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GEMSTONE JEWELRY - a substitute for Turquoise

Wed, 08/18/2010 - 6:45AM by WillyTX 0 Comments -

For ages, due to the high price of certain gemstones, cheaper substitutes have been used to provide a like end result. Howlite, colored as turquoise is one such substitute. You cannot call Howlite a fake however, because it is a real gemstone in its own right. It just so happens that when colored blue, blue-green or green that many times it mimics real Turquoise, right down to the veining. Just watch out for sellers who do not advertise the fact that they are selling this turquoise colored Howlite, and not real Turquoise.
This necklace set combines turquoise colored Howlite half-moon beads, red colored Howlite rounds, Carnelian barrels and stabilized Arizona Turquoise discs. A 3 inch antique copper extender combines with a lobster clasp for closure. French hook dangle earrings complete the set.
Howlite, named for its discoverer Henry How is one of those minerals that is more famous for imitating another mineral than being used for itself. In most cases the other mineral is Turquoise, a phosphate gemstone. Although natural Howlite is always white or gray, it can accept dyes fairly easily and be dyed a turquoise blue. The look of turquoise is so good that dishonest dealers have been unfortunately successful at this hoax. In more honest circumstances, dyed howlite is an affordable substitute for turquoise carvings, beads, polished stones and cabochons. It accepts a nice polish and its porcelaneous luster is attractive and enhances even undyed beads and carvings. Unfortunately it has low hardness, but it still has a distinct toughness. California is the source for most all of the howlite trade where nodules of up to one hundred pounds have been found. In addition to the famous turquoise colored Howlite is dyed, it also can become a very bright red color to mimic red coral, or any other color in the rainbow.

Stabilized turquoise
- Turquoise that is soft or normally referred to as "chalk" Turquoise is infused with a clear epoxy resin. This resin, under pressure, is absorbed into the rock, which permanently hardens the rock and deepens the color. Unlike the collectible natural Turquoise which deepens in color over time by gradually absorbing oils from the skin as it is worn, the colors in stabilized Turquoise are permanent. Most of the Turquoise on the market today is stabilized and should not cost as much as natural Turquoise. Stabilized turquoise can be very beautiful, and is a good buy. Because of it's hardness and consistant color, stabilized Turquoise wears much better in Jewelry.
Carnelian (also spelled cornelian) is a reddish-brown mineral which is commonly used as a semi-precious gemstone. Similar to Carnelian is Sard, which is generally harder and darker. The difference between the two is not rigidly defined, and thus the two names are often used interchangeably. Both Carnelian and Sard are varieties of the silica mineral called Chalcedony and are colored red by impurities of iron oxide. The color can vary greatly, ranging from pale orange to an intense almost-black coloration.

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