China has become one of the world's leading producers of turquoise, with approximately 75% of the world's turquoise production. However, because of environmental degradation caused by strip-mining in Chinese mines, the government has closed a number of the mines and has imposed strict mining regulations, somewhat limiting the production of turquoise.
Chinese turquoise tends to have mostly blues and black as a color scheme.
Tibetan turquoise comes from the Himalayan area of Tibet. It tends to have more greens, from higher levels of iron impurities. It is the same source of turquoise that the Tibetans have used and worn for centuries.
Over the centuries it has been prized by Tibetans for its alleged healing properties. It is said to promote fertility, well-being, and prosperity, and has been worn in jewelry by both male and female Tibetans.
Most of the Chinese and Tibetan turquoise has been stabilized. In turquoise, stabilization is not a bad thing. It strengthens the stone, deepens and enriches the color, and aids in its overall protection.
There are two types of stabilizing mixtures. One, called clear shot, doesn't change the color of the turquoise. It just makes it richer and easier to see. The other, used on low grade turquoise, is called color shot because it adds dye to the stone.
Clear shot uses a resin or a plastic to strengthen the turquoise, which is often very soft when non-stabilized, and in the process creates a somewhat shiny surface like putting water on a river pebble.
We have a number of Chinese and Tibetan turquoise cabochons on our Heart of Stone Studio website, www.heartofstonestudio.com.