Moose Fact: White Buffalo - Turquoise Or Not?

When you hear turquoise cabochons, you would automatically think about stunning shades of blue, green, sometimes yellow or orange, and even brown. However, if you are particularly exposed to the world of turquoise gems, more often than not, you would hear about White Buffalo Turquoise. So, is it actually turquoise or not? 

Genuine White Buffalo Cabochons for Sale


A couple of years ago, the owner and miner of the Royston turquoise mine, Dean Otteson, noticed the increasing demand for something white, particularly in the Southwest jewelry market. Research says that Dean went to his father, Lynn Otteson, who has over 50 years of experience in scouting and mining turquoise in the Tonopah area, and asked if he knew of any white turquoise. 

Lynn Otteson remembered the white buffalo turquoise that he had spotted a couple of years back. With this, they were able to bring this rare beauty into the market. 

Well, according to research, it is often referred to as turquoise because it is found at a turquoise mine! However, White Buffalo lies in veins similar to turquoise - Surrounded by black chert, a black rock similar to flint. It cuts and polishes like turquoise, leaving geologists themselves baffled.

Originally, the term white buffalo turquoise was coined by the Ottesons who are known for their vast experience in turquoise mining. It’s been said that when they are selling, they don’t particularly refer to them as white buffalo turquoise - white buffalo will do. 


Its striking characteristic is its white color - and research suggests that this is due to its formation by the same mineralization process that turquoise undergoes. The obvious difference between white buffalo and turquoise is that it does not have heavy metals such as zinc, iron, copper, which are present in turquoise giving it the blue, green, yellow, orange, or brown shades. 

So, to answer the question of whether White Buffalo is considered a turquoise or not, White Buffalo is actually Dolomite. However, the misconception comes because it undergoes the same mineralization process as Turquoise and is often found next to Turquoise.

To expound on this, the main mineral found in White Buffalo is actually Calcite, however, it still depends on the crystalline structure of said Calcite - it can morph into either two minerals - Dolomite or Aragonite. 


As it was introduced to the gemstone market, the white buffalo was a hit to jewelry artists. According to sources, even before the results of the material’s testing have not been released yet, white buffalo got so popular and it has already stuck among buyers and sellers as White Buffalo, White Buffalo Turquoise, and sometimes even White Turquoise. 


Here are a couple of samples of stunning White Buffalo jewelry pieces created with Moose cabochons! 

White Buffalo Earrings by @badorned on Instagram

White Buffalo Earrings by @badorned

White Buffalo Ring by @bobbiemariejewelry

White Buffalo Ring by @bobbiemariejewelry

White Buffalo Cuff by @ninthhouse

White Buffalo Cuff by @ninthhouse

White Buffalo Ring by @smj.designs

White Buffalo Ring by @smj.designs


Excited to create with white buffalo cabochons? Check out our White Buffalo cabochon collection, available in different shapes and sizes. 

For one-of-a-kind, freeform turquoise from different turquoise mines, check out our freeform turquoise collections, all-natural, and cut in-house!

Have something specific that you want to request? Get in touch with us and we’ll do our best to make it happen by placing a custom order here. 

Please don’t forget to tag us on Instagram at @turquoise_moose. 

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