Things to know when buying Turquoise Beads

• Turquoise comes in many quality grades and many types. About 90% of the Turquoise in the market, American or Chinese, have been stabilized to improve the hardness since Turquoise is a very soft mineral with a hardness of 4-5. Without being stabilized, the beads would break easily. Stabilized turquoise may be green or blue depends on the color of the original rough. Some turquoise is reconstituted, or ground up into a powder and then made into what's called "Block Turquoise", and these beads may be misleadingly labeled as "natural turquoise".
• Wholesale turquoise beads come in strands of 16 inches or longer. Some very high quality turquoise beads and large pieces are sold individually and it's hard to get wholesale prices on them.
• There are some websites that have very low prices on their "Stabilized Turquoise" beads while those beads are merely Howlite beads. Howlite is a mineral that's mined very close to the the Turquoise mines and often have very similar characteristics as genuine Turquoise except that Howlite is naturally white. The absence of Copper is what makes the stone white instead of the green or blue of genuine Turquoise beads. These Howlite beads are then dyed into turquoise colors, and sold as substitutes of Turquoise beads. Because of the abundance of these Howlite stones, the prices of these beads are much lower when comparing to genuine Turquoise beads. These Howlite beads are often dyed into different colors when needed. Turquoise beads and Howlite beads can be compared on our website since we carry both of them.
• Turquoise beads only come in colors like green, blue, yellow; and they usually have black, brown or red veins that we call matrix running through the beads. I have seen websites that sell "Red Stabilized Turquoise" which makes it obvious that these beads are not real Turquoise.