Last Wednesday I went to the Rings & Things bead show in Mesa and bought some beautiful African Turquoise. I've never used it before, but I loved the small ovals and the pretty turquoise color. It looked like the perfect stone to use for wire wrapping.
I used copper 20 gauge wire to add wrapped loops onto each bead, linking them together as I went. Copper looks great with turquoise. Probably because real turquoise is found with copper when its mined.
I knew African Turquoise wasn't "real" turquoise when I bought it. For one thing, I could afford it. More importantly, Rings & Things had a sign that told about it. I had to smile when I read the sign. African Turquoise, it turns out, is a type of jasper---my favorite stone---that is found in Africa.
Before I went to the bead show this year, I had told myself I would not buy any more jasper. Because I like it so much, I tend to buy it all the time. I have a lot of it, and I knew I needed to branch out and try different stones. So I had to smile when, despite my best intentions, I was drawn to the jasper.
It looks nearly identical to real turquoise, but at a fraction of the cost. For me, it's a great substitute.