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"White Turquoise'

Posted by Anonymous User  
Anonymous User February 21, 2012 11:36AM
Hi Everyone-

We all know turquoise is a phosphate mineral that is colored mainly by copper and sometimes - iron, zinc,etc. The latter elements would explain the variations in color. Sometime you can find a seam in a turquoise mine completely devoid of color.
Since this is white, it seems logical it doesn't have any copper or other elements that are responsible for the coloration.

This is marketed as "white turquoise". My question is this- how can something be identified and sold as "white turquoise" if it doesn't even contain the necessary elements for the basic definition of turquoise. If it's not turquoise, exactly what is it?

Jolyon & Katya Ralph February 21, 2012 02:01PM
Usually clay minerals, such as Kaolinite.
David Von Bargen February 21, 2012 02:40PM
"how can something be identified and sold as "white turquoise" if it doesn't even contain the necessary elements for the basic definition of turquoise." - there's a word for that - fraud.
Rick Dalrymple February 21, 2012 05:14PM
At the Color Back Mine in Nevada there are two other minerals identified as chalcosiderite and variscite. The chalcosiderite is usually pale yellow-green but is sometimes so pale it is nearly white.

The miners there can't seem to distinguish one from another so they sell everything as turquoise. The more blue, the higher the grade, reaching prices in excess of $1000 per pound. The lower, paler grades (chalcosiderite) sells for up to $200 per pound.

They have never used the term "white turquoise" as far as I know.

I have uploaded pictures of us collecting there as well as many specimens of chalcosiderite, variscite, and turquoise.

I know I am in my own little world, but everyone knows me here.
Dan R. Lynch February 21, 2012 09:01PM
I can't speak for seams of "white turquoise" in situ, but my parents (who own a rock and mineral shop) are constantly having to deal with wholesalers marketing howlite and magnesite as "white turquoise," or, worse yet, dying those minerals blue and calling them "turquoisite." I would avoid "white turquoise" specimens.
Rick Dalrymple February 21, 2012 10:15PM

I didn't mean to insinuate that the white material in the ground is really turquoise. I am fairly sure it is not. I can't stand it either when people bring in the magnesite or howlite and try to pass it off as white turquoise or Buffalo turquoise. The dyed stuff just makes me crazy:-X

I know I am in my own little world, but everyone knows me here.
Dan R. Lynch February 21, 2012 11:29PM
Hi Rick. My comments were mostly directed towards the original poster, not you. I understood your comments perfectly, but thanks for clarifying anyway. I think there is consensus here: "white turquoise" is not turquoise at all.
Robert Knox February 21, 2012 11:30PM
First it was dyed howlite being sold as turquoise, then it was dyed magnesite being sold as tourquoise.
Now I see offerings from china of magnesite dyed to match dyed really cracks me up sometimes.
Rick Dalrymple February 22, 2012 12:38AM
No worries. I was just adding my 2 cents worth of what I have seen at that mine.

I know I am in my own little world, but everyone knows me here.
Dave Owen February 24, 2012 01:35AM
There is an interesting website that has info on most American turquoise mines. It says that the White Buffalo turquoise which I think is where the whole white turquoise thing started is actually calcite. I am curious what other minerals are includes in the phosphate seams where turquoise is found.
Rick Dalrymple February 24, 2012 05:21AM

I have seen lots of jewelry labeled Buffalo turquoise and White turquoise and it has all been howlite or magnesite. I haven't seen any that looked like calcite.

That web site looks good. I am always sad that sites like this miss the Bingham Copper Mine as a producing high grade turquoise. All they have is Utah variscite.
Rock Currier February 25, 2012 11:08AM
Pick any strange looking rock. Make up a name preferably one that includes the name of a more valuable mineral or gem. Take some pictures of it and stick it out there at a big price and claim all sorts of wonderful things it is good for and get a movie star to wear it and show that picture on the net and you are on your way to fame and fortune. This technique has used with various degrees of success thousands of times in the past and will continue to be use as long as greed exists in the human species. I have learned to accept these things as a matter of daily living and don't get excited or upset by them though I will comment about them if asked.

Rock Currier
Crystals not pistols.
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