Turquoise FAQs

Have some questions about your turquoise jewelry?

If you don’t see your question below, feel free to email us at blueroanturquoise@gmail.com or use the “Contact Us” form at the bottom of this page and we will get back to you! Chances are, other people have the same question and I'd be happy to provide additional information to everyone!

What is the difference between authentic Navajo pearls and desert pearls?

This is a great question! Desert pearls are also called oxybeads/oxidized pearls or cowgirl pearls. The initial difference is the cost. Authentic Navajo pearls are more expensive than oxybeads, which are also called desert pearls (what you will see them named on my website) or cowgirl pearls. While both pearls are made of sterling silver, the process of how they are made is what sets the apart. Authentic Navajo pearls are handmade, each bead is handmade then oxidized to give the dark color and strung on foxtail. The authentic Navajo pearls have a handmade French hook instead of a machine-made hook or clasp.

Unfortunately, some boutiques and other turquoise shops fail to explain or label the difference on their pearls. Be aware and don’t be afraid to ask your seller questions. If you see pearls labeled “Navajo pearls” but are not the price typically seen on authentic pearls, ask questions! Clarify with them before you purchase! My goal here is not to put down other boutiques, my goal here is to educate you as the consumer to ensure that you know EXACTLY what you are paying for!  

Why are Navajo pearls more expensive that other sterling silver necklaces?

The price for Navajo pearls and Oxybeads is determined by the weight of the necklace. There is more variety in price for authentic Navajo pearls because each bead is handmade and therefore difficult to make each beads using the same amount of sterling silver as the previous bead. Pearls with larger beads are more expensive because they are heavier, there is more silver required to make the large beads. However, you will also find that sometimes small bead necklaces are also more expensive. This is due to the difficulty of making the small beads, especially small saucer style beads. Keep in mind when you are purchasing pearls, that you are not only paying for the silver and the product, but for the artists time and labor!

Why are my Navajo pearls getting darker?

This is normal! Sterling silver reacts with the air and the oils on your skin and oxidizes, so as you wear them, they will get darker, typically where they rest on your chest. Our jewelry picks up the oils from our skin when we wear them, and the more we wear it, the more oil it will absorb. This is OK, it means you are loving your pearls! You can polish the middle of the beads with a sterling silver polishing cloth.

To avoid any extra damage to your pearls, avoid wearing them in the shower (especially if you get your water from a well, well water typically is more mineral concentrated), hot tubs, swimming pools and while using any harsh cleaning products. Avoid letting them come in contact with harsh chemicals and elements.

How should I store my pearls?

Since the sterling silver reacts with oxygen, it is best to store your pearls in an airtight bag or container to keep it from reacting with the elements! However, this can be hard if you are wearing them daily, so just be sure to give them a polish every once in a while with a silver polishing cloth.

How do you clean your turquoise jewelry?

Use a standard silver polishing cloth on all your turquoise jewelry, but be sure to avoid polishing the stone itself. In 97% of Navajo turquoise jewelry, the turquoise is stabilized prior to setting it in silver. This is due to the fact that raw natural turquoise is very soft and difficult to work with. The stabilization process requires heat and pressure and a coating of clear epoxy resin. This resin protects the stone from any further damage and discoloration, so ensuring that this coating remains on the stone will aid in the longevity of your jewelry!

Avoid using an ultrasonic cleaning machine. While those are great for your diamond rings, they are harmful to your turquoise jewelry and should be avoided. In addition, do not use any silver polishing cream. The cloth is OK and avoid using it on the stone. The cream will remove that resin coating and will facilitate damage to your stone with continued use. With that being said, if you accidentally run your cloth over the stone or some cream, it is OK. Just be sure to not do it again!


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