradiated to improve color, emeralds are treated to minimize the appearance of internal flaws… they are still genuine gemstone. the word you have to watch out for is “natural” when it comes to turquoise, as it is completely unethical to call a piece natural if it has been treated/stabilised/dyed/compressed with other materials. Most (95%? idk) turquoise on the market these days is stabililsed because much of it is too soft to be used to jewelry without some form of treatment. Super hard NATURAL gemmy material is very expensive for jewelers to use.

compressed turquoise however, IS turquoise - just not the way it came out of the ground. the best you can do to avoid confusion is educate yourself, understand how quality effects price, and what to look out for in Native American work (if that is what you plan to collect).

the phrase “genuine Mojave turquoise” cracks me up - it’s like saying this is a GENUINE box of Kleenex! yes, it may be genuine Mojave, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s some rare treasure. The seller is using a marketing ploy to convince you that the name Mojave has inherent value.


Following up on @Jemez22, yes, learning about processes and grades will be important if you want to understand your purchases. Composite “turquoise” is a world apart from stabilized turquoise: composite has some degree of turquoise in it–powder, chip, flake–while the other is a turquoise stone.


In my opinion, there is a distinction between REAL turquoise and NATURAL turquoise. Stabilized and Enhanced are REAL but have resins or color added. The resins in Stabilized will darken the color and prevent it from changing over time. Composite (or Compressed) is made from small pieces of turquoise bonded together and therefore are considered REAL. Mojave or Copper Turquoise COULD be real (but unlikely) turquoise, most commonly Howlite or Magnesite infused with metals, dyes or chemicals to change the appearance (think green or purple). Block or Reconstituted is arguably NOT REAL since it is a powder infused with resins and color and completely man made (even if the powder is from turquoise). I don’t have the bookmark handy but believe the IACA has legal definitions for the 5 types of recognized turquoise.


Composite isn’t “real” if you mean falling within the category of real turquoise. Turquoise is a mineral mined from the earth with specific properties, including hardness etc. Composite, a manmade, technologically produced material, is “real” only in the sense that it exists and is not fictitious. It is not turquoise the rock, and it’s a shame that merchandising laws don’t really address this, misleading many.

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Composite or Compressed being turquoise rock, not ground turquoise powder as found in block. If you take 2 natural nuggets and glue them together, they are still real turquoise rock vs reconstituted. I grant the terminology is confusing but I think we are saying the same thing unless you believe the 2 nuggets glued together are no longer ‘real turquoise’.
Actually it becomes more confusing since there are legal terms that differ from state to state as well as Federal as I am now learning. Here’s one link referring to this: https://www.sfreporter.com/news/coverstories/2013/08/13/how-to-spy-a-turquoise-lie/
“Here in New Mexico, ‘natural’ is a legal term for turquoise,” says Cheryl Ingram, Silver Sun’s gallery owner and a member of IACA.


Fundamentally, for most of us as consumers and collectors, the question comes back to: what do we need to know, what do we want to own as we face a large and often unregulated retail environment. Do we want our ring to have one single mined stone with integrity, or a blended thing that’s the result of fabrication with polymer? The only wrong answer here is when it gets into deception by sellers.

I was curious enough about the composite question to look further and turned up a useful and interesting read from a GIA expert. Having trouble linking: it’s a PDF. Note that the writer calls composite stuff “turquoise” in quotation marks–distinguishing it from what is accepted as actual turquoise.

So terminology wise, I still dispute that “real” is the correct adjective for composite turquoise. I’d just say it’s composite turquoise and leave “real” for, well, turquoise.

### A New Type of Composite Turquoise - GIA
https://www.gia.edu › doc › A-New-Type-of-Comp…


by G Choudhary · 2010 · Cited by 4 — Some of the turquoise has veins or “matrix” material composed of a gold-colored polymer with fragments resembling pyrite/marcasite. The composite turquoise can be identified by its microscopic appearance, UV fluorescence, spectroscope spectrum, and FTIR features.


I agree with you 100% that what it is really about is what we, as buyers and/or collectors want! I was trying to put some of the marketing terms in perspective with the existing legal terms but have failed to do so yet! If I can find the reference I first alluded to I will post it here.

:joy::+1: I hear ya! I think I’m beginning to get it. So, “genuine turquoise” is usually not “natural turquoise”.

And “genuine Mojave Turquoise” is akin to “genuine 14K WHITE gold” (mostly nickel) .

Glad you’re enjoying the journey! “Genuine” is primarily a marketing adjective, whereas “natural” has both legal and gemological meaning, and a seller can be held responsible if she/he sells something as natural but it isn’t.

Again, it’s good to take the time to read up on the various states of turquoise used.


(except 14k white gold isn’t mostly nickel)

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Interesting read from AZ laws regarding turquoise definitions.