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Turquoise Cabochons from the American Southwest and Mexico

Turquoise is hydrated copper aluminum phosphate, a hydrated phosphate mineral in the triclinic crystal system occurring as secondary deposits in arid environments. Turquoise crystals are known but rare, with turquoise most frequently occurring in massive, microcrystalline form as encrustations, nodules and veinlets deposited from groundwater circulating through altered and weathered igneous rocks bearing apatite, feldspar and copper minerals such as chalcopyrite, malachite and azurite. Turquoise can vary in color from sky-blue to green depending on the amount of copper and the iron impurities present. Turquoise is highly prized as a gemstone in many cultures and was one of the first gemstones to be mined. Turquoise beads dating from 5000 BC have been recovered from Mesopotamian archeological sites in present day Iraq. Ancient Egyptian Pharaohs are known to have operated turquoise mines in the Sinai Peninsula utilizing thousands of laborers.

Turquoise is highly regarded in many Native American cultures. Native Americans are known to have worked turquoise deposits in the southwestern United States since at least 1000 AD to obtain material fashioned into fetishes and other symbolic objects, used as beads and ornamentation and also in trade. Aztec craftsmen had elevated turquoise work to a fine art long before the Conquistadors arrived in North America. Turquoise carvings, inlaid masks, skulls, beads and other ceremonial and decorative objects have been recovered from Aztec ruins and graves dating over a thousand years in age. Persia is the most renowned turquoise locality of antiquity. Modern turquoise localities include Africa, Australia, Chile, China, Mexico, Iran, Tibet, and the United States.

Turquoise is most commonly presented in jewelry as cabochons, beads and carvings. Turquoise is a relatively soft material (5-6 Mhos hardness) vulnerable to scratching. Turquoise is commonly employed as a gemstone in all types of jewelry including rings and bracelets despite its relative softness. Natural turquoise is a porous material that can absorb body oil when worn next to the skin, causing a change in color from blue to green. Perfume, sunscreen, hairspray and other cosmetics may attack the surface and alter the color of turquoise gems, and so should be applied before turquoise jewelry is donned. Porous turquoise is commonly treated and stabilized with sodium silicate or polymer resins to increase its mechanical strength, resistance to color change and its ability to take a polish. Turquoise is particularly vulnerable to solvents and heat and may even be dehydrated and discolored by excessive exposure to sunlight. Turquoise should be stored apart from harder gemstones which can scratch it. It is safest to clean Turquoise using warm water, mild soap and a cloth or soft brush. Do not use an ultrasonic or steam cleaner and keep Turquoises out of contact with excessive heat, acids, ammonia and other chemical or abrasive cleaners.


Cabochon11 - Turquoise Cabochon - $52.00
 
Cabochon11 - Turquoise Cabochon Locality: Kingman, Arizona
Approximate Size: 25.7mm long x 25.1mm wide x 6.0mm thick. Please note the image at left may be larger than life to help show the fine details.
Approximate Weight: 26.0 carats
Treatments: Unknown

Cabochon13 - Turquoise Cabochon - $57.80
 
Cabochon13 - Turquoise Cabochon Locality: Kingman, Arizona
Approximate Size: 33mm long x 21.9mm wide x 6.9mm thick. Please note the image at left may be larger than life to help show the fine details.
Approximate Weight: 28.9 carats
Treatments: Unknown

This cabochon has a minor void in the backside edge which will conceal beneath a bezel.


Cabochon2 - Turquoise Cabochon - $60.40
 
Cabochon2 - Turquoise Cabochon Locality: Kingman, Arizona
Approximate Size: 32.0mm long x 22.6mm wide x 6.5mm thick. Please note the image at left may be larger than life to help show the fine details.
Approximate Weight: 30.2 carats
Treatments: Unknown

This cabochon has a minor void in the backside edge which will conceal beneath a bezel.


Cabochon4 - Turquoise Cabochon - $52.40
 
Cabochon4 - Turquoise Cabochon Locality: Kingman, Arizona
Approximate Size: 39.4mm long x 20.3mm wide x 4.9mm thick. Please note the image at left may be larger than life to help show the fine details.
Approximate Weight: 26.2 carats
Treatments: Unknown

This cabochon has a couple of minor voids in the backside edge which will conceal beneath a bezel.


Cabochon5 - Turquoise Cabochon - $16.60
 
Cabochon5 - Turquoise Cabochon Locality: Kingman, Arizona
Approximate Size: 27.9mm long x 20.6mm wide x 5.6mm thick. Please note the image at left may be larger than life to help show the fine details.
Approximate Weight: 16.6 carats
Treatments: Unknown

This cab has a couple of small vugs in its bezel sholders that extend into the periphery of the face.


Cabochon6 - Turquoise Cabochon - $28.80
 
Cabochon6 - Turquoise Cabochon Locality: Kingman, Arizona
Approximate Size: 33.6mm long x 22.0mm wide x 5.3mm thick. Please note the image at left may be larger than life to help show the fine details.
Approximate Weight: 19.2 carats
Treatments: Unknown

Cabochon7 - Turquoise Cabochon - $9.60
 
Cabochon7 - Turquoise Cabochon Locality: Kingman, Arizona
Approximate Size: 18.2mm long x 16.9mm wide x 4.2mm thick. Please note the image at left may be larger than life to help show the fine details.
Approximate Weight: 6.4 carats
Treatments: Unknown

Cabochon8 - Turquoise Cabochon - $44.80
 
Cabochon8 - Turquoise Cabochon Locality: Nevada Blue Mine, Nevada
Approximate Size: 30.2mm long x 19.5mm wide x 5.5mm thick. Please note the image at left may be larger than life to help show the fine details.
Approximate Weight: 17.9 carats
Treatments: Unknown

This cabochon has a minor void in the backside edge which will conceal beneath a bezel.

This cabochon has an actual white spot, indicated by the arrow in the image at left. The other "white spots" appearing in this image are artifacts of light glare.

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