Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Jay King of Turquoise!

There has been an ongoing controversy over the Jay King turquoise: block, stabilized, real, fake, and otherwise. You can read my recent post about the situation here.

I emailed Jay's company, Desert Rose Direct, and asked them what exactly block stabilized turquoise was. They were very kind and emailed me a detailed explanation of the process.

I think this should put everyone's concerns to rest.

Dear Bea:

Thank you for taking the time to write in and ask your quesiton. I am so glad that I am getting the opportunity to share with you the below explanation.

Only 100% genuine turquoise nuggets are used.

The 100% genuine turquoise nuggets are pressed under tremendous hydraulic pressure.

This pressure is applied when the nuggets are in a frame called a "block."

The frame is very thick steel as it must withstand tremendous pressure.

Turquoise gets a little softer when soaked in water, this combined with the natural moisture in turquoise allows for what actually takes place as the extreme hydraulic pressure is applied.

The nuggets actually mold around each other creating larger pieces of turquoise. When the moisture dries out, they keep the same formation, which in this case is typically referred to as a "block" as this is the term for referencing the frame they are put in to receive the hydraulic pressure.

At this point, the genuine turquoise nuggets, which have molded around one another, due to pressure only, are dried and stabilized in the exact same way as any turquoise rough.

The stabilization accomplishes the same thing as it does with any turquoise that is stabilized. It helps to maintain the color and avoid the changes that can occur from skin oils, exposure to soaps, etc.

The turquoise we use in our designs that is processed in this fashion/manner is all 100% genuine turquoise and by the time it has been hydraulically pressed and stabilized it is just as all other regularly stabilized turquoise with respect to the ratio of stabilization products in the final result.

By weight only about 1%-2% of the finished material is the stabilization products. 99% of the finished material is genuine turquoise. This is the same as when any piece of turquoise is stabilized.

Possibly the term "optically clear acrylic" is an option to describe the stabilization products/chemicals.

Again, what is used to stabilize the 100% genuine nuggets after being hydraulically pressed/molded together, is the exact same as what is used to stabilize non hydraulically pressed turquoise, of any shape or size.

I am sorry for the confusion!

Please let me know if you have any more questions or need an more information! Have a wonderful Wednesday.

Thank you again for your time.

There you have it, chickadees!


  1. My knowledge of block turquoise is this. Low grade "chalk" turquoise that is unsuitable for any other treatment is crushed in a press, mixed with a resin and color shot (dyed). This is then blocked up in a mold. Then beads can be cut from the block. Large manufacturers of jewelry often use this process as they can determine the cost per bead easier as the beads are being cut from a uniform block of stabilized color shot block turquoise. The difference between this stuff and natural turquoise or even clear stabilized turquoise is tremendous. Most places that define turquoise have block turquoise close to the bottom of the list, maybe just above synthetic turquoise. There is also a lot of dyed magnesite being sold as turquoise or white buffalo turquoise these days at bead shows, on the internet, etc.

  2. Because turquoise is not uniform in size and shape the block process allows for cutting of specific sizes and shapes. It can be done wtih any type of turquoise and doesn't have to be the "bottom of the list" as "Anonymous" stated. Since DRT owns a mine they don't need to use dyed magnesite or howlite (what was referred to as white buffalo) Stablization is used only to maintain color for DRT. No polymers, dyes, or resins are added. If something is color enhanced or dyed such as purple turquoise, it is clearly stated. Again, this is only relevant to Desert Rose Trading and may not apply to other companies.

    1. Is Jay King Purple Turquoise dyed or enhanced in anyway?...Thanks...Jo


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