Many stones are called "white buffalo turquoise" and there is a lot of confusion as to what truly is a white turquoise. This article will reveal what our research has found to be true.
There is a widely quoted source that comes from the Miami Valley Mineral and Gem Club in their newsletter of January, 2002 Vol 48 #1. It relates that back in 1993, stones were found in a turquoise mine that did not resemble the deep color of turquoise that has been used in Native People's jewelry for centuries.
It was so pale that it looked like porcelain. At the time the name of the mine where it was found on the Shoshone Reservation near Battle Mountain, Nevada was called Dry Creek. Since that time the name has changed but for the purposes of this article we will continue to refer to it as Dry Creek turquoise.
The way turquoise gets its color is from heavy metals that are present in the ground where it forms. Blue turquoise occurs when there is copper present, which is the case of the majority of Arizona turquoises. In Nevada, there is more iron present, thus Nevada turquoises are usually more green.
The lack of any specific color consistency is what makes the Dry Creek stones so distinctive and unique from other turquoises. It is the most pale of all the turquoises in the world. Usually it is a very soft blue, but it sometimes occurs as nearly white.
Different from Dry Creek, White Buffalo Turquoise is formed from the minerals Calcite and Iron. The mine is near Tonopah Nevada. It is mined by Danny and Dean Otteson. It is a beautiful white stone with fine black spiderweb or kind of a blotchy matrix.
White Buffalo Turquoise
Dry Creek Turquoise
While howlite, native to California, and other white stones are very beautiful and are used often in Native American made jewelry, they are definitely not turquoise. We call them the "white buffalo stone", but never call them "turquoise". Another name for these white stones is "appaloosa" for the black spots that sometimes appear in the stone.
Howlite can also trick you when it is dyed a turquoise color. In honest circumstances, this dyed stone can be an inexpensive substitute for turquoise carvings, beads, and stones set in jewelry.
The Dry Creek mine has been closed, so there are few stones to work into jewelry. One of the Native American jewelry designers we use says that Dry Creek turquoise is "beyond rare".Back to Knowledge Center