How is the value of turquoise established?

There are many types of turquoise. And the cost can vary based on many factors.

  • Market conditions: Ultimately, the value is established by what people will pay and the principle of supply and demand. If demand is high and available product is low, prices likely will increase. If a lot of turquoise is being produced, value would likely be less.
  • Location: Where the turquoise is from can make a difference. This isn’t always true but if turquoise comes from a mine that is no longer producing, it is possible that value will increase, driven up by collectors.
  • How it is finished: Cabochons are sold by the carat weight, just like a diamond, and can be more valuable than rough stones.

The Ottesons have found that the highest prices tend to come from the BEST stones, the BEST mine, and the RAREST rock. Finding these gems is a tedious, exacting process.


Why is some turquoise so expensive?

If the conditions are just right, turquoise can be expensive based on a number of factors:

  • The type of turquoise (particularly those with rare qualities)
  • Distinctive characteristics
  • Stones that are cut well
  • Unusual or highly distinctive settings
  • Stones that have been the result of significant labor/craftsmanship

The highest prices turquoise can bring as much as $1,000 per carat.


Why is so much turquoise relatively inexpensive?

  • In many ways, the market is flooded with mass-produced turquoise available at relatively low cost. Much of this is imitation turquoise or cheaper quality product.
  • For some of this low-cost turquoise, low grade unusable turquoise is crushed into a fine powder (often in an international market with low-cost labor). Dyes may be added to give color. The final produce may be cut to resemble real turquoise but is quite different from the real thing.
    • This kind of low grade turquoise can be purchased for a couple hundred per pound. Almost all turquoise sold in flea markets or general merchandise stores results from this source.
  • Higher quality turquoise is mined from high-grade deposits that are stable when they are pulled from the ground. Jewelry made from these stones is designed and manufactured by skilled craftsmen with the result that it costs more.


How can I learn the value of my turquoise products?

One of the best ways is to find a reputable dealer in your area.


How can I learn more about the Ottesons and their mining business?

The Otteson family has several web sites. They include:


How can I learn more about turquoise?

Independent sources can confirm the information above and provide additional details. Here are links to a few of the more reputable sites providing information on turquoise:


From Rocks to Reclamation: Protecting the Land and the Environment

In their task of mining turquoise, the Otteson family is extremely sensitive to conservation issue and passionate about protecting the environment. Throughout the history of the family they have shown respect for the land. Central to every project is “reclamation,” going to the spot that has been dug, and restoring the land to its natural setting. This very extensive process involves replacing brush, trees, and anything else needing to be replaced. Their goal: When they are finished, no one would be able to tell they were there.

The Ottesons also work hand-in-hand with the national and state environmental protection agencies for every project. In fact, the hope is that a future episode of Turquoise Fever will include their conservation efforts.