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Turquoise looses color in attack

I put a heavy silver ring with turquoise in attack so I could do
repairs. Previously un-noticed white veining showed up! I assume the
stone was treated (dyed?) and the attack removed it. I’ve already
informed the customer, but does anyone know how to fix the stone, or
where I can send it. The turquoise is (was) solid blue with one spot
of brown matrix in the corner. Thanks in advance for coming to my
rescue!! Incidentally, this is the first time I’ve ever had an issue
with attack.

pam - iam sure there are many types of dyes and quite afew folks who
know more about this than i do, but i work w/ this sort of thing alot
and i have found markers in really nice varying shades of blue and or
green have solved this problem for me on many occasions. After you
get the color back by choosing a similar shade from the markers i
bought at the dollar store sale table, if you want to be extra nice
you can seal the piece with a nonyellowing clear coat. somtimes you
have to add the color several times to get it to darken up. or you
could chat the customer up and sell them up to a real piece of nice
custom cut turquoise to make that piece of sentimental memory what
they thought it was when purchased it and make a small but fair
profit for your time and effort



Turquoise when mined, depending on the location, have different
degree of density. Most of it is low density and it is stabilized by
epoxy or similar compounds. Only small percentage is dense enough to
be used in jewellery without treatment. Turquoise of this quality is
sold locally, and almost impossible to obtain.

In your case it may be cheaper to replace stone, than trying to fix
it. Lapidary specializing in turquoise can advise you on the most
economical course of action.

However, since you mentioned white veining, it is also possibility
that you may be dealing with synthetic turquoise.

Take a 10x loop and examine the stone. If you can see while grain in
the blue background, almost like cooked farina, it is synthetic.
Other possibility is that original matrix was bleached out before
dying stone blue.

That type of treatment goes far beyond regular stabilization and
stone cannot be very expensive.

Pam, try calling Chester Lonjose at 505-722-9234. His address is
1503 Pecan Circle, Gallup New Mexico 87301. I have found him to be an
excellent source for turquoise problems.


Active ingredinet in Attack is methylene chloride, a very powerful
organic solvent and strong carcinogen. It’s also the active
ingredient in pant stripper, which is often cheaper, by the way. I
use it on a daily basis, but it WILL remove filling, oiling, waxes,
dyes, etc from almost anything including turquoise. Most turquoise
has been treated, otherwise it is too chalky to cut. Lots of material
is not even turquoise, but a related mineral dyed to look like

For a start on what to do:

Also Google the Zachary process, they may be able to help. I’d
suggest you just replace the piece, less hassle.


I have worked with turquoise for many years and found no problems
with attack and natural turquoise. I have had problems with the
Sleeping Beauty turq. (solid blue with sometimes with matrix) which
is Zachary processed which is supposed to harden and not color
treat. I find in polishing and washing Sleeping Beauty fractures not
seen when the stone is dry come out. If I have not gotten polishing
compound in these cracks they will usually completely disappear when

Since the stone is already out of the mount I would just replace it
since repolishing it will only remove any remaining treated surface.
Fracture seal could fill it so it is not noticeable but then you are
treating it yourself which the client may not appreciate. Try
putting it under a lamp to dry it to see if it was just being wet
that caused the crack to appear.

Sam Patania, Tucson

Only small percentage is dense enough to be used in jewellery
without treatment. Turquoise of this quality is sold locally, and
almost impossible to obtain. 

Leonid, I disagree that “natural turquoise is almost impossible to
get” as I have quite a stock of it myself and have used it for 30
years following in my father’s and grandfather’s footsteps in using
almost exclusively natural turquoise (untreated in any way, except
Zam). I have a steady stream of sellers of natural turquoise who call
on me and who I call. I have been getting natural Bisbee for many
years and have people to call for almost any mine you can think of.

The treated turquoise is all over the place but I and my family
pride ourselves for using natural in our art work and have never run

Sam Patania, Tucson

I beg to differ on a turquoise comment, although I have to qualify

Turquoise of this quality is sold locally, and almost impossible
to obtain.

That part is not, if you cut, that is. It is not hard to find. This
story is a myth, although circulated as fact; they just don’t want
to pay for it. So they don’t have any. I would be suspicious of any
place making this claim. Type in “turquoise rough” into the google
search engine. That is only those places with a web site; others
without a web site also exist. Even so many places on the web having
some will not show up as a hit. Or go to a show and ask vendors for
their cards, etc. Around here anyway, you can walk into a rock shop
and get some natural rough also. The story has been repeated so
often many people believe it, then repeat it themselves. It is not
overly hard to find, but may cost.

I have been getting natural Bisbee for many years and have people
to call for almost any mine you can think of. 

You are a lucky.

I had one customer, he wanted the prime stuff. I found it in India
and it took me 6 month. I will keep you in mind if I need more in the

I probably should have been more precise in my comments. Turquoise
has specific gravity in the range of 2.90 - 2.40. It is the specimens
in the upper range of S.G. in combination with medium blue, or medium
greenish-blue and combined with the absence of matrix, that I was
referring to.

It is true that many places claim to have it, but time after time,
upon close inspection, all these claims did not lived up to the
required standard.

Based on my personal experience combined with experience of my
associates, I have to insist on the original statement.