If Howlite was a bird, then it would undoubtedly be a parrot!  It is famed for being used as an imitation of various other materials such as Lapis, Coral and Turquoise by unscrupulous sellers. So please be aware, especially when it is dyed and passed off as genuine Turquoise. It’s a shame because natural Howlite is a very chic looking white stone with interesting veins, which makes it great for jewellery designs.

Howlite Beads and cabochonHowlite Beads and cabochon

Appearance

Howlite is a calcium borosilicate hydroxide mineral that crystallizes in the form of masses, nodules and occasional small prismatic crystals. The nodules typically look like white chalky cauliflower heads with veins ranging from light grey to black in an erratic, often web-like pattern. Some in the trade refer to Howlite as White Buffalo, White Turquoise, Kaolinite or even Snow Leopard Stone. If it is genuine Howlite, no matter what name you use to describe it, there’s no denying it is a thing of beauty!

Found

As well as being famously found in the beautiful tourist destination of Nova Scotia in Canada, Howlite is also mined in Mexico, Germany, Russia, Serbia, Turkey and the United States. Important deposits are found in California and Nevada with both places having the only mines in the world where Howlite has been found in crystallized form. These occurrences were very exciting for the geology community!

History

Howlite was named after its discover Henry How, a Canadian chemist, geologist, and mineralogist who discovered it in 1868. He was alerted to the unknown mineral by miners in a gypsum quarry, who found it to be a nuisance! How investigated this unrecognised stone and determined it to be a completely new mineral and named it “silico-boro-calcite” after its chemical structure. Following his death, it was renamed “Howlite” in his honour.

Howlite beads with cabochonHowlite beads with cabochon

Uses

Howlite is commonly used to make decorative objects and ornaments such as spheres, eggs, prisms and wands. Because of its porous texture, Howlite can be easily dyed to imitate other minerals, especially Turquoise because of the similarity of the veining patterns. Howlite in its natural state is regularly used to produce jewellery very similar to how Turquoise is used.

Howlite BeadsHowlite Beads

Physical

This milky opaque stone is a calcium borosilicate hydroxide. Although Howlite is not very hard (rating only 3.5 on the MOHs scale), it is still a relatively tough cookie when compared with Turquoise which rates as a soft powdery 1.5 on the MOHs scale. This is why it became popular amongst fakers who passed it off as strengthened or “stabilised” Turquoise.

Metaphysical

If you struggle to keep the flames of heated emotions under control, healers will recommend Howlite as a wonderful companion to have. This rock is said to profoundly affect one’s psyche, creating a wash of calm that can talk you down from the emotional ledge, eliminating anger and offensive behaviour. It’s thought to be a master negotiator, forcing you to reflect on your thoughts and actions. At its essence, it is believed to bring calmness, patience and a newfound perspective.