Sonoran gold

I’m planning to purchase one of the following Sonoran gold stones, being sold as fully natural and not stabilised. From the little you can tell from a picture, does this look to be the case?

Additionally, are these examples of high quality turquoise? I’m not sure what to look for for high quality other then some luster, and the “correct” colours for the mine. I was going to choose the ring finger stone - good choice?



Please share your thoughts!

The one on the ring finger would be my choice, also.
I little hard to tell which finger is which!
They are lovely!

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Thank you Stracci! Do they look like good quality turquoise pieces?

The variety is described as soft, and most of it is stabilized. Such material therefore is not high grade. As always, know your seller and what your goals are in your collecting.

[About Sonoran Gold Turquoise - Durango Silver Company](About Sonoran Gold Turquoise - Durango Silver Company

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I think it’s hard enough to know the produce let alone knowing the seller :slight_smile:

I’ve read on different links either that it’s either mostly stabilised or it’s about 50/50 because it’s still a relatively new find, it’s good stuff coming out of the ground. Welp, self educating in turquoise is hard!

I wish I could just have the benefit of experience and be able to tell these things by eye… without having to wait to gain the experience and wasting of £££ haha.

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Not to be daunting, but seeing images of a stone online isn’t by eye, and even in person it still takes years for connoisseurship. That’s what makes ID’ing tricky in a lot of cases from photos, esp. because turquoise types often share characteristics.

One basic to keep in mind is that the proportion of high grade and natural is very small, and normally a significantly higher price point, relative to the sea of offerings out there. So approach claims with caution and really look into it if this is a firm criterion.


Thank you, I know you’re right. There is no shortcut to gaining experience! It’s very frustrating especially as I do want to spend whatever I need to on the higher quality because I value untreated stones that much - but higher price really is a poor indicator of quality.

I’ve spent almost a full month now, obsessively looking at pictures of and reading about turquoise and I’ve come across such a range of prices, depending on what market you’re buying from (antique, modern American, British, western gallery pieces, actual peublo seller (with proof) that has direct linkes to mines, cuts and polishes his own stones etc etc) the prices vary a crazy amount.

What one person decides to put as a monetary value on the same piece of turquoise, depending on how much they may have spent on it, how fast they want it gone, how money motivated they are, what audience they’re selling to; really does vary.

And that’s without even starting on the ‘define expensive’ debate. All Turquoise is probably cheap to someone that’s used to buying diamonds and faceted gem grade gemstones, yet it’s probably pricy compared to someone whose idea of a luxury spend is a meal out.

So many factors :frowning: hence I figure my best bet is to get as familiar with what I’m looking at - as fast as I can!

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I wish buying turquoise was like the gold market where you have a baseline value to go by at least.

I HIGHLY suggest you look on the sites of reputable Southwestern shops/trading posts, such as Perry Null in Gallup NM. You could also look on museum store’s websites such as the Heard Museum in Phoenix or the Eiteljorg in Indianapolis IN (yes I am biased towards that one because it’s in my home state). I’m sure other people here can recommend other store sites. Even if you end up not shopping on those you will see what the prices are for the varying pieces. I also recommend Garland’s in Sedona, Arizona. I have other stores that I love, but I don’t know that they sell online. I think this is safer for you than just shopping all over eBay, etc.


I hear what you’re saying, but if turquoise was like gold, in my opinion, it would be boring, because it would all look the same. And you know what, I have quite a few beautiful pieces that have stabilized turquoise.

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Thanks for the store names I’ll check them out but tbh I don’t think they will help me for pricing. I’m in the UK and I’ve already checked out the legitimate NA galleries that we have, so I have that baseline for pricing. The pictures I’ve posted here are from online shops (hate eBay) with similar pricing, but coming back with feedback such as not as represented or could be stabilised (when seller says it’s not) so pricing really isn’t a good indicator of true representation.

I don’t mean it should all look like gold or look the same, but it’d be nice if the world could agree on a set £ amount as a baseline for turquoise per 1 gram or something haha! Like the worlds done with gold.

You can get a sense of the market by following the reputable rough dealers. They don’t publish graphs but they do publish retail prices, and look right there, you have Excel. :grin:


It’s really hard/can be impossible to tell if cabbed turquoise is stabilized just by looking at it, and even more difficult to to tell just by looking at pictures of it. Sometimes with raw or nugget turquoise you will see brownish clear stabilizing residue, but you won’t see that in a cab. I think the most reliable way to tell is to use spectroscopy, but of course most of us don’t have access to that. If it changes color over time it’s natural, but that doesn’t help us when we’re buying. If it has a very shiny glass-like surface, it might be a clue that it’s stabilized, but high grade natural stones can take a good polish too. I’ve heard people say that when you cut stabilized turquoise it has a telltale plasticky smell, but that also doesn’t help most of us who are not cutting our own turquoise. I think you might find this old thread helpful:

In it one of our members describes soaking cabs in water, if it darkens after a couple of hours with water penetration that means it’s not stabilized. That could be helpful if you’re buying stones; I haven’t tried it yet personally. Note he also mentions stones can falsely fail if they’re already impregnated with grease or oils.

So I know that it can be hard to “know your seller” as chicfarmer suggested, especially when you are just starting out, but really it is your best bet. Buy from reputable sources, and if possible directly from whoever mined and cut it because then their information will not be second hand. Another strategy would be to buy older jewelry. I don’t think stabilization was common until the 60’s, so any turquoise that was set before then should be natural. But then you have to learn to date jewelry, which is a whole other skill set. :slight_smile: Or again, just buy from knowledgeable, reputable dealers.


@OrbitOrange super helpful thanks so much. I had read that thread pre signing up but its nice to go through it again as a refresher! I lurked for about a week and read everything I could find here on this forum :slight_smile:

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If I could use this opportunity to ask for some reputable names of sellers on Etsy if anyone has any suggestions? I prefer Etsy for online shopping just purely from a consumer POV, I’m a bit more covered if anything goes wrong then I would be with direct websites.

I am looking for completely untreated high grade turquoise, beads or cabs or even set into jewellery. I just want to own an awesome (100% natural) piece of turquoise!! Not particularly after anything Native American.

FWIW, our daughter purchased a Verdy Jake (Navajo) cuff in Santa Fe last summer. She fell in love with its design and the stunning Sonoran Gold stones. A couple of months ago, one of the stones popped out and the reputable gallery we purchased it from reset the stone at no charge and paid shipping! There’s that word again, “reputable”.

Here’s the only photo I have of it when the loose stone was on walkabout. All is good now. Everyone is back home in their bezel. :slightly_smiling_face:


Lovely cuff. The problem is the definition of reputable. What is reputable? Being a vendor for 3 decades? Having thousands of sales? Thousands of positive reviews? All of that applies to the places I’m looking at turquoise… I’m still posting pics here and getting ‘it’s likely not what they’re saying’. So what exactly is reputable.

Think what this post refers to more then reputable is good aftercare. Again, good aftercare doesn’t mean a turquoise piece that’s sold as not treated, will be … not treated.

“Reputable” isn’t really as ambiguous as you imagine. In the fairly small and tight-knit community of turquoise and Native jewelry sellers, reputations are made and maintained, often over several generations–or not. In essence, such businesses are vetted by peers and buyers. In contrast is where I think you’re looking, a site like Etsy, where anyone can set up a shop and there’s no vetting whatsoever by peers or the site management, and each seller is siloed. Here you are on your own, basically. That’s fine, but it’s not the same.