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Howlite: Uncovering a Hidden Gem of Canada’s Mineral Kingdom

Real Howlite vs Fake: Uncovering a Hidden Gem of Canada's Mineral Kingdom

While commonly dyed to vibrant turquoise, howlite, in its natural state, boasts a more subdued color palette—primarily white or grey. Due to its similar appearance when dyed, howlite is often used to create fake turquoise. This stone’s unique veining confers a distinct appearance, making it a notable and versatile addition to any collection or piece of jewelry.

Howlite’s allure extends beyond its aesthetics; it carries a history, properties, and various applications that captivate enthusiasts and casual admirers alike.

Integral to understanding howlite is recognizing its place within the gemstone world.

Known for its calming influence and connection to emotional healing, howlite holds a significant position for those who incorporate gemstones into spiritual or meditative practices.

Though not as colourful as its dyed counterparts, the stone's natural occurrences speak to its genuine beauty and authenticity, which many seek in their gem collections.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Howlite is naturally white or grey and often dyed to mimic the vibrant blue of turquoise.

  • The stone is appreciated for its aesthetic veining and calming healing properties.

  • Howlite's significance is rooted in its history and varied uses in jewelry and spiritual practices.

HOWLITE PROPERTIES: A MAGNESIUM CARBONATE MINERAL

Tumbled white howlite is an extremely calming stone

Howlite is a calcium borosilicate hydroxide mineral, typically found in opaque, white, or grey nodules with a porous texture.

Distinguished by its unique veining patterns, howlite may display intricate grey, black, or deep brown veins. It is rarely found in a pure white form, and transparent crystals are exceedingly uncommon. The gemstone is relatively soft, scoring between 3 and 3.5 on the Mohs hardness scale. Being a soft stone, howlite can be easily scratched, and this property is often used in the scratch test to differentiate it from other minerals.

Its specific gravity approximates 2.5, indicating a lighter weight typical of borate minerals. The silicate content in howlite contributes to the stone’s characteristically silky or lustrous sheen when polished.

Notably, due to its porous nature, howlite can be dyed to replicate the appearance of other minerals, such as lapis lazuli and turquoise, leading to its use in cost-effective jewelry. The scratch test can help identify howlite and differentiate it from other minerals like turquoise.

Dyed howlite’s consistent hue can set it apart from the more variable coloration of natural stones it imitates.

Physical Properties:

  • Colour: Usually white or light grey, often with veins

  • Hardness: 3 - 3.5 on the Mohs scale

  • Density: Approximately 2.5 (specific gravity)

  • Texture: Porous and opaque

The capacity to absorb dyes makes howlite popular in creating simulated versions of more expensive gemstones.

For instance, when dyed blue, it is frequently traded as “turquenite” because it resembles turquoise.

White howlite is commonly dyed to resemble turquoise with its grey veining

Due to its visual similarity to turquoise, distinguishing between the two can pose a challenge.

Price often reflects the true nature of the stone, as howlite’s affordability compared to genuine turquoise can signal its use in jewelry.

THE HISTORY OF HOWLITE

Henry How, a Canadian chemist and geologist, identified Howlite in 1868 while investigating a mineral interfering with gypsum mining in Nova Scotia. Its discovery added to the region's rich geoscience heritage.

WHERE HOWLITE IS FROM

Howlite mineral deposits are primarily located in two regions:

  • Canada: Specifically, Iona in Nova Scotia

  • United States: Californian locations include near Los Angeles and Tick Canyon

Secondary deposits are found internationally:

  • Germany

  • Mexico

  • Russia

  • Turkey

Key Howlite Features:

  • Mainly found in North America

  • California and Nova Scotia harbour clear crystal forms

  • Other countries have minor occurrences

HOWLITE JEWELRY

Matte Howlite gemstone cuff bracelet

Howlite, known for its soothing properties in crystal healing, is a popular choice for various jewelry items.

This gemstone, often found in white and blue variants, is not suitable for faceting. Instead, it is fashioned into smooth beadscabochons, or intriguing carvings, including skulls and hearts. While howlite is often used to create fake turquoise jewelry, it is important to distinguish it from real turquoise, which is more valuable and has unique characteristics.

Silver settings are a prevalent choice for blue-dyed howlite, paying homage to Southwestern and Native American traditional designs.

Jewelry Pieces with Howlite:

  • Bracelets

  • Necklaces and pendants

  • Earrings

Due to howlite’s relative softness, cleansing and charging practices must be gentle.

Avoid harsh chemicals; use only mild cleansers and soft cloths to maintain the beauty of howlite pieces.

Given its porous nature, the stone easily accepts dyes; blue-dyed howlite often stands for turquoise, providing a cost-effective alternative while retaining a similar aesthetic. However, real turquoise is more valuable and has distinct color patterns compared to howlite.

As a healing stone, howlite promotes peace and reduces stress.

It’s a popular component in sun-related jewelry, where users seek to mesh the metaphysical benefits with everyday wear.

For those who believe in the power of gems, howlite jewelry can be calming and helpful throughout the day.

Tips for Howlite Jewelry Care:

  • Avoid exposure to abrasive substances

  • Cleanse with soft cloths and mild cleansers

  • Keep away from prolonged sunlight to prevent colour fading

HOWLITE MEANING

howlite sitting on hematite

HOWLITE METAPHYSICAL PROPERTIES OF A SOFT STONE

Howlite is often considered a stone of emotional wellness, bringing inspiration and a sense of calm to its surroundings. It's claimed to enhance one's awareness, support wisdom and enlightenment, and ostensibly aid in alleviating stress and anxiety.

USING HOWLITE IN FENG SHUI

In Feng Shui, howlite is customarily placed in spaces to invoke tranquillity and soften feelings of anger.

It's thought to harmonize with the concept of serenity and is sometimes used in areas dedicated to meditation or rest.

The stone's calming properties are believed to contribute to a peaceful atmosphere, promoting restful sleep and inner peace.

HOWLITE CRYSTALS AND CHAKRAS

tumble polished white howlite

Renowned for its associations with the crown chakra, howlite is believed to open channels connectedto higher realms, facilitating communication and spiritual growth.

The stone's white colour, with its web-like patterns, is thought to resonate with purity, strength and focus, encouraging a connection to intuitive wisdom.

By reportedly cleansing the aura of negative energy, it might promote a sense of grounding and emotional balance.

STONES SIMILAR TO HOWLITE: IMITATION TURQUOISE

Magnesite closely resembles Howlite in colour and dyeing capability, yet they differ in hardness.

Turquoise often gets imitated by turquoise-dyed Howlite due to its visual similarity and ease of sourcing. However, Howlite is softer than genuine turquoise, leading to more frequent scratching. Reconstituted turquoise is made by grinding up small pieces of real turquoise and mixing them with other materials to create a fake replica.

White agates can be mistaken for Howlite since both exhibit a white base colour. Notably, agate usually lacks Howlite’s characteristic veining.

While less common, White Buffalo and White Turquoise can also be compared to Howlite, albeit they are not exact matches and typically do not share the same veining pattern.

 Stone Similarity to Howlite Differences
Magnesite Colouring and dyeability Hardness
Turquoise Colour when dyed Hardness and durability
White Agate Base colour Veining pattern
White Buffalo General appearance Veining pattern
White Turquoise General appearance Veining pattern

Frequently Asked Questions

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

WHAT ARE THE METAPHYSICAL PROPERTIES OF HOWLITE?

Howlite is known for its calming properties, which are said to aid in emotional balance. It's often associated with:

  • Enhancing patience and reducing stress

  • Promoting spiritual growth and awareness

  • Strengthening memory and stimulating a desire for knowledge

  • Balancing the Crown chakra, which influences spiritual connectivity

CAN HOWLITE ASSIST WITH CHAKRA BALANCING?

Yes, howlite is believed to be particularly beneficial for the Crown chakra. It's said to:

  • Enhance intuition and spiritual enlightenment

  • Foster a sense of peace and connection to the higher self

  • Stabilize mood swings and promote calmness, aiding in meditation

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF WEARING A HOWLITE BRACELET?

Wearing a Howlite bracelet is thought to bring several benefits, including:

  • Carrying its calming energy throughout the day

  • Helping to release unexpressed emotions

  • Improving communication by calming the mind

  • Alleviating sleep disturbances when worn before bedtime

HOW DOES DYED HOWLITE COMPARE TO TURQUOISE IN APPEARANCE AND VALUE?

Appearance:

  • Howlite naturally occurs as a white stone with grey veining.

  • It’s often dyed blue to resemble turquoise, known as “turquenite.”

Natural turquoise has unique color patterns and is more valuable compared to dyed howlite.

Value:

  • Howlite is generally less valuable than turquoise due to its abundance and ease of imitation.

  • Turquoise is valued for its rarity and unique colour patterns, making it more expensive.

IS HOWLITE CONSIDERED A RARE MINERAL?

No, howlite is not considered a rare mineral. It is relatively common and can be found in large nodules, mainly in Canada and the United States.

HOW IS HOWLITE COMMONLY USED IN SPIRITUAL PRACTICES?

In spiritual practices, howlite finds use in various forms, including:

  • As a tool for meditation and achieving a deep state of peace

  • In crystal healing, to balance the Crown chakra

  • To enhance communication with the spiritual realm

  • In crafting spiritual jewellery, such as amulets and talismans

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