Gemstone: Howlite

Tumbled howlite stones

I think that howlite, a calcium borosilicate hydroxide, has a mildly interesting discovery story.  It was discovered fairly recently–1868–in Windsor, Nova Scotia by the gypsum miners there who complained about this nuisance rock in their good gypsum.  The complaints came to the attention of Henry How, who identified it as a new stone and gave it his own name.

Howlite is most often found in irregular, cauliflower-like nodules, though it rarely occurs in tiny crystals.  The nodules are white with fine grey or black veins in an web-like pattern.  It is most often an opaque stone with a sub-vitreous lustre, and it is very porous for a rock.  This final trait is frequently exploited by jewelers, who dye howlite into all sorts of colors.  In particular, it is often dyed blue or blue-green to resemble turquoise, and it often sold as ‘turquenite’ in its turquoise-dyed form.  It is also fairly soft for a stone, at a Mohs hardness of 3.5, which lends itself well to carving.

Examples of dyed and carved howlite

According to Love is in the Earth, the mineral is used “to calm communication, to facilitate awareness, and to encourage emotional expression.”  In particular, it combines “the power of reasoning with observation and patience, providing for discernment, retentive memory, and a laudable desire for knowledge” which brings “progress marked with triumph.”  Therefore, it “spurs one toward the ambition to reach one’s goals and assists in eliminating hesitation with respect to action.”

It sounds a bit like an excellent stone for ambitious procrastinators.  In fact, since howlite “dispels criticalness, cold selfishness, and facetiousness” and brings “both strength and innocence to immediate confrontations” it does really work to combat a lot of procrastination triggers for many people, since it softens hypercritical personalities.  Overall, howlite “helps to lessen rudeness and boisterousness and can provide a reflection of the offender to the offender”, it “discourages impertinent behavior and encourages subtlety and tact” and it “builds an innate decency within one’s character, encouraging those attributes which are the building blocks to spirituality.”

Physiologically, howlite “can be used to eliminate pain, stress, and rage.”  It is also useful “for balancing calcium levels in the body”, both increasing and decreasing as needed.  As a calcium balancer, it is also used in treatments for teeth, bone structure, and soft tissue disorders.

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