Sessions Announced for 2023 Turquoise United Symposium

The Turquoise United Symposium is an event during the annual Turquoise United conference where the turquoise industry comes together to present on turquoise and discuss the state of turquoise knowledge.

In a statement released by Turquoise United Symposium Chair Craig Comish, he announced the presentations on the schedule for the 2023 conference. After looking through the available sessions, I am looking forward to the conference this year. 

In 2023 the Turquoise United Symposium will have a variety of interesting presentations and discussions. The symposium will start with a panel discussion on the laws concerning turquoise, Arkansas Turquoise, Turquoise testing protocols at GIA, and the symposium will wrap up with a presentation on the theory of “Fingerprinting” turquoise. 

Laws: Protections and Liabilities

The website says that this session will discuss the current laws on the books as well as past laws and laws that should potentially be proposed on a state or federal levels. Panelists will represent each specialty in turquoise as well as subject matter panelists that represent government departments. Turquoise United has already confirmed a representative from the U.S. Department of the Interior for this panel discussion.

It should be very interesting to see who this presentation brings to the table. This the starting point for a new look at the legal regulations involving turquoise? With the Department of Interior present, I wouldn’t be surprised if some local or state lawmakers would attend and maybe even file legislation because of what they hear. This may be a moment that becomes a historical turning point for the turquoise industry.

Arkansas Turquoise?: A geologic evaluation of the Mona Lisa Mine

Turquoise in the United States has long been attributed to the southwestern states, however one group of miners and scientists report to have found turquoise in Arkansas. One scientist, Alexander Goodsuhm, devoted his masters thesis to this mining operation. He will be presenting his research and defending his findings to a panel  representing the entire turquoise community. I spoke with Alex in December and he is very excited about turquoise. 

This is just the kind of discussion that Turquoise United wants to facilitate during this and future symposiums. The symposium was founded as a place to explore new research and studies into turquoise. Turquoise is not only a historic gemstone, but a current gem as well. We should encourage and engage in new research on the subject, not just repeat the information that might have been published decades ago. For example: many new miners with new discoveries need to have a place to share.

Identification of Turquoise in the Gemological Laboratory: Behind the Scenes with Turquoise at GIA

After attending Turquoise United 2022, Dr. Aaron Palke co-authored a report in Gems and Geology about his experiences at the conference; I see Dr. Palke becoming a regular fixture at Turquoise United conferences for years to come. Dr. Palke says he is most interested in Sapphires, but I feel like turquoise is starting to gain ground in his heart. 

This session is sure to intrigue many in the industry, especially as turquoise continues to take its rightful place alongside the other rare gemstones on the world stage. With an organization with the prestige of GIA becoming more aware and interested in turquoise, the future of turquoise and Turquoise United looks very bright.

Fingerprinting – Sourcing Turquoise Origins

Fingerprinting turquoise is an interesting theory, this has been one of the bases for writing some of the history of the western hemisphere. I expect this session will amaze the historians in the room at how much history was founded on this shaky “science”. I would not be surprised if the British Museum decided to send a representative to defend their publication using fingerprinting as a way to prove questionable conclusions about their nine mesoamerican artifacts. This session is sure to make a splash in the world of academia.

Science is always updating information based on new studies and research. The earth has gone from flat to round because of new information and life expectancy has gone from the mid 30s to the mid 70s based on new research in medical science. Isn’t that the beauty of science, the opportunity to learn something new? As with any scientific information, some people agree and some disagree with the conclusion, many people still believe the earth is flat, no matter what the scientific method may say. I expect the subject of “fingerprinting” to be no different, some will agree and others will disagree with the findings of the new  information from this study. The different perspectives will create a great conversation for learning from each other, and that is exactly what the symposium was founded to facilitate. I am very excited about this session.  


After each presentation there will be a panel discussion on the subject, one of the interesting aspects of Turquoise United is the fact that panels are designed to represent the entire industry, not just certain facets of it. Each panel will have a representative miner, lapidary, dealer, scientist, Imitation developer, collector, appraiser, and end-use artist. Anyone interested in turquoise or these subjects should apply to be a panelist for the discussions. If you’ve ever wanted to share your knowledge with other artists and enthusiasts, this is your chance!

After releasing the sessions for 2023, Turquoise United’s Symposium Chair Craig Commish said that applications to present will continue to be accepted, and that any submitted applications to present will be applied to the 2024 symposium. Vist the Turquoise United website to apply to present during the Turquoise United symposium in 2024. 

Registration starts at $95 which is very reasonable for a conference like this, some conferences I have attended would charge at least $350 to attend. The sessions this year promise not to disappoint and I for one, cannot wait for the conference to start!

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