The Stone: Turquoise with Azurite
The Weight: 72.02 carats
The Origin: Morenci, Arizona
The Cut: Polished Freeform Sculpture
- stone measurements: 20.29mm x 27.12mm x 17.62mm
What once was regarded a common byproduct of copper mining is now realized to be a rather scarce gem. Typically found in or near copper mines around the world, turquoise from each locality differs in color, quality, character, and rarity. Certain mines are known for producing highly valuable material in very limited quantity. Inclusions of other copper-bearing minerals such as azurite, malachite, and chrysocolla are not uncommon.
Turquoise ranks 5 to 6 on the Mohs scale of hardness. Because this is often not suitable for everyday wear, most turquoise on the market is hardened (or "stabilized") with electricity and/or polymer. Stabilization is viewed as an accepted, regular practice in the lapidary industry and is not to be confused with "dying" material. Dyed (or artificially colored) material is not viewed as favorably among dealers and collectors. It is very important to be careful when cleaning your turquoise jewelry. Turquoise is a porous stone that can absorb any harsh chemical used. Avoid putting your turquoise jewelry in chemical jewelry cleaners, and be sure to focus only on cleaning the metal around your stone.
Azurite is a deep, royal blue stone that is found around the world as a byproduct of copper mining along with turquoise, chrysocolla, and malachite. It is not uncommon to find combinations of azurite and these other stones. Due to its rich color, azurite has been processed and used as pigment for centuries; this practice was started by early Egyptians and became especially popular through the Middle Ages.
Azurite is a very soft stone ranking 3.5 to 4 on the Mohs hardness scale. It is highly recommended to set loose azurite stones into earrings or pendants. Rings made with azurite can only be worn delicately for special occasions. Avoid all chemical jewelry cleaners when cleaning your azurite jewelry; instead, clean only with mild to cool water and a soft bristled toothbrush. A jeweler's rouge cloth on only the metal is the ideal method.