Feature Gems & Gemology, Spring 1999, Volume 35, No. 1

The Identification of Zachery-Treated Turquoise

Over the last 10 years, millions of carats of turquoise have been enhanced by a proprietary process called the Zachery treatment. Tests show that this process effectively improves a stone’s ability to take a good polish and may or may not improve a stone’s color. It also decreases the material’s porosity, limiting its tendency to absorb discoloring agents such as skin oils. Examination of numerous samples known to be treated by this process revealed that Zachery-treated turquoise has gemological properties that are similar to those of untreated natural turquoise, and that the treatment does not involve impregnation with a polymer. Most Zachery-treated turquoise can be identified only through chemical analysis—most efficiently, by EDXRF spectroscopy—as it contains significantly more potassium than its untreated counterpart.