Is Turquoise Rare?

By Joe Dan Lowry | Copyright Jan, 6, 2020

The answer is yes.
Turquoise is one of the rarest gemstones in the world.

Rare- (of an event, situation, or condition) not occurring very often.
(of a thing) not found in large numbers and consequently of interest or value.

Unique-being the only one of its kind; unlike anything else.

Let’s compare the rarity of turquoise to diamonds
Travel the world or attend the Hong Kong or Tucson gem shows.

Then ask yourself:

How many diamond stores in or nearby every mall in the world? Four or five?

How many diamond stores in every town in the world?

How many turquoise stores in every mall in the world? None


Supply and demand- Supply refers to the amount of goods that are available. Demand refers to how many people want those goods. The demand for diamonds is great and needs a gemstone that is not the
rarest to supply such a massive market. How large of a supply of diamonds does it take to supply the mass amount of diamond stores in the world?

Turquoise supplies a much smaller market. By definition of rarity (not market size) turquoise is rarer than diamonds.

Diamonds deserve their place in the world of gemstones as a commerce gemstone. They are an easy gemstone and subject to learn about and grade. They are common enough that anyone can be taught to be an expert within a qualified class study.

Turquoise is a rare gemstone with many one of-a-kind formations that can take a lifetime to learn. The gemstone turquoise is not about conformity but about rarity and uniqueness. Photography is slowly changing the world’s collector’s appreciation for what is rare. Unique is defined as one-of-a-kind and there are many forms of turquoise that are unique.

But, they say a diamond has a hardness of 10 and turquoise is a soft gemstone. The discussion is what is rare not which gemstone is harder. A painting by Picasso or Monet is not a 10 on the hardness scale, but they are rare and will need to be properly cared for. The cool thing about a diamond is that you can wear it forever and not worry about a thing ever happening to it. If you lose it, you can even buy another one just like it.

The world is becoming aware that turquoise’s rarity is defined by the gemstone itself and not by a culture’s uses of turquoise in their arts or by comparing turquoise to other gemstones.

It is through the scientific study of the geology and mineralogy of turquoise that its true rarity and varieties are defined and appreciated. For generations, many in the gemstone community have diminished turquoise’s monetary value and gemstone standing by negatively comparing turquoise’s inconsistencies of its colors, the intrusions of other minerals, and its medium hardness to other gemstones such as a diamond. Turquoise is a rare and collectible gemstones specifically because of these so-called inconsistencies.

A specific geological area and its available mineralogy are what determine the size, density, harness, color, intrusions, and specific chemical formula of turquoise. As each of these diversities in color, clarity, matrix, and source have become scientifically identified and cataloged by picture, the rarest of
these categories have become collectibles.

Natural turquoise is one of the rarest gemstones in the world.

In my opinion: If someone counted all the imitations that have been made of turquoise through the years, they would discover that all of the imitations of turquoise are actually rarer than all the natural diamonds.

Joe Dan Lowry
©January 6, 2020

Talkin Turquoise 1/10/2020 Joe Dan and Jacob discuss Joe Dan's latest blog post "Is Turquoise Rare?"

Posted by Turquoise Museum on Friday, January 10, 2020