Turquoise is most widely known and regarded as one of the three birthstones associated with December. The form of green-blue turquoise we know today has existed for over 4,000 years. It was found in Persia and used to make traditional jewelry by ancient cultures.
But did you know that there is a form of white turquoise as well? 😯 White turquoise is a gorgeous stone that is suitable for a variety of looks and styles. 🤍
Interested in learning more about the features and benefits of white turquoise? This guide will provide you with everything you need to know about this remarkable and unique gemstone. Keep reading to find out more information below. ⬇️
What Is White Turquoise?
The name white turquoise is a misnomer when it comes to this form of stone. It isn't actually made from turquoise at all. The white turquoise stone is a form of a mineral called Dolomite and is composed of calcium magnesium carbonate.
On the Mohs Hardness Scale, Dolomite is much softer as it rates at a 3.5-4. Whereas a basic cut of natural turquoise rates between a 5 and a 6.
Dolomite undergoes a mineralization process that is nearly identical to the process that natural blue-green turquoise stones do. Dolomite, in its white-colored form, when cut and polished possesses the appearance of white turquoise with black matrix effect lines, but it is not true turquoise.
Common Forms of White Turquoise Substitutes
Magnesite is a mineral made from magnesium carbonate that is bone white in its natural form. Magnesite features gray or brownish veins that run throughout its surface. It mimics the look of a Dolomite white turquoise stone.
It is a porous mineral that can easily absorb dye to give it the appearance of a natural turquoise stone. Magnesite rates between a 3.5 and a 4.5 on the Mohs Hardness Scale. It has a chalkier and duller surface to it than Dolomite.
The mineral Howlite may also be commonly confused with and sold as white turquoise or dyed to resemble natural turquoise. Its opaque surface resembles the color and texture of porcelain.
On the Mohs Hardness Scale, Howlite rates at a 3.5 for hardness. Natural Howlite also possesses the same white coloring and matrix patterns as Dolomite white turquoise. Howlite's lines are black or dark brown in color.
However, Howlite is a mineral made from calcium borosilicate hydroxide that is often used as a turquoise substitute. Howlite is a real and natural gem in its own right, it just isn't a true white turquoise. 📝
The truth is that there is no such thing as a true white turquoise. There are only great imitators that fall under the accepted umbrella term descriptor of white turquoise.
White Buffalo Turquoise
The closest form of supposed "white turquoise" comes in the form of an alumnite and magnesite mineral known as White Buffalo turquoise. White Buffalo is essentially the brand name for a type of Dolomite that is a pure milky white coloring with black veins and mottled patches throughout.
Found primarily in a mine in Tonopah, Nevada in 1993, it is a rare and prized albino stone with turquoise-like qualities. White Buffalo turquoise is called this because it was discovered in a turquoise mine. This is also due to the fact that it grows in veins and forms in a similar process that creates natural turquoise.
Normal blueish-green turquoise receives its coloring from copper. Whereas White Buffalo turquoise grows near deposits of magnesium which bleach the stone to its white coloring. In Native Indian cultures, the buffalo is a sacred animal and a white buffalo is said to represent purity and rarity as well as several other symbols and spiritual meanings.
Despite still not being a true form of white turquoise, White Buffalo turquoise continues to be known by this name. It has come into its own as a distinct and beautiful stone still used to make pieces in the style of Native Indian traditional jewelry. Natural White Buffalo turquoise is highly desired for its turquoise properties and distinguishable white appearance which enhances any outfit.
Attributes of White Turquoise
White turquoise follows many of the same criteria for describing its features as natural turquoise does. When looking at a piece of white turquoise, you'll want to take into account the 4 C's, which are commonly associated with diamonds and other precious and semi-precious gemstones.
These 4 C's are Color, Cut, Clarity, and Carat Weight. 🤍✨
A diamond's value comes from the clearness of its coloring. While most white turquoise stones are opaque and bright snowy or milky white. Some stones may contain more transparent features that make them see-through in certain areas.
White stones with turquoise qualities are more highly valued though based on their opaqueness, or solid coloring, throughout. They may also feature varying patterns of brown or black patches and veins running through the stone. White turquoise and other natural minerals are known for their pure solid colored base.
Turquoise stones, whether natural or white turquoise variations, are not cut in the traditional way that precious gemstones such as diamonds, rubies, and emeralds are cut.
Softer mineral stones are more difficult to cut and are not well-suited for facet cutting the way harder gemstones are cut. The mineral stone is mined and then it undergoes a cutting and polishing process that smooths down its texture and rounds it out.
Natural turquoise and other turquoise stone variants don't contain facet cuts. They feature a polished dome known as a cabochon cut. Cabochon stones can still take on many shapes, but rather than cutting a transparent gemstone to feature reflective light facets, it relies on a natural mineral gem's internal features to shine through.
For turquoise and similar white turquoise-type stones, this process allows the intricate webbing patterns within the stone to stand out. It serves to highlight its organic beauty, flaws and all.
Diamonds rely on a Flawless or Nearly Flawless clarity rating. This means that there are no visible marks or inclusions on the surface. Turquoise and other natural minerals are a little different in this area.
Part of what makes a turquoise unique is its flaws. The mottled splotches and black lines on a white turquoise are what give it its character and distinction.
It may come down to a matter of preference. Some may prefer an unblemished and polished white turquoise, but a majority of jewelry wearers enjoy the diversity of these web or veinlike lines throughout each piece. It ensures no two pieces are ever truly the same.
As with most precious and semi-precious gems, white turquoise is typically sold and valued based on its size and carat weight.
White Buffalo turquoise specifically can cost more due to its rarity of only existing in one small mine in Nevada. 160 carats of White Buffalo turquoise will set you back about $600 for a stunning statement piece.
While not as expensive as a diamond's per carat weight, a sizeable cut of white turquoise can become pricier the bigger you go. Though its beauty and individuality are well worth the cost to those who appreciate its exquisiteness.
How Can I Tell if I am Getting the Real Deal and Not an Imitation? 🤔
Again, there is no real white turquoise. However, if you want to purchase authentic White Buffalo turquoise and not a Howlite or Magnesite imitation piece here are some things you should take into consideration.
Price is one of the biggest giveaways between a piece of White Buffalo turquoise and a Howlite substitute. You're paying for quality, so if the piece you're looking at is just too good of a deal to pass up, it will most likely be an imitation.
As described above, another way to determine if you are getting White Buffalo turquoise made from Dolomite versus a Howlite or Magnesite knockoff is to look at the different features.
White Buffalo turquoise has black lines and markings on a pure white opaque stone surface. Magnesite has gray and brown line features on a chalkier-looking stone surface. If the color isn't black on white, it isn't true White Buffalo turquoise.
Howlite has the same opaque whiteness as White Buffalo turquoise so it may be tougher to tell the difference, but it can feature dark brown lines in with the black lines and White Buffalo turquoise features only black accents.
The best way to ensure you're getting the real deal is by buying from a reputable seller of White Buffalo turquoise. A good seller will be upfront about the quality of their white turquoise pieces and stand by their products.
They don't need to play games and engage in sneaky tactics. Read the customer reviews to find a quality seller you trust and want to give your business to.
Find Quality White Buffalo Turquoise Pieces at Turquoise Moose 🤍
Despite being an imitator itself, white turquoise is still a sought-after natural gemstone because of its brilliant white features and turquoise-like qualities. Wearing a piece of White Buffalo turquoise is sure to draw the eye to any outfit.
Finding quality genuine White Buffalo turquoise pieces can be tricky with so many imitators masquerading as white turquoise. That's where Turquoise Moose comes in.
Turquoise Moose is the best place to find white turquoise stones. Our White Buffalo turquoise comes directly from the Tonopah, Nevada mines.
Feel free to Contact Us with any comments or questions and place your order at Turquoise Moose today.