Authentic White Turquoise generally comes from Arizona and Nevada, USA. Although it is called White Turquoise, there is a
slight tint of blue or green color from the minerals in the rock that actually make the material test as authentic Turquoise. For example, Sacred Buffalo (Dry Creek Turquoise) has a very slight tint of clear blue,
Tortoise has a slight tint of green and so on.
The fact is, many Turquoise Mines in the U.S. have light to white turquoise material that will test as Turquoise (or to have the elements of Turquoise), however, it is so soft it has the hardness of chalk, nearly "O" on the Mohs Scale. For this reason, it is not hard enough to cut and polish into White Turquoise cabochons that are suitable for use in quality Jewelry.
It is possible to enhance or stabilize this material to bring it to the hardness needed to make it a viable material suitable for quality Jewelry.
The problem is that more often then not, processing this type of material brings out the color in the stone, and it is no longer "White Turquoise". So, the Stabilized Turquoise is no longer white, it becomes deeper blue or green when enhanced.
The demand for White Turquoise has come to be fairly recently. Turquoise Miners of the past hunted for deep rich blues and greens in
Turquoise and did not give white or light colored material any consideration. There could be a considerable amount of what we now consider White Turquoise in Arizona and Nevada that is hard, beautiful and of high quality, time will tell. There is now a market for it and minors will not discard it in the future! Most of this "White Turquoise" is actually one of two substances called Howlite and Magnasite. The rare White Turquoise Jewelry is made with actual White Turquoise from the Dry Creek or Sacred Buffalo mine, the Tortoise Turquoise mine, or the Peacock Turquoise mine. On rare occasion White Turquoise jewelry is made with Chalcociderite (a sister mineral to Turquoise) from the Badger Mine, New Landers Mine, Tortoise Mine, Peacock Mine, Prince Mine, Colorback Mine or one of the other Chalcociderite producing Turquoise mines in Nevada, USA.
The most popular Stone being used in Southwest Silver Jewelry is White Buffalo. Although they call White Buffalo Turquoise, it is actually not. The name "White Buffalo Turquoise" was given to this rock from the Otteson's who are very experience in mining Turquoise and have been doing so for generations of well over 50 years. We, John and Dillon Hartman have personally examined a specimen of White Buffalo with a seam of mid-colored blue Turquoise running through the rock which is located in Tonopah, Nevada. We can easily understand why the Otteson's named this material "White Buffalo Turquoise" however they do not call it White Turquoise when selling or talking to people and usually simply call it White Buffalo.
Several years back, Dean Otteson, the owner and miner of the Royston Turquoise Mine had been noticing that there was a market for something white in the Southwest Jewelry market. He went to his father Lynn Otteson, who had been scouting and mining Turquoise in the Tonopah area for over 50 years, and asked if he was aware of any White Turquoise in the area. Lynn Otteson knew right where to go. He remembered the White Buffalo Turquoise that he had seen years before. So they unearthed the rare and beautiful treasure. There are critics and competitors who say it isn't turquoise at all. HoweverWhite Buffalo Turquoise lies in veins like turquoise. Surrounded by in black chert a black rock similar to flint. It cuts and polishes like turquoise, and IT HAS GEOLOGISTS baffled. So, until someone can prove differently, we are going to call it White Turquoise!
As soon as they Mined and cut the White Buffalo Turquoise, they took it to the market and it was a hit, people absolutely loved it. As usual, the testing of the material did not come back for months and White Buffalo had become so popular by that time that it's name, White Buffalo Turquoise had become the name of this material and it was set in stone! So today, we must call it White Turquoise or White Buffalo Turquoise in order for consumers to know what we are talking about.
The bottom line is that this beautiful hard white Gemstone has now become the standard for White Turquoise and right or wrong it is called "White Buffalo Turquoise". It was named that by the Otteson's and in respect of their great Turquoise Mining past, we will go along with this name only because it is owned and mined by some of the most famous and historic Turquoise Minors of all times, The Otteson's. You can read more about the Otteson's and White Buffalo Turquoise on This Site.
To the left - A piece of White Turquoise from the White Buffalo mine cut by Dillon Hartman that he personally got from the Otteson's. This is true White Buffalo Turquoise which you can compare to. This material is hard, takes a great polish and is definitely suited to be used in quality Jewelry. The black matrix is called Chert, White Turquoise from the White Buffalo Turquoise mine is found in this material, the Chert often runs in various patterns throughout the white material. Occasionally you will find it in a spiderwebbing pattern which is rare and more valuable.
To the right- is another piece of White Buffalo Turquoise set in a Silver Ring. This White Turquoise stone was also cut by Dillon Hartman and the Ring was made by John Hartman. You can see the Chert matrix is different in configuration, this is because this White Buffalo Turquoise was mined in a different formation in the earth. Matrix in all Turquoise changes from the different formations it comes out of which is one of the beauties of Turquoise from Nevada. Almost every Nevada Turquoise Stone that you will look at will be different from another, they may have the same characteristic, but, they do not completely match.
To the left - A ring with Sacred Buffalo Turquoise from the Dry Creek Mine in Nevada. Dry Creek Turquoise is considered white Turquoise by many as it runs very light powder blue to a medium powder sky blue. It is a good hard White Turquoise that takes a great polish.
To the right - A White Tortoise Turquoise Stone set in a lost wax Ring. This stone has black spider webbing and a slight minty green tint but is considered White Turquoise. Tortoise Turquoise runs from a very light mint green white to mint greens and even blue Spiderweb Turquoise.
To the left - A Wild Horse Stone from Arizona. Wild Horse came out shortly after White Buffalo and was sold by many as White Turquoise. It is not Turquoise but is another white stone that is used in Southwestern Silver Jewelry. Wild Horse is white in color with brown to reddish brown matrix.
To the right - A Bead Necklace with White Buffalo and Tortoise Beads. White Buffalo Turquoise goes well with most other colors for Bead Necklaces as well as Silver Jewelry.
Fake White Turquoise - There is a lot of so called "White Turquoise" on the market these days due to the demand of the fashion industry.
There is actually very little authentic White Turquoise being used in the Jewelry being made that is claimed to be "White Turquoise Jewelry". There is material in Arizona and Nevada that is white or off white and will test as Turquoise, as mentioned above, the demand for White Turquoise has just developed recently. American Turquoise Miners have not had the time needed to locate quality material that will test as authentic Turquoise.
Buyer Beware! When consumer demand, or a fad, for any product arises - manufactures scramble to produce the product as quickly as possible to take advantage of a good financial opportunity. With the advent of NAFTA and GATT, the global free trade acts, we have opened up our marketplace to the world of mass production. There are money hungry industrialists that will do anything to make a fast fortune and the Chinese, in particular, has discovered this market. As a buyer you should understand there is a big deference between Howlite, Magnisite, chalk and real White American Turquoise. There is a good reason why some, so called "White Turquoise" Jewelry is cheap, and the reason is that the so called "White Turquoise" is fake Turquoise being made in China. Beyond this fact, if the company is selling fake Turquoise it is questionable if there Jewelry is even made with Sterling Silver!
We hope you have enjoyed our presentation and have gained some useful knowledge from it. We invite you to learn more about Turquoise and Turquoise Jewelry by following the links in our Learning Center to other informational pages that we have written on different topics related to Turquoise Jewelry. In addition, we would like to invite you to join our E-Mail Newsletter - about once every other month we send out a Newsletter to inform our members of what's happening with Durango Silver Company, new products, specials for our members and more. We also have a monthly drawing from our member base to give away free Turquoise Jewelry from our company. Please take a moment to become one of our friends by signing in below. We hope this will help you in purchasing your White Buffalo Turquoise jewelry or other White Turquoise.
All prices are in USD