We do not believe that Natural Turquoise is better than Stabilized for most intents and purposes. We believe that both have there purpose, place, beauty, and use. Natural is more rare. On the flip side Stabilized is more durable and does not change colors.
Stabilized Turquoise is better suited for most consumers. Turquoise is NOT stabilized to trick people. That is a myth. Gemstones are stabilized to make them more durable and to keep the color from changing in softer stones, end of story. This process was developed by Tiffany and Co back when they owned Turquoise mines and it was a major stone in their jewelry lines. They developed the process to better the gemstone and their product line.
Another myth is that Stabilized Turquoise is cheaper than natural. THAT IS FALSE. Most of the Stabilized turquoise we cut is more expensive in the rough than MOST of the natural Turquoise rough that is for sale by miners which is accessible to most cutters without special connections to the miners. Most of the natural Turquoise rough for sale today is medium to low grade. ONLY NATURAL GEM QUALITY Turquoise is more valuable, not because it is better, but because there is a lower percentage (less than 10%) of gems from any mine that are naturally hard, stunning color and matrix, and able to cut wonderfully.
We have paid as much as 5,000 per lbs for Stabilized high grade rough and we have paid as little as 75 per lbs for Natural rough (which was low grade, but a customer request it). On the flip side, there is natural Turquoise rough out there worth as much as 20,000 per lbs. This is why you must trust who you are buying from and why you MUST DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH if you are concerned about natural and stabilized. To the trained eye it is very easy to tell natural from stabilized. It can also be told from the price when dealing with high grade. Gem grade stabilized stones usually sell for 3 – 25 dollars per carat depending on the mine they came from, color, and matrix pattern. Gem grade natural Turquoise usually sells from 5 – 300 dollars per carat. There is a wide range of values for both types of Turquoise. For the most part this is why people are concerned. They want to make sure they are not over paying for stones. To me that is not as much of a worry as you can see unless you are talking about super high grade collectible stones that belong in gold, the prices are fairly similar. In fact, on today’s market much of the Stabilized Turquoise commands a higher price than the mid grade natural that most cutters sale.
One reason that you may be very concerned whether a stone is natural or not would be a personal preference or belief that natural is more “organic” or less processed. This would be especially concerning if your customers had been trained by salesman that natural is better, or if they had been trained by healers that natural is more pure, hence more powerful for healing.
In closing, my advice is not to judge either variety of Turquoise or other gemstones, but rather think of your use for the product knowing that in many ways stabilized gems are far superior. As a lifetime jeweler and stone cutter, we will admit we used to be a purist, however over time and experience having made and sold our jewelry as well as others, to hundreds of thousands of customers, in general, stabilized gems are better for most end users. You will avoid repairs, chipped stones, and the jewelry will be more affordable. Which is a “win win” for most. How we conduct our jewelry business is to make both products in as many price ranges as possible so that we can accommodate every customer as best as we can.