Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Rare(?) White turquoise?


#1

Mary - Yes, there really is “white” turquoise. I have never bought
it, but have seen it available in both thin seam material and
nuggets. The metaphysical folks seem to be the primary users from my
experience.

Jim Small
Small Wonders


#2
    Mary - 	Yes, there really is "white" turquoise. I have never
bought it, but have seen it available in both thin seam material and
nuggets. The metaphysical folks seem to be the primary users from
my experience. Jim Small Small Wonders 

Jim, Where do you get it? Do you how much it costs? Is it really
Turquoise or just some look alike (howlite)? I had a person come in
looking for it and didn’t know what to tell them. Some of the
metaphysical folks kinda make it up as they go along - if you know
what I mean. thanks, Mark

Mark Thomas Ruby
SunSpirit Designs
Loveland, CO
970 669-7075


#3
 Yes, there really is "white" turquoise. I have never bought it,
but have seen it available in both thin seam material and nuggets. 

Gem colors come in two classifications. One is where the pure
mineral is colorless or white, and the colors we value in the gem are
caused by impurities or added componants which are NOT part of the
essential chemistry of that mineral. The other classification,
called ideochromatic gems, are those where the color is caused by an
essential part of the chemical formula of the mineral rather than an
impurity, and without which it would no longer be the same mineral.
Turqoise is one of these latter types, with the blue color being
caused by the copper in it’s formula. Without that copper, it’s not
turqoise. with it, it always will be blue or a modified blue. Now,
turqoise can be impure, mixed with other minerals, or very chalky,
porous, etc. In those forms the blue color may not be intense and it
may appear very pale. but if it can be properly called turqoise at
all, then it will be at least pale blue colored, or pale green, which
happens when there is also iron present, which then alters the copper
hue towards the green. If it really appears white, then it’s not
turqoise, even if it may seem similar in formation, or may be a
closely related material.

This doesn’t of course, prevent sellers of such materials from
calling it white turqoise, a name sure to net them greater prices than
calling it something people haven’t heard of.

One possibility among many, that occurs to me is howlite, a white
somewhat porous mineral that often occurs with turqoise-like veining
in it, and which is often dyed various colors, including turqoise
blue. The white color too can be attractive. Howlite would probably
be my first guess for what your “white turqoise” really is.

Peter Rowe


#4
    I have been asked by some customers if we have any white
turquoise. I do not think it exists.  Anyone know what the material
really is? 

Maybe Howlite? It’s white with dark grey/black veins. I’ve seen it
dyed to look like turquoise, and the veins make it look more
convincing.

–Kathy Johnson
Feathered Gems Jewelry
http://www.featheredgems.com


#5

I quite agree with Peter Rowe. Turquoise is a hydrous aluminum
phosphate with copper. The so called white turquoise has no copper
and , therefore, should not be called turquoise.

As I suggested a couple of years ago on Orchid, the owner of the so
called white turquoise mine is Lynn Otteson out of Tonopah, Nev. The
name of the mine is the Godber Mine located on Dry Creek which is
apparently north of Austin or south of Battle Mountain.

It should be noted that variscite is essential identical with
turquoise except that it is green and has no copper, but nearly
always has iron. Green turquois will have some copper and some iron.
When zinc is the metallic contaminant, the result is Faustite.
Faustite is a beautiful yellowish lime green.

If you go to google and punch in “white buffalo turquoise” you will
bring up a number of sites with references to white turquois. Their
pitches are sales oriented, somewhat contradictory and somewhat
loose with the facts. Ron at Mills Gem, Los Osos, CA.


#6

HOWLITE was a byproduct / cast off, from the Borax mining operations
in California. Some material is bright snow white. Most is creamy
white, with some variations of light tan and browns. Primarily from
other mineral inclusions.

It is Hydrous Calcium Borate. Hardness is 3.5 - D. 2.5

I have one 2 LB, black spider-webbed nodule, which is harder than
3.5, bright white in color and took a mirror polish in the tumbler.

If it were to be dyed blue, the average buyer would assume it was
turquoise, as even I would at first glance.

RocknLight


#7

Mark - I have seen it for sale at the Springfield, MA mineral show
in August; the Syracuse, NY mineral show in July, and I have seen it
advertised in the classifieds at Bob’s Rock Shop on line. One
individual I know has purchased it at Tucson. Know what you mean
about some of the metaphysical folk, but this stuff is genuine - at
least dealers I know believe it is, and upon physical examination I
have found it indistinguishable from blue or green turquoise by
anything but color. In the “bible”, Pogue’s TURQUOISE, he mentions
white, and references quotes from older sources referring to white.
The purists will say that it isn’t turquoise if it is white, but it
is physically not distinguishable other than by color. I’ve never
tried to stock it, and likely won’t. sorry that I cannot be of
further help.

Jim Small
Small Wonders


#8

Hi Jim,

I appreciate your reference to Pogue’s “The Turquoise” but I would
have to suggest that this book is so old and outdated that any
reference to the mineralogical characteristics of turquoise would
have to be taken with a grain of halite ( pun alert )

I too perused my Pogue during this white turquoise string and was
intrigued by his reference to the occurence of large masses of white
turquoise at the 600 level of one of the mines in Tonopah, NV.
Turquoise is seldom found at depth and many experts contend that it
is of meteoritic origin. Personally I don’t agree with that
assumption inasmch as I have observed that turquoise frequently
occurs in the vicinity of magmatic extrusives. The possibility that
turquoise forms as a result of ASCENDING

solutions passing through phosphatic sedimentaries and subsequently
assimilating heavy metal constituents is quite real. I worked with
John Sinkankas on this issue in his Gemstones of North America,
Volume II. and he quoted my theory in that book.

Ron at Mills Gem, Los Osos, CA.

P.S. The recent passing of John Sinkankas deserves mention. Both John
and his wife, Marjorie, were/are persons of the highest character and
intellect …not to mention that they were/are also delightfully
humane and caring. John was the kind of person that sustains a belief
that it is possible for humans to be noble.


#9

This material is available in Europe…but it’s called howellite!
It would be illegal to refer to it as turquoise, white or otherwise.

Tony Konrath
Gold and Stone
http://www.goldandstone.com


#10
  One possibility among many, that occurs to me is howlite, a
white somewhat porous mineral that often occurs with turqoise-like
veining in it, and which is often dyed various colors, including
turqoise blue.  The white color too can be attractive.  Howlite
would probably be my first guess for what your "white turqoise"
really is.  

Also, here in New Mexico and Arizona, there are a number of dealers
selling magnesite with hematite as “Wild Horse” and some of those
individuals have been known to try passing the whiter specimens of
this material off as white turquoise.

Derek


#11
 The name of the mine is the Godber Mine located on Dry Creek
which is apparently north of Austin or south of Battle Mountain.

There is a well known Godber turquoise mine that has produced much
fine natural blue, much of it with attractive black spiderwebbing.
Its location is southeast of Austin. It may not be the same Godber
mine referred to though.

As for white “turquoise,” I agree with all who’ve said that without
the copper it can’t be turquoise. A couple of years ago the manager
of a major Indian jewelry sales company at the Grand Canyon admitted
to me that their “white turquoise” jewelry was indeed howlite, and
I’ve visited the White Buffalo Turquoise web site as well.

As a former professional advertising copywriter I must give credit
to whoever combined the dual sales appeals of white turquoise with
the white buffalo, though. That has to be a stroke of advertising
genius and a tourist magnet! No matter how often we say it can’t
exist, I’ll bet it continues to sell well for years to come. Somehow
the facts never seem to get in the way of a good story.

Some years back when I was selling quite a bit of turquoise, a
spectacular blue stone in my case was often admired. While it was
the most vivid blue “ideal” turquoise I had, it was really a nodule
of dyed howlite I’d sawed in half and displayed with only the dyed
part showing. I was able to show customers its white center and that
it was a total fraud. It served as the starting point for customer
education on turquoise and turquoise treatments that led to numerous
sales of genuine untreated turquoise.

Rick Martin
MARTIN DESIGNS/ARTCUT GEMS


#12

Jim, A believer!!! Yes!

I have some that I got at least 20 years ago!!! It is as you
said…indistinguishable from turquoise, except for the color. The
matrix is golden…very beautiful and NOTHING like Howlite or it’s
grey matrix. Nor does it have that smooth consistent surface of
Howlite. No one is saying there is lots of it out there. The color
has been leached, or bleached out of the turquoise material. Why is
this so difficult to believe? or is this a classic case of ‘seeing is
believing?’

You folks out there who don’t believe, most likely believe that the
turquoise you buy today is untreated!!! If there should be any
disbelief, it should be directed at the absolute junk that is being
labeled and sold as turquoise today. I bet you buy it, set it, and
tell your customers…it’s authentic!

If you were making jewelry with Turquoise in the Southwest thirty
years ago, you would know what I’m referring to. The real stuff is
awsome!

Mary Ann


#13

This is what I understand to be correct.

That turquoise is ideochromatic. That’s to say that the definition
of the material is that the material itself is colored (in this case
blue) rather than that it contains impurities that color it.

That it’s copper aluminum phosphate with a formulae approximating
CuAl6(Po4)4(OH)8 5H2O. If there’s no copper it ain’t gonna be blue!
If it ain’t blue it ain’t turquoise. If it doesn’t fluoresce under
long wave ultra violet light, have a RI of around 1.62, hardness of
2.60-2.90, a distinctive abortion spectrum and so on it isn’t
turquoise.

In Europe it’s against the law to sell a material under a false name
and it’s actionable under civil law as well. You can sue if you get
sold a dyed material as natural or a material that’s misnamed
(“emerald” for green beryl, which can be colored by vanadium and iron

  • sort of.) White “turquoise” would be considered misnamed unless it
    had all the physical properties of turquoise - which includes a
    blue/green coloration.

I’d agree that the white material is quite beautiful. It’s probably
Wavellite.

Color is characteristically green but also white, colorless, yellow
and brown. Luster is vitreous. Transparency crystals are transparent
to translucent. Crystal System is orthorhombic; 2/m 2/m 2/m Crystal
Habit is almost exclusively radiating acicular crystals forming
globules or botryoidal masses. Cleavage is perfect in two
directions. Fracture is uneven. Hardness is 3.5 - 4. Specific
Gravity is approximately 2.3+ (light even for translucent minerals)
Streak is white. Associated Minerals are quartz, micas, turquoise
and limonite. Other Characteristics: surface of globules often have
minute crystals giving off tiny sparkles. Notable Occurrences include
Arkansas and Pennsylvania, USA; Bolivia and England. Best Field
Indicators are crystal habit, green color and softness.

If you want to see some really high quality Turquoise I have a
necklace on my website. The material is as good as the stuff mined 75
years ago. Follow the following link.

http://www.goldandstone.com/gallery/turqneck.htm

Tony Konrath
Gold and Stone
http://www.goldandstone.com


#14

I was there also. A guy named “Mac” found this material in the
Cerillos, NM area and called it “white angel”. It was beautiful and
caused quite a stir in the Santa Fe area. It was also quite pricey;
I couldn’t afford to buy any of it. This was twenty five years ago.
I don’t know of anyone who, at the time, challenged the claim that
it was officially turquoise.

At the time a friend had a lapidary shop in Santa Fe and we saw lots
of material pass through. I remember turquoise being offered at
$25/ct. There was also lots of junk turquoise. Turquoise was hot at
that time; everyone wamted a piece of turquoise jewelry. A lot of
chalk was being treated to make cheap jewelry, but what stuck in my
mind was the really beautiful material that occasionally showed
up @ $20/ct and up.


#15
   I have some that I got at least 20 years ago!!! It is as you
said....indistinguishable from turquoise, except for the color.
The matrix is golden.... 

As can be the matrix on blue turqoise. Much of the time, if the
matrix is black, it got that way via shoe polish, though not
always…

       very beautiful and NOTHING like Howlite or it's grey
matrix. Nor does it have that smooth consistent surface of Howlite.
No one is saying there is lots of it out there. The color has been
leached, or bleached out of the turquoise material. Why is this so
difficult to believe? or is this a classic case of 'seeing is   
believing?' 
Now you're taking us for fools.  That's unwise in this forum (grin)
   If there should be any disbelief, it should be directed at the
absolute junk that is being labeled and sold as turquoise today. I
bet you buy it, set it, and tell your customers.....it's authentic! 
If it's junk, I don't buy it.  If it's treated, but looks nice and

I have a use for it as such, then I might, but I don’t lie to my
customers. And you CAN still find decent untreated rough, so long as
you’re willing to pay for it. It’s even less common than it was
thirty years ago perhaps, as there are a few more sophisticated
treatments out there that are harder to detect than the common resin
impregnated stuff (which was common in the 60s too), or worse, the
simply waxed junk.

   If you were making jewelry with Turquoise in the Southwest
thirty years ago, you would know what I'm referring to. The real
stuff is awsome! 

True enough. But I’ve also seen some pretty awsome stones in recent
years too.

And I DON’T recall lots of folks, 30 years ago, trying to pass off
white colorless lapidary rough, no matter how nice in other respects,
as “white turqoise”. Maybe I was just lucky…

Peter