Turquoise is a vibrant, unique gemstone that many argue was made to accentuate beauty. From necklaces to rings to earrings and beyond, women everywhere are wearing turquoise jewelry in both casual and formal settings as a stunning way to complement almost any outfit.
This is your comprehensive guide to turquoise jewelry and wearing it well. We’ll cover the different types, what to watch out for, and where to find the best selection and deals on both real and fake turquoise jewelry.
Read on if you’re considering buying some turquoise jewelry for a loved one – or just treating yourself!
What you should know about turquoise
When turquoise is a smart move
If you’re putting together an outfit with anything turquoise, you should stick with black, white, grey, and brown garments. Turquoise is a bright color and works well with basic colors, but has the potential to become a little “busy” if matched with other eye-catching bright ones. Of all the color combinations, brown (or a variant of brown) and turquoise tends to be the most popular.
If you have blue, brown, or hazel eyes, your natural colors will complement your turquoise jewelry, too.
And because turquoise pairs so well with neutral colors, it naturally pairs with many of the precious metals as well – gold, platinum, etc. There’s room for creativity and designers make full use of the gemstone’s color diversity by offering turquoise jewelry set in almost every type of metal.
Real vs. fake
Due to the popularity of the gemstone, manufacturers in China have been coming out with many variations of fake turquoise, and these variations are available almost everywhere you turn.
Fake turquoise can be made of 20+ different materials like dyed howlite or magnesite. These imitations can pass as turquoise to the untrained eye; however, the colors won’t be as vibrant and everything will look a bit more “cheap” – one will be the beauty of a natural gemstone and one will be the beauty of an overseas factory and fake materials.
You may see the terms reconstituted and block in your jewelry hunt – this is still fake turquoise. Manufacturers take a tiny amount of real turquoise and spread it out by mixing it with a heap of artificial fillers. Shady jewelry sellers will often try to say something is made with real turquoise – if they say this, know they’re talking about reconstituted or block turquoise and head directly for the door.
Types of real turquoise
In general, if you buy from an online retailer, department store, or jewelry store, you’ll be getting either high-grade natural turquoise, enhanced turquoise, wax-treated turquoise, or most commonly, stabilized turquoise.
- High-grade turquoise: Requires very little treatment to be wearable. Very little left in North America and you’ll have to pay a premium if this is what you want. Primarily used in wedding rings and luxury jewelry.
- Enhanced turquoise: Turquoise in middle of the quality scale that’s been hardened with the addition of quartz. Very common to see gems like this in department stores and other mid-range outlets for high, but not astronomical prices.
- Wax-treated turquoise: Similar to enhanced turquoise, except hardened wax is used to treat the gemstone. Slightly different coating from enhanced turquoise – it comes down to whichever you personally prefer.
If you get the real thing, you’re almost always going to be buying stabilized turquoise jewelry. “Stabilizing” a low-quality stone can make it look significantly better. So, manufacturers tend to use cheaper stones, stabilize them, and sell for mid-range prices – if you want a real piece of turquoise, this is a decent option that’s actually affordable to the average person.
How to determine turquoise quality
Turquoise is graded on a letter scale, with the highest rating being AAAA and the lowest rating being D.
- AAAA, AAA, and AA ratings are for high-grade turquoise – as explained above, there’s very little left in North America, and less than 1% of turquoise falls into this category. It’s worth exploring if you need turquoise for a very special gift, but otherwise, a lesser rating will be just fine.
- AA-, A, and B ratings are for your general turquoise offerings – you’ll see these at mainstream jewelry stores and department stores all across the world. In general, this quality is plenty for most people. The difference between AA- and B is pretty noticeable, so always be sure to confirm which grade you’re buying.
- C and D ratings are for low-end jewelry – here, you might be able to get a really good deal on a necklace, ring, or pair of earrings, but the gemstones won’t be as brilliant as if you opted for a higher level of quality. Save this low-end turquoise for your cheapo jewelry you don’t care about losing.
It’s relatively difficult for the untrained eye to gauge the quality of turquoise by look. It’s a beautiful gem, so even the lesser-quality gems (and even imitation gems) look pretty good.
Overall, you have to be watching for a distinct color and matrix makeup, but it would be useless to try and coach you on doing it yourself – that’s asking to get ripped off. We recommend buying from an established vendor who you know is selling you the real thing (no pawn shops) to avoid getting ripped off.
You will have no trouble finding an expansive selection of turquoise necklace options at any jewelry store, whether that’s in person or online. There are two main styles of wearing the gem with a necklace – either using the gemstone as a centerpiece with a higher grade of turquoise, or using it in a fashion necklace in combination with other necklaces and bracelets.
So, the first thing to decide is whether you want a piece of jewelry with turquoise in it, or a piece of turquoise jewelry.
Two examples are below:
- Linked fashion necklace: 14-20 low-grade or fake turquoise gems connected by a cheap chain, such as a sterling silver one. Great to add in with other pieces of jewelry; it may look a little “much” on its own unless worn in a casual setting.
- Pendant necklace with single gem: 1 high-end turquoise gem with a high-end chain, like gold or platinum. Perfect for formal occasions and whenever you want to look particularly classy.
In general, turquoise necklaces are the most expensive of the types of jewelry listed on this page because the gemstones are larger. That being said, turquoise is not the most expensive gemstone in the world – you can find real turquoise necklaces for $100 and even below on the suggested retailers at the end of this page.
Turquoise Engagement & Wedding Rings
When you need the best of the best for your lady, high-grade turquoise is where you will want to turn. Engagement and wedding rings with turquoise centerpieces are available from many of the more expensive chain jewelry store – one example being Tiffany’s.
If you’re buying a turquoise engagement ring and spending however much you spend, make sure you buy only from a real jewelry vendor like Tiffany’s or the ones listed at the end of this page. When there’s more money involved, individuals are more likely to fudge the details around its quality and where it was mined (another important factor in its aesthetic appeal).
Turquoise works so well with wedding rings because of how it complements basic colors – gold, platinum, or even sterling silver (for those on a budget) are all fantastic choices. Many people think pure turquoise gemstones look better than diamonds do – there are even imitation diamonds that try to mimic the look of turquoise!
Turquoise earrings are so popular because of the range of colors they’re available in. As long as you’re willing to do some digging, you can find earrings that are anywhere from the lightest and brightest to the darkest and most serious blue.
It’s easier to afford real turquoise earrings because the gems are smaller. Especially online, you’ll find plenty of reasonable earrings for sale, and of course, there are no shortage of fake earrings for you to sort through. In this case, we actually don’t mind the fake offerings – although you will know they’re fake, anyone making a quick glance won’t. The stones are too small for that.
Wearing the gemstone in earrings allows you to get creative with your other jewelry, namely your bracelets and necklaces. Wear more turquoise, add in other basic colors, or get wild with it and combine with other bright colors – it’s totally up to you. No matter what you choose, it’s hard to get turquoise wrong!
You might have a hard time finding a hue of real turquoise that matches your outfit or eye color perfectly. Rather, if you’re going for a specific look, you should either order a custom piece, or go for some variation of dyed howlite.
Dyed turquoise howlite is combined with green, purple, or white hues to produce variations of the classic turquoise color. You can use these variations and create more looks and styles than you could with the traditional light blue color.
Best places to buy
Etsy is the best choice for both real and fake turquoise jewelry. You can sort by type of jewelry, price, and more. Pick your options and sift through the thousands of results at your leisure.
Amazon and Overstock don’t necessarily have the most unique selections of turquoise jewelry, but they’re worth checking out. The sheer mass of listings on each site will suit almost any jewelry buyer.
Your local jewelry stores
Sometimes, especially for high-grade turquoise, you want to see it in person and try it on before dishing out hundreds or thousands of dollars. Dedicate a Saturday towards hitting the local jewelry stores in your area, like at the mall or the upscale part of your city. Who knows – you might find the perfect piece of jewelry, and you can often haggle the price down from what’s listed on the display case, too.
Beautiful, diverse, and affordable? Everyone loves turquoise for how well it complements neutral colors and makes the wearer shine. From necklaces to earrings to engagement rings, women can wear turquoise to stand out from the crowd and feel beautiful in whatever they’re wearing.
Just make sure you know the type of turquoise, the grade of turquoise, and most importantly, the reputability of the jewelry seller who has the piece you have your eye on. If you’d like to browse without worrying, scroll up to our recommended online vendors or visit a trusted jewelry store in your area today.