We recently acquired a lot of vintage Hubei Turquoise. This is one of the rare instances where we chose to deal in pre-cut product in lieu of manufacturing our own. We considered the availability of similar-quality rough and found there wasn’t anything currently available that would result in equally awesome strands.

Since Hubei Turquoise comes from China, I want to debunk some myths about Chinese Turquoise generally, and give some more details about the significance of the Hubei variety.



Myth #1: Chinese Turquoise is “Fake” Turquoise

No. No. No. Chinese Turquoise got a bad name because disreputable or ignorant re-sellers attempted to pass off synthetic or composite stimulants as authentic. True Chinese Turquoise comes out of a mine, just like North American varieties. Unlike North American Turquoise, the stone is not named for the specific mine and the overly vague (and loaded) term “Chinese Turquoise” is applied. The best Turquoise mines in China are located in the Hubei region. Since our special batch came exclusively from Hubei mines, we feel it’s important to make the distinction.

Myth #2: Only North American Turquoise is Rare and Valuable


There was a period of time where North American Turquoise was abundant and relatively inexpensive- but then mines started to close and prices skyrocketed. At least one major Hubei mine has closed in the last five years. At the same time, Turquoise jewelry has become fashionable in China and less available for export. Prices have already increased substantially, and some believe that, like its North American counterparts, Hubei Turquoise will increase dramatically in price over the next 5-10 years.

Side Note: In 2012, I bought a triple strand of Sleeping Beauty Turquoise. I was hesitant because it was expensive. At the time, I thought that the vendor was just trying to close the sale by telling me the price would only go up-up-up since the mine had closed. To get something similar today, I’d have to pay at least 8 times what I paid a few years ago.



Myth 3: North American Turquoise is Objectively “Prettier”

Yikes! NO! North American Turquoise has some cool things going for it, but there are distinct qualities in Hubei Turquoise that aren’t replicated in any North American varieties. For example, Hubei Turquoise is widely accepted to have the most striking “spider webbing” in its matrix, as well as the widest range of color hue and intensity. Hubei Turquoise may have the brilliant colors associated with North American Turquoise varieties and frequently resembles specimens from now-closed Nevada mines, but it can also range from blues and greens to tan and rust.

Hubei Turquoise also has the most dramatic combination of bold blues, greens, and dark matrices.

Takeaway: Hubei Turquoise is just as much Turquoise as Campitos, Sleeping Beauty, or any other variety. It’s currently less expensive, but probably won’t always be. And if you’re moved to design with it, it’s a question of personal aesthetic (and possible price-savvy) - nothing else.

Erin, Dakota Stones

4 Comments

Shelee Bush

Date 4/9/2018

Great information! Thank you. Best, Shelee

Patricia Vanderbloemen

Date 4/10/2018

I must say...your marketing is working! Every time I read your blog posts, I buy more gems! Ugh! :) This post was most informative...thank you!

elia

Date 4/10/2018

Thank you Erin. This was very helpful in that I was sitting on the fence about purchasing this very beautiful Hubei Turquoise. Elia

Don

Date 3/27/2019

A friend soaked a large pice of turquoise in a strong solution of Dawn dish soap, it turned spotty ,light blue to white, was it fake or did he just ruin it. A acitone test showed no rubed off color.

Kylie

Date 6/11/2020

Great article! I have a question though- do you know if turquoise mined from Hubei province is fair trade? China still has problems with modern-day slavery (although obviously not all products from China are automatically made with slave labor). I'd just want to make sure the miners are getting paid for the work they put in before purchasing Hubei turquoise.

Kahny

Date 10/6/2020

Hi, I also would be interested to know if Hubei province stones are ok to purchase from an ethical and environmental point of view, if someone has information about that topic! Thanks!

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