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Turquoise stone turned color


I made a ring for myself with a light blue doublet that I was told
was Nevada Sleeping Beauty turquoise. I have now worn the ring for
about a month and the stone has turned to a darker turquoise. Does
anyone know what happened? Household cleaning chemicals? The stone
is still pretty, just different and I’m curious what happened. I have
a few more of the doublets and want to know what not to expose them

Ellen Harris


I don’t know what a turquoise doublet is, but oils and grease can
change the color of natural turquoise. Stabilized cabs are less
likely to change than are natural or untreated stones. Many of the
stones in older Native American pieces have a greenish tint to the
turquoise due to oils from the skin or elsewhere getting on the
stones over a long period of time. Other household chemicals can
also cause color change.


The stone is becoming enhanced with your boddy oils, I did the same
thing years ago, my brother-in law wanted a good turquoise ring not
stabilized, so I did the ring in a class turquoise lone mountain,
when it started to green he had a fit so I made another with
stabilized turquoise it never changed he never again complained


Oh yes! Your body oils, dishwash water, soap or anything with oil
base will change turquoise to a dark color. I remember in 1939 we
were in Arizona - big trip at that time - and to the Worlds Fair in
San Fran! My Mom bought a gorgeous ring and bracelet. After wearing
the ring all the time and putting her hands in the dishwater - there
was no other way to wash dishes then! - the gorgeous blue turquoise
turned awful dark green. I still have the ring and the color is still

Suppose the doublet is no different from regular cab. Guess you can
tell it is real turquoise since it did change color - the stabilized
might not change as yours did.

Rose Marie Christison


Turquoise has a great affinity for oil or grease which it absorbs
like a sponge, and makes the colour darker. I’m not a stone expert
and, as far as I’m aware, there is no way to restore the colour. If
there is I’d like to know 'cos I’ve got a ring with 3 stones that
started off matching, but one got darker after a month or so.

Regards, Gary Wooding


i may not be the best person to answer this, but here are my two
cents as a long time turquoise fan.

first i’ll give you the beautiful explanation: turquoise absorbs the
negativity and as such, its color is affected. it is considered by
many native cultures to be a protector. great for necklaces. protect
the throat chakra. i used to wear a ginormous collar of turquoise
when i worked a corporate job and had no idea why. i wouldn’t leave
the house without it. now maybe i understand why!

ok so now for the left brain explanation. i believe that turquoise
reacts to the Ph of the human body. some people are more acidic,
some more basic. i think it’s the acid that the turquoise absorbs but
i can’t swear to this.

anyway, the point is, that turquoise almost always changes if you’re
wearing it close to the skin. zuni designs don’t change. they almost
always remain carribean blue. why? they don’t touch the skin. anyway,
that’s the most i can offer and almost certainly someone can do
better than i, but a little magic never hurt anyone:)



Ellen, usually turquoise is not talked about in terms of "doublets"
but rather “backed stones”, doublets is a term I have only seen in
reference to opal. I’m not sure what the difference is, just
different terminology. Sleeping Beauty is not from Nevada, it is from
the Globe Arizona area, from the Sleeping Beauty mine. It is usually
characterized by the bright blue color, often clear, no matrix, or
with dark stained matrix. Turquoise is a porous material and will
absorb skin oils, lotions and any other liquids it comes in contact
with., The oils and lotions can turn the turquoise darker and
eventually green. Some turquoises are more porous than others, even
from the same mine, and will color change quicker than others. The
character of a high quality turquoise is that it changes slowly,
meaning it is a harder stone. Many older pieces of jewelry can be
identified because the color change in the turquoise and in many
pieces of cluster work, for instance Zuni work, some stones will
change while others will remain the same blue color they always were
even though they are older pieces and worn often

If you have any other questions you may contact me off post,
Sam Patania, Tucson


Ellen: Once had a turquoise ring which turned darker and greenish
after spilling coffee on it. Turquoise is porous, Skin oils,
lotions, chemicals, ultrasonic solution may discolor. Tea is
sometimes used to stain bone…may have the same effect on

Dikra Gem Inc.

Does anyone know what happened? Household cleaning chemicals? The
stone is still pretty, just different and I'm curious what
happened. I have a few more of the doublets and want to know what
not to expose them to. 

I have a write up on my website

It should answer most of your questions.

Leonid Surpin


Yours is a common occurance, in that turquoise is so soft and porous
if not polished properly or stabilized…anything from light, to pool
chemicals to naturally occuring minerals in lakes to cleaning
supplies or the adhesive used to make the doublet can be causing any
turquiose or variscite to darken or even lighten…that’s one reason
so many manufacturers plasticize the material to keep its colour
consistent- not to mention filling tiny fissures in the matrix ( if
any)…if it seems to be only on the surface( the underside will be
closer to the original colour) you could refinish the cab with a
product like 3M’s diamond finishing films to sand it down to the
truer colour and then repolish it with cerium oxide or linde A and
then consider sealing all surface areas or immersing in a stabilising
agent to prevent it happening again!.


Hello Ellen,

Natural, untreated turquoise can be quite porous and absorbs oils
from the skin. That’s why it darkened. If you like an untreated stone
then this change in color is a good thing. The only way of preventing
this is to use only stabilized turquoise which is a lesser quality
turquoise that is infused with epoxy, or use reconstituted stone
which is a turquoise powder mixed with plastic and then molded.

I believe there may be small amounts of quite hard turquoise around
that are not so porous, but that would be very difficult to get
these days.

The vast majority of “turquoise” sold now is treated. Good untreated
stone fetches a premium price.

Derek Levin


Ellen - Turquoise is a stock that will absorb oils and liquids that
it comes into contact with. It needs a certain amount of contact
with oil to keep it happy, but should be kept away from water and
soaps. If you got a color change in your stone it was touched with
something - probably a hand lotion or other oil product.

Sandra Graves, Isis Rising08


I have run into this before. It’s an easy fix. I periodically just
buff them down with some Tin Oxide and water slurry. Even crustal
polish on a buff will do. They become the lovely original blue again.
Have fun and make lots of jewelry.

Jo Haemer


Hi Ellen,

Sweat and skin oils and anything else you’ve immersed it in.
Turquoise is porous and can and will oxidize if given the chance.

Wayne Emery


I give up, what is Tin Oxide and Water slurry?



Do you mean to say that good quality turquoise is never stabilized to
keep it from changing color? Only lesser quality turquoise is


You are -lucky- if your turquoise changes color ! I search endlessly
for non-stabilized yet good, hard turquoise because it has a lovely
natural surface that will respond to the wearer and world with
unpredictable colors.

Permanency doesn’t exist in the natural world anyway although you
can " permanent-ize" your turquoise with synthetic materials. (I
wonder, then, why not just get an artificial stone?)

Please enjoy the deep blues and maybe greens–whatever the stone
becomes- and consider them as a growth and an enhancement.

Best wishes.
Barbara in CA


Laurie- I mix powdered Tin Oxide with a small amount of water to
about the consistency of pancake batter. I place it in a small
container, like a film canister, and dip a small soft cotton buff on
a flex shaft mandrel in the slurry to do a very light polish of a
stone. I also moisten the stone with water ahead of and during the
buffing. It makes a mess.

This works for opals, malachite and turquoise. I do it in the
mounting. This is not a heavy refinish of a stone. Just a quick
buff. Have fun and make lots of jewelry.

Jo Haemer

Permanency doesn't exist in the natural world anyway although you
can " permanent-ize" your turquoise with synthetic materials. (I
wonder, then, why not just get an artificial stone?) 

The very finest grades of natural turquoise are sufficiently dense
and hard that it will resist changing color over time. So called
"Persian" turquoise like this often also has a bit of naturally
occurring silica in the stone that helps to give it this sometimes
substantially harder character than the average material. It’s not
always so easy to find such material, but it does exist. It’s just as
with any gem where the finest qualities happen to also be
considerably rarer. This material, by the way, can be from almost
any part of the world, not necessarily the traditional sources for
"Persian" turquoise. Much of the material that fits this description
for stability will be free of matrix or inclusions, but even that is
not a hard and fast rule.

Peter Rowe

I give up, what is Tin Oxide and Water slurry? 

Tin oxide is a white fine powder used as a lapidary polishing agent.
Also available formulated in bars (such as the “Bruce bar” brand). In
either case, such polishing is done “wet”. The powder form is usually
used by adding some of the powder to water, and mixing to get a thin
slurry, which is then applied (such as with a brush) to the polishing
wheel, usually along with additional water to keep the wheel wet or
moist. For a number of stone types, it’s one of the faster and more
effective polishing agents. It’s not in quite as common and universal
use these days, simply because it’s price has gone up a lot more in
the last 30 years than has the price of some of the others, such as
cerium oxide, but any decent lapidary supply carries tin oxide.

Peter Rowe