Thursday, April 19, 2007


Snow drifted fence lines rolling across the plains into a distant horizon. This is the image the web of gray veins across the snowy white surface of a Howlite gemstone conjures for me. The fresh, innocent calm and utter silence left by a blizzard seem to be reflected in this stone's energy.

Howlite is a complex crystal that includes calcium, borax, silicon (Quartz) and hydroxide. This patient gemstone forms slowly as calcium and boran evaporate, creating massive deposits of Howlite in sedimentary stones. Under extremely rare circumstances this stone will crystallize into six sided tabular shapes, aggregated rosettes or bumpy nodules. Most commonly known for grayish veins weaving cross its white surface, Howlite can also be found with brownish streaks.

When examined under a shortwave UV light, some Howlite specimens will fluoresce blue or yellowish white.

The stone was first described/discovered in Nova Scotia in the 1830's by the Canadian geologist Henry How and is named for him. Since How first described the stone, geologists have been undecided over how to classify this relatively new specimen. Because of its silicate content some want to classify it with the huge, over populated Quartz family. However, others contend that Quartz is only one fifth the content of the stone and the Borax molecules far out number the silicon therefore Howlite belongs in the Borate group.

There also appears to be some confusion over the stone's relationship to Magnesite. Some references list Howlite and Magnesite as the same mineral, others list them separately. In the Audubon field guide Magnesite is described as a magnesium carbonate with iron and calcum. I would conclude they are not the same.

While this is a pretty soft gemstone (only 3.5 on the mohs scale), it has an extremely tough structure, making it very popular as a carving material. In fact, some of the nicest carvings I've seen have been done using Howlite. Its natural gray and brown veins add an interesting dimension to any shape.

Another popular use for this crystal has given it something of a bad reputation. Which is unfortunate. Because of the poreous nature of Howlite, it absorbs dyes easily and completely. Commercial dealers have become quite fond of dying Howlite to resemble Turquoise and Lapis Lazuli. Then not sharing with the public what they are actually selling.

An easy visual test for dyed versus natural material is to check for the consistency of color. Natural stones will have some variation in coloring across the stone. It will not be perfect. Since Howlite absorbs dyes so thoroughly, the color in a dyed Howlite is consistent and perfect throughout the stone. Ask your jeweler if you have any doubts.

In addition to deposits found in Canada, California also has numerous locations where the gemstone can be mined. Colemanite, Kernite, Ulexite and Gypsum (Selenite) are some of the other minerals found with Howlite.

You'll find that Howlite is an amazing gemstone for revealing the truth, especially the truth about yourself. Its bright light will illuminate all those reasons that you think are preventing you from reaching your goals as the little white lies they are. This crystal will show you the truth about your strengths, the incredible power you are capable of. But first, it will teach you to stop lying to yourself. So, be careful what you wish for.

Use Howlite to eliminate the tendency to react selfishly during stressful economic times. The woman who gives one of her last two pennies makes a greater contribution than the rich man that tithes a percentage of his income. If you tend to be highly critical of those around you, especially loved ones, this stone can help you reform the habit. In fact, you can use a Howlite stone to help you recognize any habits or behaviors that may be impeding your spiritual evolution.

During stressful conflicts, use the gemstone to bring a calm patience to your reactions. It will prevent you from becoming rude, or behaving in a manner that will only heighten angry emotions. You will find yourself more able to react with tact and communicate your concerns in an appropriate manner. One that will allow for a resolution rather than an escalation.

If you are starting school or undertaking new studies, Howlite will enhance your thirst for knowledge. It will heighten your perceptions, allowing your to absorb new ideas and information easily, and incorporate your new skills and knowledge into every day life.

Health benefits from working with Howlite may include a balanced absorption of calcium and stronger bones and teeth. It could provide relief from pain and the physical symptoms of stress.

I would love to hear about your experiences with Howlite. Please feel free to share, send them to or, better yet, post them on the ORE's Gemstone Bulletin Board.

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