History and Introduction
This is White Howlite that has been dyed. Howlite was named after Henry How, who discovered it in 1868 in Nova Scotia. Henry How was a Canadian chemist, geologist and mineralogist who was told of this previously unknown mineral by gypsum quarry miners who found it hampered their mining because it is harder than gypsum. Howlite is a borate mineral, which occurs in Canada and parts of the USA. It forms as irregular nodules which can appear in the shape of a cauliflower head. Transparent howlite crystals are extremely rare and are small (the largest documented howlite crystals are 1 cm long), but the nodules can occur in masses of over 50 kilograms. Howlite has the appearance of white marble or porcelain with a sub-vitreous lustre. It is opaque and white or grey with grey, black or dark brown veins running through it. Gemstone quality howlite can be interspersed by the darker matrix (which appears as the veins), or it can be matrix-free and pure white. Howlite is best known for imitating other gemstones. Due to its porous nature, howlite can absorb dye well, which means it can be sold as turquoise, red coral, or lapis lazuli. However, honest gem traders always declare any treatments.
Howlite is quite porous and because of this quality, it can be dyed to imitate similar coloured stones such as turquoise, coral and lapis lazuli. However, howlite itself is generally not mimicked. Howlite could be confused with incredibly rare white turquoise. Native American Indians have named white turquoise, "the sacred buffalo stone" or "the white buffalo stone", due to it being as rare as a white buffalo. For this reason white turquoise is far more valuable than howlite, so it would not likely be sold as howlite. Howlite has a similar appearance and hardness to white marble, but white marble has a low porosity compared to the porous howlite.
Although howlite was discovered in Canada, most howlite now comes from California and Los Angeles, USA. Deposits have also been found in Turkey, Germany, Mexico and Russia. Rare transparent howlite crystals have only been found in two places; Tick Canyon, California and Iona, Nova Scotia.
Howlite is commonly used to make decorative objects such as small carvings or jewelry components. Howlite is also sold in its natural state, sometimes under the misleading trade names of "white turquoise" or "white buffalo turquoise," or the derived name "white buffalo stone."
Howlite is milky white or grey, and is interspersed with black or dark brown veins. These veins are the matrix, or surrounding stone. It can also be pure white, which means that the matrix (surrounding stone) is not present in the gemstone.
To clean your howlite, simply use soapy water and a soft cloth. Be sure to rinse well to remove soapy residue. As with most gemstones, ultrasonic cleaners and steamers are not recommended.
Zodiac: Gemini (non traditional)