Howlite

Howlite is a chameleon of the gemstone world. It’s natural form is white with fine grey or black veins that run through the stone in a seemingly random manner. The stone is porous, meaning it absorbs dye well and so Howlite is often coloured (see the blue example below). Less honest traders can attempt to pass off dyed howlite as the more valuable turquoise or other precious gems, especially because it’s veining pattern can be similar.

Blue Howlite - Copyright Daniel Adrian Hyde
Blue Howlite – Copyright Daniel Adrian Hyde

Less commonly, Howlite is found in transparent tabular crystals.

First discovered in Novia Scotia by gypsum miners in 1868, it was called silico-boro-calcite by Henry How, a geologist. The name Howlite was coined by James Dwight Dana, another geologist, shortly after How’s death to honour him.

Howlite is commonly used to make jewellery or small decorative objects. It is found not just in Novia Scotia, but in Germany, Turkey, Serbia and some parts of the United States of America (especially California and Nevada).

The stone is associated with awareness and patience. It is a calming stone that restores balance. If the stone has been dyed with a colour, it is questionable if this process affects the stone’s properties – e.g. does blue colouring bring more of a calming/water effect to the stone than a deep brown colouring that may be more associated with earthly influences?

Some people with shy away from Howlite particularly if it has been coloured. However bear in mind that the stone’s properties underneath are the same and it should be admired for what it is rather than for what a trader might wish it was.

Howlite as mined
Collected 1984, Tick Canyon, So. Calif. Mineral collection of Brigham Young University Department of Geology, Provo, Utah. Photograph by Andrew Silver. BYU index 4-2019.

The stone’s porous nature makes it good choice for situations where energies may need to be absorbed. It can therefore act to remove negative energies. In this vein of thought, it can also be used to calm an overactive mind at nighttime and promote a restful night’s sleep.

Mohs hardness: 3.5
System: Massive to nodular
Lustre: Subvitreous, glimmering
Colour: white with grey or black veins, but commonly artificially coloured by traders.
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