In New Mexico, jewelry containing turquoise is a multi-million dollar industry with felony-level penalties for misrepresenting the product. One of our TV stations (KRQE) did an investigative report on jewelry sold by several Santa Fe shops, the Museum of NM and the Smithsonian. They bought items, mostly inlaid pieces and some round beads, and had them examined by an earth sciences professor at the University of NM. All the examples they showed proved to be plastic, even the jewelry from the Smithsonian Gift Shop (which sent refunds to customers). If they picked up any samples that proved genuine, they didn't mention them. One shop immediately went out of business. In another, the owner admitted she just took the word of the seller and didn't know how to tell the difference. The UNM professor examined the stones under the microscope and tried gouging the backs of the stones with a sharp tool. He could tell they were plastic by the way they scratched. He cut the beads in half and observed that there was only matrix on the surface...dead giveaway. Sooo, you can deduce that there is a good chance you may own a piece of blue plastic and that you'll probably never know the difference because you're not a college professor. Sorry.
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