What is Howlite
Howlite may be considered one of the lesser valuable gemstones in the world, but its nature and unique beauty have always left every gem and jewelry enthusiast with much excitement, interest and awe. The stone is known for its distinct white color with black webbings, but it is more known for its highly porous nature, which enables the stone to absorb colored liquid dye very well. This makes the stone a candidate for manipulation and gem (dyeing) intervention for the purpose of imitating other stones, especially those which are valued for their color and vibrance.
Howlite derived its name from the Canadian geologist, chemist and mineralogist, Henry How, who first discovered the stone in Nova Scotia in 1868 when traces of the stone were found by miners to be impeding their gypsum mining. As it had appeared, the stone was colored white with grey veining and relatively opaque luster. This incident recorded the first time Howlite’s hardness was tested. Originally, the stone was called ‘silico-boro-calcite’ by Henry How, but was later changed to what it is called now - Howlite - by James Dwight Dana in honor of Henry How. Dana was an American mineralogist and geologist.
Unlike other gemstones whose stories and history date back to ancient civilization of emperors and czars, Howlite is different as its discovery is not as old as the others’. Yet, this fact does not make the (Howlite) stone any less desirable and coveted.
Howlite Physical Properties & Uses
This stone is characterized by a distinct white waxy or dull color, along with irregular dark grey or black veining. When exposed to UV light for a long period of time, Howlite displays a sky bluish luminescence or fluorescence; however, if under short UV exposure, it may exhibit a yellowish or off white luminescence. It also usually possesses a naturally dull or earthy luster - something that is considered sub-vitreous or not glass-like.
When it comes to its crystal structure and forms, regular cleavage is absent in a Howlite stone. It is usually characterized by conchoidal to uneven fractures. This means that when the stone breaks, it would exhibit smooth, usually slightly concave and curved surfaces with concentric undulations like that of a shell’s growth lines. Howlite, moreover, has a monoclinic crystal system.
Another characteristic of a Howlite stone is its brittleness. In the Mohs scale, the stone’s score just plays around 3 to 3.5. This score suggests that the stone, if not properly taken care of, breaks more easily and much faster compared to other stones with relatively higher Mohs scale scores. Because of this, the stone does not have many recorded uses.
However, in the gem and jewellery industry, Howlite is starting to make a name for itself as a desirable stone for making different jewelry pieces. Its innate beautiful white color with grey to black blotches and webbings is a statement of classical beauty. As it is widely known, white (and black or grey) blends well with any color, and in this case, any jewelry made from stones with saturation as that would just perfectly match any getup, for any occasion.
In addition, Howlite is also characterized by a remarkably porous nature, and such is highly sought after by gem collectors, dealers and even jewelry makers. Because it has significant level of porosity, Howlite can be easily dyed into different vibrant colors - blue green, purple, red, multicolor- just any color from the color spectrum for this matter - usually for the end of imitating (and therefore creating a knock-off of) more valuable and popular gemstones in the market like Turquoise.
Innovations in the jewelry-making industry have paved the way for the use of locks and bezels to secure brittle gemstones like Howlite. Because of this, the stone can now be polished - delicately and meticulously - into cabochons and beads, and cut into different shapes and carved forms for use as pendants and the like.
Geographical Distribution & Sources
Although Howlite is considered not a very common gemstone, there have been notable occurrences of the stone recorded globally. These places include, of course, Nova Scotia (where the first samples were discovered), Canada, some regions of the United States of America, Mexico, Russia, Turkey and Germany. Rare varieties of this stone - those which are transparent - were reported to be found in only two places : Tick Canyon, California, and Iona, Nova Scotia.
Meanings of the Stone
Howlite is not only a stone for keeps because of its admirable physical attributes. Gem experts say that the stone also has several good metaphysical and spiritual properties.
Astrology experts say that Howlite is a birthstone of the zodiac sign Gemini, and a Gemini baby who possesses a Howlite stone, much more wears it, will attract positivity in general.
Tranquility. Howlite represents tranquility and calmness. It releases off negative energy and stress, as well as fits and anguish, making room for only positivity to propagate. By possessing this stone, people who have violent and belligerent tendencies are pacified. The stone has the ability to bring the anger and aggressiveness of the person down, even including the person they are angry at or have altercations with. This stone is a stone of stillness.
Communication. Strongly linked to the emotions, Howlite encourages and promotes healthy communication, most especially emotional. It enables its wearer to be able to express his / her feelings with grace, confidence and clarity.
Patience. As Howlite stone is deeply connected to the emotions, it has the ability to lower down anger, and stretches a person’s capability to be patient with situations, as well as people, that require it. It connects with and provides a deeper understanding of things, especially those that are not good.
Clarity. Like its natural color, white, Howlite represents clarity. It clears the mind, and makes one see through things clearly. The stone’s dark grey (to black) veinings and blotches represent the energy of brain cells, which signifies that the brain is functioning and at work. It heightens a person’s focus, but just the right amount of focus that does not lead to overthinking and anxiety. Good decision-making skills are a product of this.
Stone of Meditation. Since Howlite is deeply connected with the emotions, it is good for meditating. The stone brings forth peace to both the heart and mind, and integrates one’s spirit to a deeper realm of the soul and spirit where transformative learnings and guidance essential to a good and fruitful life can be grasped.
Open-mindedness. This stone also has the ability to improve one’s open-mindedness. Since it sharpens the brain’s focus, it always leaves the mind open for possibilities and thoughts. It gives leeways for and considerations of - and does not shut off - ideas that may be helpful to the different aspects of life.
Physical Healing Properties of Howlite
Aside from the amazing facts about Howlite’s metaphysical and spiritual properties, Howlite is also known to possess quite a number of good physical healing attributes.
According to experts, Howlite helps in reducing insomnia. Its ability to release tension and stress from the body prevents anxiety and overthinking, which are two main causes of the disorder.
The stone also aids in maintaining the body’s calcium balance, therefore helping one to develop and/or maintain bones and teeth. It also aids in developing healthy hair and (soft) body tissues.
It also aids in releasing muscle tensions and pains brought from too much muscle stress or fatigue.
Caring for a Howlite Stone
Although Howlite has quite a lot to offer aside from accentuating the body and adding to one’s overall beauty and exquisiteness, one should always bear in mind that this stone belongs to the sensitive and brittle ones. That is why, proper care is needed for the stone to last and serve its purpose (of beautification and/or healing) for long.
When cleaning a natural Howlite stone (or a jewelry piece made from it), just use a soft cloth and soapy water to gently wipe it. Rinsing the stone carefully, yet thoroughly, to avoid soap residue from sticking on the stone is second recommended.
Like other gemstones, it is also important to always take off any jewelry piece made of (or containing) Howlite stones when planning to do strenuous activities, or works that require so much activity that expose the stone to potential impact and abrasions.
Lastly, avoid exposing your Howlite stone (or any jewelry made of it) to extreme heat of the sun, or to any chemical that may cause slight discoloration to the (white) tinge of the stone.
The same care tips are also advised to those who have dyed Howlite stones.
Howlite may, so far, be a lesser valuable and much cheaper gemstone in the gem market, but its price does not make its qualities as a beautiful and desirable stone any less. It has a color that suits perfectly just almost any getup of any color, for any occasion; and its unique webbings are something that are undeniably attractive. It is not always, “You can never go wrong with black”; sometimes, it is also white, or even both.
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