Turquoise is a beautiful color, but it’s also notoriously unstable. This means that it can fade or change colors easily if exposed to sunlight for too long. But don’t worry! There are some easy ways you can stabilize turquoise at home and make sure your favorite color stays vibrant and blue all the time.
What is stabilized turquoise?
Stabilized turquoise is a type of turquoise that has been treated with a sealant or coating. This treatment helps to protect the stone from fading and changing colors, making it more durable and less likely to change over time.
Many different types of sealants and coatings can be used on turquoise, but the most common is resin. Resin is a type of plastic that can be used to seal and protect stones from fading and changing colors. It is also very durable, which means it will help to keep your turquoise looking its best for many years to come.
Stabilizing Turquoise at Home: Step by Step Instruction
There are a few different ways that you can stabilize turquoise at home. The easiest and most common way is to use resin. Here’s how:
- Choose the right resin. There are many types of resin on the market, so it’s important to choose one that is specifically designed for stones. Make sure to read the label carefully to make sure the resin is safe for turquoise.
- Prep the stone. Clean the stone with a soft cloth and remove any dirt or debris. Be careful not to scratch the surface of the stone.
- Apply the resin. Use a small brush to apply a thin layer of resin to the surface of the stone. Be sure to get all the cracks and crevices.
- Let it dry. Allow the resin to dry completely before moving on to the next step. This can take several hours, so be patient!
- Seal it up. Once the resin has dried, seal it with a coat of clear nail polish to help keep the resin in place and prevent it from rubbing off.
And that’s all there is to stabilizing turquoise at home! Resin can be used on other types of stones as well, like lapis lazuli or calcite. Just make sure you read up about any additional precautions before using it on your stone of choice.
Understanding the Types of Turquoise and Treatments
When it comes to gemstones like turquoise, it’s important to understand the different types available on the market and the varying levels of quality. Natural turquoise, considered to be of the highest quality, is much harder to find than treated turquoise.
Natural turquoise often exhibits a hardness that doesn’t require stabilization. However, many pieces of turquoise available today have undergone some form of enhancement to improve their durability and color. The chalk turquoise, for example, is too porous and soft to be used in jewelry. To convert it into a gem-quality turquoise, it needs to undergo stabilization. This usually involves impregnation with a hardening solution such as epoxy or other types of resin. This is often the least intrusive form of treatment, known as “enhancement.”
On the other hand, there is a type of turquoise called reconstituted turquoise. This is made from a combination of natural turquoise dust and binding agents, often epoxy. This mixture is then pressurized to form block turquoise that can be cut and formed into cabochons or other jewelry pieces.
Finally, there’s dyed turquoise, which is natural turquoise treated with a dye to enhance or change its color. There are also imitation turquoises like howlite and agate that are dyed to look like turquoise.
|Type of Turquoise
|Highest quality, harder to find
|Treated to improve color and durability
|Made from turquoise dust and binding agents
|Treated with dye to enhance or change color
|Other gemstones dyed to look like turquoise
The Zachery Enhancement Method
One method worth mentioning is the Zachery enhancement method, named after James Zachery, an electrical engineer by trade, who developed it. It involves treating the turquoise with a clear solution that doesn’t change the refractive index of the stone. This helps retain the natural look and feel of the turquoise while making it harder and more durable.
This method is particularly beneficial for turquoise stones with thin veins, as it does not cause any significant color changes nor forms a “bloom” — a surface residue that can discolor or affect the appearance of the stone.
The Process of Stabilizing Turquoise
Once you’ve understood the types of turquoise and how they are treated, it’s now time to delve into the stabilization process of this stone.
- Cleaning: The first step is to clean the rough turquoise. This can be done using acetone or other solvents to remove any dirt, dust, or oil that might interfere with the stabilization process.
- Drying: After cleaning, let the stone dry for a week. This will ensure that all the moisture has evaporated from the pores of the stone.
- Impregnation: Next is the impregnation process. Using a vacuum chamber, you pull a vacuum to remove the air from the pores of the stone. Then, when the vacuum is released, your chosen stabilizing agent (like clear epoxy resin) is sucked into the pores.
- Curing: Once the stone is thoroughly saturated with the resin, it is cured or hardened. This process can take several days to a week, depending on the size of the stone and the type of hardening agent used.
- Cutting and Polishing: After the stone is hardened, it can be cut into slabs, nuggets, or other forms and polished. Lapidary, the art of cutting and polishing stones, is a significant part of the stabilization process, particularly when the turquoise is intended for use in jewelry.
Remember, stabilizing does not necessarily improve the color of the turquoise. However, the process helps the stone maintain its color over time, preventing it from fading or changing hues.
Note that not all turquoise requires stabilization. Good quality turquoise and high-quality turquoise have natural hardness that makes them suitable for use in jewelry without further enhancement. However, since most turquoise on the market has been stabilized, it’s important for anyone involved in the jewelry trade to be aware of the different treatment methods and their effects on the stone.
The understanding of these terms and processes will allow you to make more informed decisions when buying, treating, and working with turquoise.
Will resin protect my turquoise from fading in the sun?
No, the resin will not protect your stone from fading in the sun. It's best to keep your stones out of direct sunlight altogether to prevent any color changes.
Can I use other types of sealants or coatings on my stone?
Yes, there are many different types of sealants and coatings on the market that can be used to protect stones. Just make sure they say 'safe for use on turquoise' before you buy them!
How do I remove resin from my stone if it has dried too much?
If the resin has dried too much and is difficult to remove, you can try using a solvent like acetone or nail polish remover. Be sure to test this on a small area of the stone first to make sure it won't damage the surface.
My stone turned green after I coated it with resin. What do I do?
This is a common reaction with some types of stones and resin. If your stone turns green after treatment, there isn't much you can do except live with it. The green color will likely fade over time, but it may never go away completely.
Turquoise is a beautiful gemstone that has been prized for centuries. However, because turquoise can change colors over time, it may not always be the best choice of jewelry material. Luckily, there are ways to stabilize turquoise at home so you don’t have to worry about your favorite gems changing color after just a few months in storage. These treatments will help ensure that your turquoise pieces remain vibrant and colorful without fading or turning green over time–no matter how many times they touch the water! Have you tried any of these stabilization techniques? Let us know what results you achieved by sharing with our blog followers below!
Want more experience with stones? Try cut and polish rose quartz!