Have You Heard of "White Buffalo Turquoise"?!

By now admirers of Native American and Southwest jewelry know two things: that turquoise is named for the mine from which it comes, and that turquoise comes in many shades of blues and greens. Some heavily and beautifully matrixed, some solid color alone. Everyone can find a turquoise they love! And now, “white turquoise” has taken its place alongside all those exciting shades of color, adding a stark beauty all its own.

“White Buffalo turquoise” originates from Tonopah, Nevada. It was discovered by the Ottesons, experienced mine owners, who found this unique formation of veins that run white in color, with all the characteristics of turquoise: It is found in turquoise mines and runs in the same sort of veins though it misses the mineral components that would allow it to color. While most of the white found elsewhere is too soft to polish, the white from this “White Buffalo” mine is hard enough to create a brilliant shine and create outstanding jewelry.

With the ever-increasing popularity of the “White Buffalo turquoise” you will find that there are others capitalizing on this look: Howlite, with its similar grey matrix or even white magnesite with an ink-dye matrix(!) mimicking the dark veins of chert that run naturally through “White Buffalo.” Here at Turquoise Tortoise we carry only the all-natural, non-stabilized high-quality whites from the “White Buffalo” mine.

And we currently have a wealth of it to offer. All authentically Navajo-made and all mined directly, and solely, from the White Buffalo mine. Necklaces, pendants, earrings, cuffs and rings - for women and men.

The chert that forms the matrix within the “White Buffalo turquoise” is a hard, fine-grained composition of quartz (silica) that are microcrystalline or even cryptocrystalline and can range from subtle strokes of pale coloration to the irregular threads more usually associated with turquoise matrix, to large areas of dark, near-black contrast. The varieties of pattern are extraordinary.

While the “White Buffalo” mine was active quite awhile ago with copper mining and the mining of blue turquoise, it became active again roughly 15 years ago with the mining of the white colors, an endeavor that has increased in the last five years as “White Buffalo turquoise” has seen its popularity intensify.

We invite you to explore all the beauty of this new coloration (or, lack thereof!) for yourself. See you soon!

[Note: The few pieces of “White Buffalo turquoise” that are individually on our site have sold out - our full collection will be individually added soon! This photo (that doesn’t even show all that we have) is your special preview! Feel free to contact the gallery directly with your interest.]

Thomas Nagel