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Chinese Turquoise

Does anyone know a source for good quality Chinese Turquoise rough.
I have a customer who has a customer who would like a bracelet made
but don’t have the rough myself. It nmust be natural and


Try the Turquoise Museum in Albuquerque New Mexico It’s a
business.Bill from Long Island

good quality Chinese Turquoise 

Now there’s an oxymoron! “Good quality” and "Chinese turquoise"
probably shouldn’t be used in the same sentence. Especially when you
add on that it must be natural and untreated! Seek out some domestic
material… Cripple Creek, Sleeping Beauty, Morenci, etc. It will be
vastly superior, and you can be confident that “natural” translates
to “untreated” when purchased from a reputable supplier.

P.S. I recently bought some gorgeous natural Sleeping Beauty
turquoise from New Era Gems:
I have also recently become a fan of Galarneau’s Gems:

All the best,
Dave Sebaste
Sebaste Studio and
Carolina Artisans’ Gallery
Charlotte, NC (USA)

derek -

a source for good quality Chinese Turquoise rough. I have a
customer who has a customer who would like a bracelet 
  • nail down what kind of ‘chinese turquoise’ the customer wants; i
    have seen at least 30 different shades of 20 different varieties in
    one shipment - most natural, but some dyed - from yellow through a
    deep blue. if you do the ordering also specify that all material be
    from the same variety & shade of color - believe me you will get
    enough difference in one group to keep the design from being static
    (my worst criticism of any design is “static”).

good luck -

Derek, Why bother with chinese turquoise? there is plenty of great
stuff from right here in the good ole US of A - Natural and
unstabilized and HARD (7+ no kidding) Contact me off list, I’ll put
in touch with the mine. later, Mark

Natural Turquoise with a hardness of 7+…come on now ! Five and a
half…maybe, six…not likely…seven…not yet, but, seven
plus…never ! About the only way you can possibly get something
resembling turquoise with this level of hardness would be for the
Turq to be included in chalcedony, much the same as “gem
chrysocolla” is actually chalcedony colored with chrysocolla.

As for Chinese Turquoise, lets give credit where credit is due. Much
Chinese Turquoise is gorgeous spiderwebb material…a type which is
sadly scarce in our American product. Furthermore, the Chinese
usually simply treat Turquoise with parrafin and that is mostly to
enhance its coloration. Our own treated Turquoise,( about ninety
fiive percent of what we produce) is essentially plastic and very
often heavily dyed. One of our own highly renowned Turquoises, Lone
Mountain nugget, was usually treated by rubbing it with black shoe
polish which gave it a faux spiderwebb effect and also altered the
coloration because of the wax in the polish.

The Bad Boys Of Cripple Creek Mining Co. has based their reputation
on having the hardest turquoise known, and it’s true! Perhaps you
should try their website: : . It is
very educational. This stuff takes a polish you won’t believe! Easily
the best TQ I have ever seen and one of the best kept secrets in the
gemstone business. (till now) A few years ago the Chinese tried to
buy their entire production. If you really like that fake spiderweb
keep your shoe polish handy ! (Never say “Never”) P.S. Usual
disclaimers apply - just a very satisfied customer. (Tell them I sent
you maybe I can get a discount next time) :slight_smile:

Mark Thomas Ruby
SunSpirit Designs
Loveland, CO
970 669-7075

I think the basic issue here is that the hardness claims of the
producers are fraudulent. I am familiar with Colorado Turquoise and
don’t fault it…but, any good Turquoise will take an excellent
polish and that polish is directly related to its porosity. Nearly
all Turquoise mines produce a wide range of qualities. Turquoise,
like all commodities, is subject to the marketplace dynamics of
supply and demand and, unfortunately, price is the most important
dynamic of all…this is why the most widely used Turquoise in
America is the crappy plasticized junk…price rules the mass
marketplace !

Yes, some of the Turquoise from Colorado, is as good as any, but
that does not justify bashing the other guys’ product. If it is as
good as you think it is it should stand on its’ merits. Furthermore,
it also does not justify making false claims about hardness. Ron at
Mills Gem, Los Osos, CA.

Ron, I’m very familiar with the Bad Boys of Cripple Creek turquoise,
having cut a great deal of it. It’s really as hard as they say. I
believe it does have a high silica content. Check for a Dec/00 or
Jan/01 Lapidary Journal article about the Bad Boys.

Karen Hemmerle
Boulder, CO

Okay… back into the fray! The bottom line is that there are
consumers for flea market quality turquoise and there are consumers,
I call them “clients”, who appreciate the difference between crap and
premium material. One must identify his (or her) market and have an
appropriate product. If you’re into making $1.75 products, so be it!
I hope you sell thousands of 'em.

I am truly delighted to see turquoise (quality stuff) becoming
popular again. I’m going to start doing some new pieces in turquoise
and gold. I hope the trash that killed the turquoise craze in the
’70s doesn’t kill the current wave of appreciation as it did in the

My $.02,


Dave Sebaste
Sebaste Studio and
Carolina Artisans’ Gallery
Charlotte, NC (USA)

Dear Karen, How hard is hard ? Representations have been made that
some of the Colorado Turquoise exceeds seven in hardness. Obviously,
if you were to scratch the face of a cabochon made from this
material, using a sharp piece of crystalline quartz ,there would be
no abrasion of the Turquoise. Have you performed this test? I would
wholeheartedly agree with anyone that both Turquoise and Variscite
have a wide range of hardness, but I have never seen any of either
that would even approach quartz in hardness. I have mined and cut
Turquoise over a forty year span, but I am ready and willing to
accept proof of there being a Turquoise as hard or harder than
Quartz. ( especially the latter ! ) Meanwhile I remain a skeptic. You
mention that the Colorado Turquoise may have a high silica content.
If , indeed, it does have a high enough silica content to acheive a
hardness of seven it is no longer Turquoise, but, rather, a form of
silica containing Turquoise. I mentioned before that the so called
"gem chrysocolla" is NOT chrysocolla, but, rather, chalcedony
(quartz) colored by chrysocolla. If you were to 'scope said material
you would easily see that there are microsopic globules of the
chrysocolla finely disseminated throughout the chalcedony. Locally
we have a good illlustration of the same phenomenon wherein some of
the old mercury mines produced myrickite. This material is an
admixture of opal and chalcedony containing microscopic globules of
cinnabar. The net effect is to color the silica crimson
red…nonetheless, this is not cinnabar but, rather, silica
colored by cinnabar. Cinnabar is extremely soft , but the myrickite
is very hard and makes very durable cabochons ( it is extremely
beautiful ). By the way, I did look up the Bad Boys website and
couldn’t help observing the fact that their material is the exact
same in appearance as that which has been mined in the Royston area
of Nevada. It is one of my favorites…I especially like that
which grades from bright green to deep blue. One of the interesting
aspects of the Royston deposit is that most of it is very soft and
somewhat useless, unless treated. On the other hand, some of it is
as hard as any Turquoise I have ever worked. Ron at Mills Gem, Los
Osos, CA.

Try the had pre drilled nuggets from
small to very large. I believe you can also get undrilled nuggets as
well. Just passing through.

All, I have only seen one parcel of turquoise that caught my
attention as harder than normal. An old fire agate and turquoise
dealer named Clay Turnbull (deceased) had about two pounds of
turquoise that was mined in California. When these nuggets were
stuck together they clicked loud and clear. I suspect that they
were not turquoise, but a silicate impregnated by turquoise as Ron
Mills already stated. They were hard and beautiful, but at $150 an
ounce in 1984 they were too pricey for me. I have only cut a few
pounds of Chinese Turquoise, but I did notice that the material cut
a lot like the stabilized turquoise made by the new process. Note
that Chinese Turquoise appeared on the market at about the same time
the new process was identified. I also suspect that the matrix is
dyed. Another curiosity is that I have seen many bins of Chinese
Turquoise at shows that always contain nuggets that appear to have
been tumbled. Just a thought, but if I were going to make turquoise
in a lab I would make the nuggets and tumble them to sell them. Has
anyone actually seen the mine site for Chinese turquoise?

Gerry Galarneau

Ron, How hard is hard? I’d say the Bad Boys turquoise that I’ve cut
has run 6-7 in hardness. As you know, chrysocolla runs from
uncuttably crumbly, cuttable but soft, cuttable and hard, and "gem"
chrysocolla depending on quartz content. I assume turquoise is about
the same although I’ve never seen or heard of translucent "gem"
turquoise. I’d put the Bad Boys in the cuttable and hard category of

I encourage you to email or call the Bad Boys and ask them about
their product. I’m sure David and Harriet will be happy to talk to
you, and I know they know more about it than I do.

Just to be clear, I think all the people mentioning this hard
turquoise are referring specifically to the Bad Boys turquoise, and
not to Colorado turquoise in general.



having worked in a flea market since last april on the streets of
downtown new york city (Broadway), I will tell you that if the newest
flea-market-trash turquoise phase hasn’t hit your area yet, it’s
probably coming. Brace yourself, because I feel like all I ever do
is sell cheap turquoise pieces to NYU students and jersey girls.
Also, the young Japanese are really getting into it, as there is a
current seventies fashion phase going on with them right now. I have
hordes of young Japanese tourists clearing out my cheap turquoise

(On the other hand, I notice that a lot of other Asian girls usually
go straight for the pearls - I hope this doesn’t sound like racial
profiling, but when you’re sitting there all day, you tend to notice
this kind of thing. Garnets are also popular with them.)

Crap turquoise kept a lot of vendors in business this summer, as did
godawful hideous synthetic amber. I was almost scared away from
turquoise myself by the amount of people coming by and buying ‘crap’,
and I doubt very seriously I’ll ever have a piece of amber on my
body, ever… Thankfully, we never sold any amber, synthetic or
otherwise, but unfortunately we have piles of cheap turquoise - some
of it, my boss has had since ahem the seventies.

Lest anyone think less of me for working and selling in a flea
market, know this - the job chanced itself on me, and I thought it
might be an interesting cultural experiment to work as a street
vendor in new york city (especially after having spent five years as
a pretty successful young enterpreneur in the computer business).
the results of this experiment are going to be turned into a photo
essay for a magazine, which will appear in the spring of 2002. I
also felt like if I should be schlepping crap, it should at least be
crap I’m interested in, in some aspect. That meant fake chanel
sunglasses and gucci purses were out. :wink:

That, and only working three days a week has given me the
opportunity to take metalsmithing classes and sit home making my own

It’s also provided me with some really interesting experiences -
Francis Ford Coppola came and filmed me while I hawked my wares for
some feature film he’s attempting, and I’ve seen more crazy things in
six months than I think I’ve seen in 9 years of living here,
excepting the obvious and most recent occurrences.

Unfortunately, especially in new york city, any kind of trend
suffers first through an incredibly huge fervor - starting on the
streets, and then hitting upscale design houses as they take street
style and put their spin on it - so maybe there’s hope for turquoise
yet, when the street trends die down and the upscale ones take over
and make some quality things for the upscale market.

However, a few months ago when I was in Taj buying semi-precious
beads, Donna Karen came in and bought sixty pounds of what looked to
me like cheap turquoise… Intrigued anyway, I brought a strand of
it home myself, thinking maybe I’d whip out some ‘quick cash pieces’,
and it crumbled like a brownie when I tried to ream a few of the more
poorly-drilled beads.

And about a month after that, I saw some of Donna Karen’s results in
stores (I am a trend follower but only an observant one - I rarely
buy jewelry as I make most of mine myself)… Not THAT bad for
mainstream design house work, but the prices made me laugh,
obviously, since I know how much she paid for those cheap beads.


Hi everyone,

I’ll keep my comments more on topic this time. I got a little
carried away about discussions related to 'Rockhound Greedheads".
It is a sensitive subject with me because Utah rockhounds are
systematically having rock and mineral locations locked up due to
Monument, wilderness, or wilderness study area designations. Enough

Anyway, a little about me. I have been doing lapidary work for
about the last ten years. I have a 24" slab, and 10" and 6"
slab/trim saws. I also have a Diamond Pacific Genie which I use to
make cabochons. I was fortunate to be able to fee-dig for turquoise
at a mine in Nevada, and now I am hooked on turquoise. I started
taking silver work classes about 3 months ago, and have made what I
consider to be nice, several rings, and pendants. I am currently
working on a bracelet for my wife that will consist of five
turquoise cabochons set in bezels, connected with jump rings. I
hope it turns out. Many of you have helped with the project without
even knowing it. Also, many of you answered my plea for help with
soldering jump rings onto bezels. Thank you for your time and
suggestions. I wonder if anyone can help with my latest quest.

I would like to buy some chinese turquoise, but would like to buy
directly from a mine or a dealer in China. I’ve looked on the
internet trying to find a source, but I haven’t had much luck. Can
anyone give me the name of a source that I could contact? I would
appreciate any help this group might be able to lend.

Best regards,

Dear Jay,

It is probably not realistic to think that it would be possible to
source Chinese Turquoise directly from the mine. In the first place,
the economics are such that it is only feasible to buy in large
quantities, that the Chinese want to keep their own cutting industry
occupied and that the paperwork and procedural complexities are

May I suggest that you attend the Tucson shows in February ? I am
sure that you might find many people carrying Chinese turquoise in
cut form and I also remember seeing a dealer carrying the rough. The
quantity of gems concentrated in Tucson every year during February
has no equal in the world…it is probably the most cost effective
way to shop the world ! Ron Mills,

Mills Gem Company, Los Osos, Ca.

Dear Jay,

When I was in Tucson in September I met some people selling
turquoise from China that looked very beautiful. I only bought a
couple of cabs so I really don’t know much about them but it is
worth talking to them about your needs. I did talk to them for quite
awhile and know that they have a mine in China. They are Turquoise
Adventure Trading & Products, Inc. I have two names and I’ll give
you them both.

Youssef Youssefzadeh, 
P.O. Box 1168, Monterey Park, CA 91754, 
cell 310.435.7234,,, 
and Jeffrey Cai, 323.708.7736.

Good luck,

Try Jeffrey at,

Black Hair Int’l.Corp, 909-868-1058,

He will be at the Roadway Inn in Tucson.