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Topics: Turquoise, Stabilizing

Q.
How do I stabilize stones like turquoise?
- Lori
A.
As defined by the American Gem Trade Association (AGTA), stabilization is the use of a colorless bonding agent (commonly plastic) with a porous gemstone to give it durability and improve appearance. Turquoise is a commonly stabilized gemstone.

Stabilizing turquoise is done through a proprietary process by most manufacturers who cut and sell turquoise. The stabilizing process hardens the stone so a hole can be drilled, the stone can withstand general use and so the color is maintained. Most of the turquoise available from Fire Mountain Gems and Beads has already been stabilized--in fact, most of the turquoise on the market has been stabilized.

Some who process the turquoise add dye during the stabilization process to make the color consistent and that much more beautiful. The color should be stable, but if you want to be sure the color stands the test of time, and wear, rinse the beads in warm water then pat dry. Once the beads are completely dry, apply a fixative. Both brush-on, Mona Lisa™ Metal Leaf™ top coat sealant, and spray-on, SpectraFix™, are good options.

- Michelle Wood, Jewelry-Making Expert

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