Can Turquoise Get Wet?

Can Turquoise Get Wet?

Turquoise, with its captivating blue and green hues, is a beloved gemstone often seen in jewelry and decorative items. Its unique appearance and historical significance make it a favorite among gem enthusiasts and collectors. However, a common question arises: can turquoise get wet? The answer involves understanding the nature of the stone and the practices surrounding its use.

The Nature of Turquoise

Turquoise is a porous gemstone, meaning it has tiny holes and spaces within its structure. This porosity makes it susceptible to absorbing liquids and chemicals, which can affect its color and durability. The gemstone is relatively soft compared to others, ranking around 5 to 6 on the Mohs scale of hardness. This means it can be easily scratched or damaged by harder materials.

The Impact of Water on Turquoise

Water itself is not inherently harmful to turquoise, but prolonged exposure or repeated wetting can cause several issues:

  1. Color Change: Turquoise can change color when exposed to water over time. The stone may become darker or develop spots due to the absorption of liquids. This is particularly concerning for untreated or natural turquoise, which has not undergone any stabilization processes.
  2. Structural Weakening: Continuous exposure to water can weaken the structure of turquoise, making it more prone to cracking or breaking. The water can also wash away any treatments that have been applied to enhance the stone’s durability and appearance.
  3. Absorption of Chemicals: Water often contains chemicals, such as chlorine in swimming pools or minerals in tap water, which can be absorbed by turquoise. These chemicals can cause discoloration or damage to the stone.

Traditional Practices and Turquoise

Moreover, water is strongly discouraged for turquoise because the Amerindians, who were among the earliest and most skilled turquoise craftsmen, often set the turquoise stones on sawdust or other organic materials. These materials acted as a cushion and helped protect the stone from damage. When water is introduced, it can cause the sawdust or organic setting to swell, contract, or degrade, leading to potential damage to the turquoise.

Caring for Turquoise

Given the sensitivity of turquoise to water and other elements, here are some tips to ensure its longevity and beauty:

  1. Avoid Prolonged Exposure to Water: Remove turquoise jewelry before swimming, bathing, or engaging in activities that involve prolonged water exposure. Occasional, brief contact with water is less likely to cause significant damage, but it’s best to minimize it.
  2. Store Properly: Store turquoise jewelry in a dry, cool place, away from direct sunlight and extreme temperatures. Using a soft pouch or jewelry box can help protect it from scratches and environmental factors.
  3. Clean Gently: If cleaning is necessary, use a soft, dry cloth to wipe the turquoise. Avoid using commercial jewelry cleaners, soaps, or ultrasonic cleaners, as these can contain harsh chemicals that might damage the stone.
  4. Regular Inspection: Periodically inspect turquoise jewelry for signs of damage or wear. If you notice any changes in color or structure, consult a professional jeweler who specializes in turquoise for advice on proper care or restoration.


In conclusion, while turquoise can get wet, it is not advisable to expose it to water regularly or for extended periods. The stone’s porous nature and traditional settings, such as those used by Amerindians, make it susceptible to damage from moisture. By understanding the characteristics of turquoise and following proper care guidelines, you can ensure that your turquoise jewelry remains beautiful and intact for years to come.

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