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Yellow Turquoise


#1

Some Turquoise can be yellow if it has been subjected to high heat.
I have also observed yellowish rinds on Turquoise nuggets which I
have mined at the Blue Boy mine in Nevada. Since these nuggets were
free floating in soil I assume that they had reacted to something in
the soil. The Turquoise within the nugget was a light blue and the
hardest I have ever mined !

Variscite, which is essentially a chemical clone of Turquoise
without copper and which has some iron in it, is noted for its
propensity to develop alteration minerals. The Classical American
occurence of Variscite is Fairfield Utah, There are thirteen rare
phosphate minerals which alter from this Variscite and at least one
of them is yellow.

There are some medieval references to yellow Turquoise, but I would
never place much credence in them because the mineral sciences were
not sufficiently developed. Even a hundred years ago the names of
various minerals would not be recognizeable inasmuch as language is
always evolving and morphing. Ron at Mills Gem, Los Osos, CA


#2

It is my understanding the yellow turquoise, which is really more
chartreuse green than yellow and black, is serpentine. It’s pretty
soft, too soft to be a jasper. You can see some pictures on my web
site in the Serpentine category.

Susan
Sun Country Gems
www.suncountrygems.com


#3

OK…I give Sun Country Gems credit for giving full disclosure
that their ‘new jade’, ‘yellow turquoise’, and ‘lemon agate’ is
actually serpentine…and thank them for that. But why, oh why
would anyone call serpentine by these names? This is lunacy. How
many people out there are selling these things as something they are
not and the gullible public is buying thinking they are getting
something else??? I mean… come on now folks, these are not even
expensive items and at best only a buck or two can be made on each
item…not like they might get from falsefying a diffused sapphire.
In the end, the people who sell these things as something else will
be the downfall of the gem industry!!! There are already enough
confusing names of jaspers, agates etc out there. Now they (whoever
’they’ may be) are blatently hawking junk and putting a fancy name
on it for why? To make that almighty buck? Start thinking people!
As the public becomes aware of the rouse they will never again
believe anything we (the community) say. The yellow serpentine is
quite lovely. Call it what it is instead of trying to make a silk
purse out of a sow’s ear!

Now I’ve ranted. Thanks for listening and cheers from Don at The
Charles Belle Studio in SOFL where simple elegance IS fine jewelry?

@coralnut2


#4

I agree that the stone misnomers are confusing and detrimental to
the industry. However, I think the source of the problem lies
primarily in language differences. For example, in Chinese the term
"jade" is applied to many stones as long as they meet the criteria.
I don’t recall all the critera for a stone to qualify as jade, but
one of them is hardness. Consequently, jasper or quartz may be called
jade in that language. Then the translator comes along and maybe
doesn’t know English as well as a native English speaker, and,
behold, a new stone name is born. I really don’t think the untruth
is always intended to deceive, although I’m sure it is sometimes.

A newsletter that I receive on the gemstone business in Asia just
mentioned that some vendors are selling imitation turquoise as the
real thing when it is actually some other stone that has been dyed.
So, it’s really buyer beware out there for sure.

Wouldn’t it be nice if there were content labeling rules for stones
like there is for food?

Susan
Sun Country Gems
www.suncountrygems.com


#5
I agree that the stone misnomers are confusing and detrimental to
the industry. However, I think the source of the problem lies
primarily in language differences. 

Whilst there are differences in language, their number and
significance pales, IMO, beside the constant and deliberate
attempts to confuse the consumer in order to obscure the value (or
more to the point worthlessness) of the product. I flipped the
channels on the telly a couple of days ago and the Shopping Channel
panderers were pimping “green amethyst (irradiated.)” Some people
have no sense of shame!

Lee Einer
Dos Manos Jewelry
http://www.dosmanosjewelry.com


#6

Susan,

You are right…the Chinese can use the term ‘yu’ to loosely
describe a number of Essentially, the character is
translated as: Jade, gem, or imperial. It has over the years been
used to describe fine agate, jade and nephrite of all kinds of
quality, and even very fine translucent serpentine. But it has
always been associated with perfection, excellent workmanship, and
high quality, i.e., imperial quality. In more modern times however,
the term ‘yu’ has been intended more exclusively for nephrite and/or
jadeite as the Chinese are very familiar with modern mineral and gem
terms. The Chinese language also has specific terms to describe the
quality and color of the jade…such as kingfisher jade ( highly
prized) or mutton fat jade, etc. They do not commonly use this term
to describe common rocks or low quality stones.

I doubt it is a problem of language translation and, when speaking
with Chinese about jade and other in either Chinese or
English, I have never experienced any confusion.

Unfortunately, I do believe there are those who tend to throw these
terms around just to confuse the buying public. It is a marketing
thing…not a mineralogical or language thing and I still believe it
is bad for the industry overall.

I would agree with you about the ‘content labeling’ thing except
the food industry can’t even keep that straight either. By the way,
if any out there have seen the recent (Jan/Feb) copy of Rocks and
Minerals, there is an outstanding special on Minerals of China. It
shows just how sophisticated the Chinese have become in that field.
Thanks for your input and I am sure our exchange will probably have
little or no effect on the overall market…don’t you agree?

Cheers from Don at The Charles Belle Studio in SOFL where simple
elegance IS fine jewelry! @coralnut2


#7
        I don't recall all the critera for a stone to qualify as
jade, but one of them is hardness. Consequently, jasper or quartz
may be called jade in that language. Then the translator comes
along and maybe doesn't know English as well as a native English
speaker, and, behold, a new stone name is born. I really don't
think the untruth is always intended to deceive, although I'm sure
it is sometimes. 

There are two criteria for a material to be called jade. It’s
chemical composition must be NaAlSi2O6 for jadeite, and
Ca2(Mg,Fe)5Si8O22(OH)2 for nephrite. The other characteristics, such
as hardness, toughness, specific gravity, crystal structure, etc.,
are inherent in those chemical formulae. None of those
characteristics qualify a material as jade, quartz or leaverite,
chemical composition, along with the other characteristics does.
Everyone in the gem industry, including the Chinese, know this.
Translators have nothing to do with it. The businesses who market
gems under misnomers know it, too. They also know that serpentine,
maw-sit-sit and other materials are less valuable than jadeite, and
constantly invent new misnomers that include the word “jade”,
typically in quotes, for the express reason of making a less
valuable gem SOUND more valuable to the layperson or consumer.

I agree that many dealers, retailers and resellers are unaware of
the problem and don’t use misnomers to deceive, but that lack of
awareness is through ignorance. But the originators of the misnomers
know exactly what they are doing, and prey on this ignorance. The
only way to prevent being taken is to protect yourself with
knowledge. The Orchid Group has been an incredible source of it for
me.

James in SoFl


#8

James said-

I agree that many dealers, retailers and resellers are unaware of
the problem and don't use misnomers to deceive, but that lack of
awareness is through ignorance.

I would take this a step further.

In the arena of fraud (which is what we are ultimately talking about
when folks call serpentine “turquoise”) it is necessary to prove
that a perpetrator knowingly misled a customer. Consequently, a
first line of defense is always “I didn’t know.” Because of this, a
doctrine of “conscious avoidance” developed.

The doctrine in a nutshell states that if you consciously and
deliberately close your eyes to the knowledge which would tell you
that you are defrauding, it is the same as if you possessed that
knowledge in the first place.

We have the same phenomenon in the area of gemstone sales. If
somebody’s business is selling stones, stone beads, stone cabachons,
whatever, it is their business also to know what they are selling.
If they purchase something called “yellow turquoise” and resell it
as such without making reasonable inquiry into what it really is,
they have deliberately closed their eyes to the knowledge of the
deception, and are just as guilty of deceiving their customers as
they would be if they mislabeled the material themselves.

Lee Einer
Dos Manos Jewelry
http://www.dosmanosjewelry.com


#9

Just tonight I’ve been going back and forth with Fire Mountain Gems
about what some of their beads are actually made of.

So far I’ve been told that yellow jasper is actually yellow jade,
which according to them is the proper term for “jadeite” and
"nephrite", and which in any case does not tell me what the
particular stone in question actually is. Is it jadeite? Is it
nephrite? Is there actually a yellow variety of either of these?
In any case, regardless of what has been “traditionally” called
"jade", I need the correct modern day terminology before I try to
sell somebody something, because if it isn’t what I tell them it is,
I’m the one who’s in trouble, not Fire Mountain Gems.
“Traditionally” any red stone was a “ruby”, but can you imagine the
hoo-hah that would result if I started selling red spinels as
"ruby"?

The other thing I questioned them on was “red malachite”. Now I’m
not a mineralogic expert by any stretch of the imagination, but
every reference I can find - including the one Fire Mountain Gems
sent me in answer to my question, “what is this stuff you’re calling
"red” malachite?" - CLEARLY and SPECIFICALLY and DEFINITELY states
that malachite is SOME shade of GREEN, occasionally shading so dark
as to be black, but nevertheless GREEN and not red.

So referring me to a link that describes malachite as a “green
stone” doesn’t help much to identify a red banded stone that’s
identified in their sales literature as “red malachite”.

Sheesh! Fat chance I’m ever going to find out from them just what
"green chalk ‘turquoise’ " REALLY is.

Sojourner
who doesn’t want to go to jail for fraud, because I sure couldn’t afford a
lawyer to get me out. Or bail.


#10
    So far I've been told that yellow jasper is actually yellow
jade, 

Yellow jasper is yellow jasper, period. I’ve typed it here before
and I’ll type it here again, people will buy yellow “jade” before
they will buy yellow jasper (note the “jade” in quotes). Fire
Mountain Gems is not alone in their misnomer labeling, but they do a
decent job of telling you what it actually is on their website, if
not their catalog.

    The other thing I questioned them on was "red malachite".  Now
I'm not a mineralogic expert by any stretch of the imagination, but
every reference I can find  - including the one Fire Mountain Gems
sent me in answer to my question, "what is this stuff you're
calling "red" malachite?" - CLEARLY and SPECIFICALLY and DEFINITELY
states that malachite is SOME shade of GREEN, occasionally shading
so dark as to be black, but nevertheless GREEN and not red. 

A direct cut-and-paste from Fire Mountain Gems’ website on one of
these items is:

“Red ‘malachite’ is the common trade name for this banded jasper.”

See? Even they use quotes with their misnomers. Look for them. In
this case, they are selling banded jasper under a misnomer.

    So referring me to a link that describes malachite as a "green
stone" doesn't help much to identify a red banded stone that's
identified in their sales literature as "red malachite". 

Nope, it won’t. What will, though, is education. If you really want
to know what all this stuff is that is being sold under names you
aren’t familiar with, you should make a study of gemology. Doubtless
there will be those who have in the past touted their incredible
gemological acumen, learned through 40-odd years of buying and
selling gems in the business, but that doesn’t get you the knowledge
you want and need NOW.

I don’t know where you live, Zen Sojourner, but there must be
classes available somewhere. Yes, GIA’s tuition is considerable (my
wallet will probably never recover), but they’re not the only fish
in that particular sea (although they are still considered the
world’s foremost). Someone recently mentioned IGS as much more
affordable. Since you can type, I’m sure you can also read. There
are plenty of books available on the subject. GIA’s website has a
bookstore with plenty of titles. There are also scholarships
available with GIA. One person in Miami’s diamond district used to
offer a G.G. program for practically nothing, if you could get a
group together. It wasn’t accredited, but the knowledge is worth
more than the degree for many people’s purposes. I won’t keep
posting the same gemology links over and over as I doubt a lot of
people are interested and just want an easy answer. If you are
interested, there’s always Google.

I constantly rail at the subject of imitations, simulants and
misnomers. Unfortunately for the industry, they will not go away. I
don’t mind using them so much as a sub-listing, but gemstones should
at least be listed as what they actually are first. Even more
unfortunate is the fact that you’ll have to spend some learning time
if you want to really KNOW. Until you do, consider yourself
"misnomer prey."

James in SoFl


#11

Jadeite can occur in a true yellow. My grandparents had a carving of
a squash blossom in this material which was a true lemon yellow and
absolutely breathtaking. I understand that nephrite can occur in
"yellowish" tones. I have not personally seen any yellow nephrite.

Yellow Jasper is not yellow jade. Jasper is basically heavily
included cryptocrystalline quartz, absolutely no relation to either
nephrite or jadeite. While both nephrite and jadeite are often
referred to as jade, there is quite a difference in price and value
between the two, and the ethical thing to do would be to sell
nephrite as nephrite, jadeite as jadeite. My gut feeling is that
these folks want to sell jadeite as jadeite, and nephrite as “jade.”

There is no such thing as “red malachite.” The chemical which makes
malachite malachite makes malachite green, and it will ever be thus.

You are right in thinking that their mislabeling could cause you
problems if/when you pass the bad on to your customers.
Realistically, you probably wouldn’t face criminal charges, but if
your customers found out that you sold them goods which were not as
represented, they would likely form some negative opinions of your
knowledge, professionalism and/or integrity, and who needs that?

Lee Einer
Dos Manos Jewelry
http://www.dosmanosjewelry.com


#12
I don't know where you live, Zen Sojourner, but there must be
classes available somewhere. 

Nope. And I couldn’t afford them if there were any. I live 100
miles from the nearest city of any decent size, in the Ozarks. I
make less than $5000 a year at my “day job”. Employment
opportunities around here are few and FAR between. I have other
things to do with my money regarding training that, at this point,
have to come first.

What I want is to deal with a company that doesn’t make it so hard
to find out what it is they’re selling you, and that’s apparently
NOT Fire Mountain Gems. So I’m looking for suppliers who don’t use
misleading nomenclature to move their “stuff”, or at least don’t
make you e-mail them for every item you’re interested in to find out
what it REALLY is. I don’t know where you came up with the “red
malachite” description you found at Fire Mountain’s website, but
there’s no link to it from the item I was looking at.

BTW, I DID google this stuff. Unfortunately, if you google “red
malachite” you get a bunch of links to other bead dealers who are
also mislabeling their products - and aren’t identifying the actual
substance. If you look at gemological sites (and I looked at as
many as I could find and comprehend) they don’t use the wrong names,
so you still can’t identify the bead or cab you’ve only seen
mislabeled in a picture on a website. In fact, sometimes they use
only proper scientific names so that I STILL can’t find what I’m
looking for if it’s a common name like “jade” where “jade” has no
actual scientific basis.

I did finally get an e-mail back from Fire Mountain about the red
"malachite", which included a statement that their website software
doesn’t support quote marks so they no longer have these phony items
identified that way on their website (and as an ex-programmer I know
that’s nonsense). Then she went on to talk about "traditional"
malachite (I notice her e-mail program handles quote marks just
fine) before finally identifying the red ‘malachite’ as banded
jasper.

I’m sorry, but the only “traditional” malachite IS authentic
malachite, there isn’t any other kind. And it STILL isn’t red.

Sheesh! So I’m scouting out other dealers who are hopefully more
forthcoming in their descriptions. From what I can tell, most of
Fire Mountains stuff isn’t exactly top quality, or even middlin’
quality, anyway.

I could be wrong, but I’ve seen an awful lot of stuff that’s labeled
"C" or “D” quality or, even more worrisome, not labeled for quality
at all. There’s some stuff I’ll buy from them, but a whole lot more
I won’t. I have better things to do with my time (it took 2 days
and 3 e-mails to actually get the red “malachite” identified), and
I’d rather pay a bit more for a known substance.

Thanks.
Sojourner


#13

Zen,

Red malachite is really jasper. It is true that malachite is always
green. The green comes from it’s copper content. In fact malachite is
a common source of copper ore.

So, now yellow jade is not really jade? Sheesh, there’s another one
I’ve got to change categories on my web site. It never ends!

Susan
Sun Country Gems
www.suncountrygems.com


#14
While both nephrite and jadeite are often referred to as jade,
there is quite a difference in price and value between the two, and
the ethical thing to do would be to sell nephrite as nephrite,
jadeite as jadeite. 

Nephrite and jadeite are not just referred to as jade; they are in
fact properly called jade – and no other mineral is! And while it
is true that the finest jade (known as “imperial jade”) is jadeite;
it is also true that there are plenty of examples of fine nephrite
jade that are quite beautiful and superior to moderate quality
jadeite jade.

Finally, it is both ethical and correct to sell either nephrite or
jadeite as jade; it is neither ethical nor correct to sell any other
mineral as jade, including jasper (which is a member of the quartz
family, as several people have mentioned). There are rocks such as
Maw Sit Sit which contain jade as one component in addition to
several other minerals, but they are not jade per se.

Beth


#15

Well I finally heard back about that “yellow jade”.

Now keep in mind the first e-mail I got back from Fire Mountain told
me all about how both nephrite and jadeite are called jade. It
didn’t tell me what this particular item was, though.

So I asked again, pointing out that “ruby” USED to mean any red
gemstone, but that calling a red spinel a “ruby” now would get you
in a world of trouble.

This time, this is what they told me: “This type of “jade” is
traditionally dyed quartz.”"

I’m going to assume that this “yellow jade” is “traditional yellow
jade” (whatever that means) and that it’s dyed quartz.

And I’m redoubling my efforts to find some more reliable supplier
than Fire Mountain!

Sojourner


#16

The owner of Rings 'n Things, Russ Nobs, has a “thing” about
disclosure. The site www.rings-things.com has a large area devoted
to explaining the different gemstones in their catalog
http://www.rings-things.com/hazel-doc/Extended/main.htm

I’m not affiliated with them in any way except as an extremely
satisfied customer. In fact, I’m going to Ganoksin in a bit to see
if they’re listed in the resources directory. They should be.

Rings & Things

Help others make informed buying decisions with Rings & Things. We
welcome your opinions and experiences with their products, ordering,
customer service and and over all satisfaction.

Write an Anonymous Review
http://www.ganoksin.com/resources/review.php?id=1834

Hope this helps.
Dorothy


#17
    I don't know where you came up with the "red malachite"
description you found at Fire Mountain's website, but there's no
link to it from the item I was looking at. 

I found it by pointing my browser at their website and typed red
malachite in their search requester box. the search returned 10
items, 8 of which have the quotes.

     BTW, I DID google this stuff.  Unfortunately, if you google
"red malachite" you get a bunch of links to other bead dealers who
are also mislabeling their products - and aren't identifying the
actual substance.  If you look at gemological sites (and I looked
at as many as I could find and comprehend) they don't use the wrong
names, so you still can't identify the bead or cab you've only seen
mislabeled in a picture on a website.  In fact, sometimes they use
only proper scientific names so that I STILL can't find what I'm
looking for if it's a common name like "jade" where "jade" has no
actual scientific basis. 

Sadly, that’s why it’s so difficult for so many who want to break
into the gem/jewelry biz without studying. Believe me, I am NOT
apathetic. But if you spend enough time at some of the gemology
sites, it will help. Unfortunately, it is a science with a very wide
curriculum and takes a lot of time. Buying even in person
at a gem show, without the requisite knowledge is difficult. Buying
them from a catalog, sight unseen, is a lot like Russian roulette.

    Sheesh!  So I'm scouting out other dealers who are hopefully
more forthcoming in their descriptions.  From what I can tell, most
of Fire Mountains stuff isn't exactly top quality, or even middlin'
quality, anyway. 

Since I cut a lot of my own stones and studied gemology before I
ever bought finished gems from dealers, I don’t have many
catalog-type sources for Rio Grande’s Gems & Findings
catalog has a lot of what you may need, but they also have a certain
amount of misnomers, too.

    I could be wrong, but I've seen an awful lot of stuff that's
labeled "C" or "D" quality or, even more worrisome, not labeled for
quality at all. 

Yeah, that’s definitely a problem. Especially so, since “A”, “B”,
“C”, or even “eye-clean”, “loupe-clean”, and a host of other
descriptions of gem quality give you absolutely no real idea of what
they are selling. I feel for ya there, but the reality is that there
are actual gem descriptions that are accepted by the industry (much
of it standardized by GIA) and most catalog dealers don’t use them.
Mostly because they are difficult to understand without at least
some minimal training. For example, I already know that corundum
typically has Type-II clarity, and order one from a supplier that
lists it as 1ct, R 6/6, Excellent (or Extra Fine) ruby, I know
almost precisely what I’ll get, and it’ll be one heck of a stone,
but you probably have no idea what some of it means. Buying one from
a catalog that says it’s “A” grade means absolutely nothing to me,
except that it is the best material they have in stock. Heck, it
might not even be red! Without knowing some basics, buying gems from
a catalog is a crap shoot.

Nothing against Fire Mountain Gems, they have certain items I use,
but never I’ve never seen a bead or finding in their
catalog that I couldn’t find at a gem show, cheaper. Those (gem
shows) are absolutely the best source of gems and beads. However,
you’ll find that some of the dealers there are precisely as nebulous
as the catalogs as to exactly what they’re selling. You’ll need to
shop around to find out who’s reputable, and who is not.

Maybe some of the dealers on this list can help you. Maybe some will
read this post and offer their services and wares. I’ve only bought
from one person on this list, Gerry Galarneau(sp?), and that was
rough, not finished gems. the man was totally forthcoming in his
description, and I couldn’t have been more satisfied. Hand-cut, made
in the USA gems from individual lapidaries will NOT match the price
of Fire Mountain Gems, or any place else whose wares are
manufactured overseas, but you will get what you pay for if you deal
with reputable people.

Sorry I don’t have an easy answer,
James in SoFl


#18

Zen,

Misnomers are a real pain and as you say it would be nice if
everyone was truthful! Howver we all know that that just won’t happen
in this world. So as has been mentioned by James in SoFI education is
still the best way to go in order to ‘protect’ yourself and your
customers. There are some books available that give lists of
misnomers and my personal favourite (for gemmology as a whole) is
Gems, their sources, descriptions and identification by Robert
Webster. It is big (thick and heavy) and quite costly, but does give
a lot of valuable and it has a list of misnomers (17
pages of them actually, under the heading of “Glossary of unusual
names”) that does not contain either of the two you raised, but does
contain many others. So as you can see even this list is incomplete
and should be updated. I doubt there are many people out there who
know all the misnmomers!


#19

After following this thread, I want to revise my response to another
thread, where I said I’d used both Fire Mountain and Rio and been
both happy and unhappy with each.

I have the impression that Fire Mountain has become less reliable
over the last couple of years. They carry so much junk now that I’ve
almost given up looking at their catalog–it gives me a headache. I
last bought from them when they had Sleeping Beauty turquoise on sale
and I can only hope that it’s the real thing, since I spent more than
I could afford and have been selling it as such. If anyone knows a
reason that I shouldn’t, please tell me.

On the other hand, I have never had any reason to suspect that Rio
sold me anything that wasn’t what they said it was. My
disappointments have all involved quality control and they seem to be
working on that. However, they have a very limited selection of
gemstone beads. I would really appreciate some Orchidian attention to
the “gemstone beads” section in the Ganoksin Guide to Industry Web
Sites:


Right now, there are 6 suppliers listed, with 0 ratings and 0
reviews.

I too have some of that “yellow turquoise,” left over from a
commission, for which it was supplied, with great delight, by my
client. Since I’d never heard otherwise, I assumed such a thing
existed. Luckily, I’ve never used it in anything else. Now it can go
in the box with the “cherry quartz!”

Lisa Orlando
Aphrodite’s Ornaments
Elk, CA


#20
    So as you can see even this list is incomplete and should be
updated. I doubt there are many people out there who know all the
misnmomers! 

It is so hard to keep up with them, I don’t even try. One post today
mentioned green “amethyst” which is gemologically impossible. I
sincerely don’t mean to pick on anyone, but actually knowing what
gem materials are is the only safe way to protect yourself from
being ripped off, and from ripping off your clients in return.

Okay, I’ll shut up now.
James in SoFl