Dry Creek Turquoise in Native American Indian Jewelry

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The following article is reprinted for historical interest. Note that the author does not differentiate between Dry Creek Turquoise, which is pale blue and a true turquoise, and White Buffalo Stone, which has no color and is technically not turquoise.


DRY CREEK TURQUOISE
Reprinted from Rockhound Gazette, December 2000

Sterling Silver Navajo Dry Creek turquoise pendantAlso knows as "White Turquoise"or "Sacred Buffalo Turquoise", Dry Creek Turquoise has a characteristic white or very pale blue color with brown flecks in it almost like confetti. Because white turquoise is as rare as the white buffalo, it is sometimes referred to as Sacred Buffalo Turquoise. White turquoise was found in the Dry Creek Mine near Battle Mountain, Nevada. The mine is closed. This stone is very rare and collectible.

When discovered in the Dry Creek Mine (Note: not it's name today) in the Shoshone Indian Reservation near Battle Mountain, Nevada in 1993, they (the discoverers) were not sure what it was. Because of its hardness, it was decided to have it assayed. Their suspicious proved correct. It was, in fact, white turquoise. It was not until 1996, however, that it was finally made into jewelry.

The Shoshone Indians are not known for jewelry work and, as a consequence, the Shoshone sell or trade the white turquoise to the Navaho in Arizona who work it into jewelry. Because white turquoise is as rare as the white buffalo, some Indians call it "White Buffalo" turquoise.

Important Note - There is much white with black matrix stone sold that is actually howlite, which is not turquoise at all. It is often from Mexico or Mexican made and is often referred to as White Buffalo Turquoise - so you can see the confusion between the authentic and rare Dry Creek White Turquoise and "White Buffalo" faux turquoise that is being marketed. Be aware and beware !

Sterling Silver Navajo RingsTurquoise gets its color from the heavy metals in the ground where it forms. Blue turquoise forms where there is copper present (most Arizona turquoise). Green turquoise forms where iron is present (most Nevada turquoise). White turquoise, where there are no heavy metalsSterling Silver Navajo Rings present, turns out to be rare. To date no other vein of white turquoise has been discovered anywhere else. When this current vein runs out that will be the last of it.

 

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