Defining Some of The “Impostors”
SilverTQ, LLC often receives questions concerning how to properly identify and distinguish the White Buffalo stone from similar looking stones such as Magnesite, Wild horse, Crazy horse or Howlite. What details can one look for that sets the White Buffalo stone apart from others? Wild Horse and Crazy Horse stones are the same, just two different names. They are in fact composed of magnesite from southern Arizona near the Globe copper mines, and contain some hematite that gives its distinctive colors. Consequently, this stone can technically be referred to as either Wild Horse Magnesite or Crazy Horse Magnesite.
Magnesite is magnesium carbonate, and found in veins in ultramafic rocks such as serpentine and other magnesium rich rocks. The color is milk white to pale yellow with brown and sometimes black inclusions. The colors are generally more swirled in pattern as opposed to the White Buffalo having more distinct division of colors. The color of the Wild Horse or Crazy Horse stones distinguish it from the other colors of Magnesite.
Magnesite, Wild Horse or Crazy Horse have no copper for blue or iron for green coloring. Their white coloring is more of a milky or creamy white. The color of their matrix is of varying shades of brown from dark to light from the host rock. The borders of white to color are often less defined, tending to be more mottled than that of White Buffalo. These stones are often dyed different colors and can at times be quite confusing to recognize.
What Is White Buffalo?
The White Buffalo stone originates from the Tonopah Nevada area found in the same general veins as Dry Creek turquoise but has no copper content. Considering this fact, it should therefore not be called “white turquoise” as it does not have the same chemical composition as turquoise, which is a copper phosphate. There is no copper to cause blue color or iron to cause green color. It is a mostly clean white calcite/quartz mix with black chert inclusions (matrix) that are more sharply defined as opposed to being smutty. The better stones have clear delineations of black and white.
How About Howlite?
Howlite is a cream white calcium borosilicate hydroxide with more of grey erratic veining and is often represented as White Buffalo. The grey matrix is, however, a differentiating marker that makes it a different stone. Howlite is porous and easily absorbs dyes to imitate other more costly stones like turquoise, coral and even lapis. This stone when dyed can be confusing to recognize. Howlite has a marble like look and does not generally have as high a shine as white buffalo.