Stone Differences – Natural Turquoise Vs. Turquoise Dyed Howlite

Did you know that 90% of the Turquoise on the market is actually dyed Howlite? Howlite is an absorbent white mineral that can be dyed in almost any color imaginable. So how do you tell the difference? There three main keys to look for:

  • Appearance – Real Turquoise has a unique and identifiable look.
  • Color stability – Can the color be removed?
  • Price – If it looks too good to be true it probably is but sometimes you are able to get it in second hand shops for a steal! It just depends if the person selling it, knows what they have or not.

Different ways of testing:

The Cutting Test

If you have the instruments to cut through stone and you dont mind cutting the stone or drilling into it, this is a perfect test for you! Dyed howlite only dyes the surface of howlite but not the inside so when you cut your stone and the inside is white then you have dyed howlite and not Turquoise.

The Fingernail Test

This method can be used if you have a rough natural stone. Simply use your fingernail and run it along the surface of the turquoise stone. If your fingernail gets caught on where the Turquoise meets the webbing matrix, then chances are in your favor that it is a natural turquoise stone.

The Scratch Test

The scratch test is going to help you determine the hardness of the specimen. Howlite is softer than turquoise, so we can use this to our advantage when determining if the turquoise is fake. Simply look to see if the stone you have scratches easily.  If it scratches easily, then chances are you have a piece of howlite.  If it’s difficult to scratch the stone, then odds are in your favor that it’s real turquoise.

The Acetone Test

Take a cotton swab and dab it with some nail polish remover (Acetone), rub a part of the stone that is not visible because if it is dyed howlite then it will be noticeable when you remove the dye. If the color comes off then you dont have real Turquoise but dyed howlite.

✨FYI, there is nothing wrong with having turquoise dyed Howlite! In the metaphysical point of view, you have the color properties of Turquoise plus the properties of Howlite!! Just make sure you are not being overcharged for Howlite that is marked as Turquoise because Howlite is fairly cheap.

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