White Turquoise... is it really turquoise?
Turquoise! Now there is a peculiar combination of words.
the word turquoise. It has come to have two meanings, really.
One is the sky-blue stone used in designer jewelry and also used
extensively by Native American jewelers. The other meaning is now
"turquoise" as in the color.
of a sunflower and you think of yellow. Think of a white sunflower
... the creator doesn't make that kind. Although some plant
geneticists might breed one.
a semi-precious stone, has an officially recognized chemical composition
that mineralogists use in identifying what any stone is. That
composition includes aluminum
and copper. It is
copper that gives the varying shades of blue and greens.
there are other things the mineralogist looks at to classify a stone.
These include hardness, specific gravity (which is the weight relative
to size), a color scratch test on a mineralogist special scratch plate
and in more extensive tests the color of the flame when burned.
is frequently dyed blue and passed off as turquoise. In a scratch test,
Howlite might fool you as it is also a relatively soft stone (around 4
on the Mohs scale of hardness). Howlite has black veining or matrix
similar to Turquoise. I have seen ordinary Howlite blatantly passed off
as White Turquoise to the unsuspecting buyer.
Howlite is also quite frequently
sold in its natural form with misleading names like "white
turquoise", "white buffalo turquoise" or "white
is the chemical composition of the various rocks being promoted as White
Turquoise? I really haven't a clue. What is important to you
as a buyer is that for any stone to carry a label as Turquoise it must
contain some form of copper and aluminum. The blue and green colors
which give Turquoise its distinctive appearance comes from the copper
without the coloring is simply not Turquoise. Without the copper
component those stones cannot lawfully be certified as Turquoise ...
article, written by the New
Mexico Bureau of Mines and
Mineral Resources, titled “The Non-Metallic Mineral Resources of New Mexico and Their Economic
Features” states, “Turquoise is a complex hydrous phosphate
of aluminum and copper. The color of good material ranges from sky-blue
to apple-green, with a waxy luster that suggests translucency. It
generally occurs in compact masses instead of in crystalline form and is
frequently veined with impurities. This foreign material sometimes adds
to instead of detracting from the desirability of the turquoise for gem
purposes, as the rich brown iron stains are often distributed in
patterns that are attractively brought out in polishing.” The paper
further states, “Vein turquoise is often separated from the granite on
one or both sides by quartz and also occurs in direct contact with the
rock without quartz filling.”
we know is that quartz is not part of the turquoise, but is sometimes
found with the host rock. We don’t know if the white turquoise on the
market is quartz, natural Howlite, or some other material, but found the
Mexico Bureau of Mines and
information useful in our
research to help explain the fact that turquoise is never absent
summary, there is not and there cannot be a stone called White
Turquoise. The words “White Turquoise” is an oxymoron.
only is White Turquoise rare, as the proponents of this turquoise will
tell you, it is nonexistent! The very definition of Turquoise in all
mineralogical books shows official Turquoise as having a copper
component to provide the coloring. White rocks coming from a mine
that produces Turquoise are no more Turquoise than the black igneous
rocks surrounding the Turquoise veins are called Black Turquoise. Now…
if you ever start hearing about Black Turquoise, you’ll already know
it is not turquoise.
you scroll down you will see photos of beads currently labeled as
"White Turquoise" on the market today.
next time... Rock on!
2014 Lin Valentine and The Turquoise Chick
Examples of "white turquoise" being sold on the market today...
|This light blue stone was labeled "White Buffalo Turquoise". I didn't see any mention of the mine or where the turquoise originated. If this is indeed turquoise, there is only a scant amount.|
|Labeled "White Turquoise" and selling for $300.00 to $450.00 per item. Items include earrings and pendants.|
|Advertised as "Howlite (White Turquoise)". The scary part is, not only is this not turquoise, it isn't even Howlite!|
|These beads are being sold on the Internet as "White Round Loose Natural Turquoise Beads". OUCH! White AND natural? Buyer beware!|
||This is Howlite. Not White Turquoise, but very frequently sold as such, especially in it's natural state. Howlite is a very inexpensive stone.|
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Last modified: May 21, 2010