Posted on by Nevil Agrawal

Howlite possesses various gemstone qualities that make it a very popular choice for jewelry making; it can be dyed with different colors to make it look like a semi-precious gemstone and is often used to make imitation jewelry. This borate mineral is found in sedimentary rocks and was first discovered in Canada in 1868 by Henry How. He was approached by a group of miners when they found the stone to be a nuisance as it was harder to mine than gypsum. He named this mineral “silico-boro-calcite,” but it was later renamed howlite by James Dwight Dana, an American geologist, and mineralogist.

Howlite usually has a white marble-like appearance with black or grey threads running through it. Sometimes it is found in pure white color too and is rarely found in its crystal form. Its porous nature allows it to easily absorb various dyes. Hence, most unscrupulous dealers pass it off as turquoise or coral.  This buying guide will tell you everything you need to know about howlite and how to identify a real one.


What is howlite?


Howlite is a borate mineral found in the evaporite deposits. This versatile gemstone has the texture of unglazed porcelain and is usually found in irregularly shaped nodules that look like cauliflower bunches. It was first found in Nova Scotia in the 19th century and is famous for how easily it can be dyed to replicate other more precious stones. Its various metaphysical and healing properties make it a popular gemstone among people who meditate.


Where is howlite found?


Howlite is typically found while mining for other materials, such as gypsum. Supplies of howlite are abundant, and the stone is very easy to acquire. Other than Nova Scotia, howlite can also be found in Newfoundland and New Brunswick in Canada. It is also found in Turkey, Mexico, Germany, Russia, and various sites in California.


Similar and Related Variants of Howlite:


  • White Buffalo Stone: White howlite that has not been dyed is sold in the market under various names like "white turquoise" and "white buffalo turquoise."

  • Turquenite: Howlite dyed in turquoise blue color is sold under the trade name “turquenite.” It is sometimes covered in resin to prevent bleeding.

The Four C’s of Howlite:


  • Color: Howlite naturally occurs as a milky white, marble-colored material. It has a matrix that has grey, black, or brown veins running throughout the stone. This matrix looks very similar to the appearance of a spider web. While choosing your natural howlite, give preference to the porcelain colored howlite. The matrix veining is typically gray, but any color is acceptable based on preference. Most dealers look for howlite that strikes a balance between the matrix and body of the stone, preferring specimens that have a white color and evenly spaced matrix.
  • Clarity: Howlite is an opaque stone with a sub-vitreous luster. When polished, it displays a semi-glossy luster that can shine like glass. Howlite can also occur in transparent crystal forms, but they are extremely rare to find. It is only found in Tick Canyon in California and Iona in Nova Scotia.
  • Cut: The most popular shapes for howlite stones are cabochon and beads. It can also be carved into more decorative shapes since it is a soft substance when compared to other gemstones. Its lack of cleavage means that it is quite versatile. Howlite gems are known to make distinctive bolo ties, also known as "bootlace ties." Spherical drilled howlite stones are used in attractive beaded necklaces and bracelets.
  • Carat Weight: Known for its size, finished howlite can be found in a wide variety of carat weights. There have been recordings of specimens of over 30-carats, so you can expect to find howlite available in almost any size you are looking for.

Treatments of Howlite:


Although howlite exists as a natural stone free of any treatment, its porous nature makes it an easy stone to dye. This, along with its stunning spider web matrix, makes dyeing howlite extremely popular among jewelers. It can be dyed in practically any color, but turquoise is the most common. Usually, howlite gemstones that have been dyed will look a little too perfect. Genuine gemstones tend to have natural color variations, and that is one way to tell whether the stone is a substitute or the real thing. Sometimes, howlite is impregnated with a colorless resin to stabilize it and easily shape the gemstone.


How to take care of howlite?


Howlite has a hardness of 3 - 3.5 on the Moh’s scale,  so it’s softer than many other gems and can be easily scratched. While cleaning howlite, avoid harsh household chemical cleaning liquids, the hydrochloric acid in these chemicals may dissolve the stone. The dust we are surrounded by contains traces of quartz and howlite is softer than common quartz. This puts the stone at risk of reduced polish and unwanted surface scratches, even if you simply wipe it with a cloth. If your howlite has been dyed, don’t immerse it in soapy water.

To clean your howlite pieces, try using soapy water and a soft cloth. After cleaning with soap, be sure to rinse well and remove any soapy residue. Ultrasonic cleaners and steamers are not recommended for cleaning howlite. Always remember to remove any howlite jewelry before exercising, cleaning, or engaging in any intensive physical activities. Keep it separate from other gemstones to avoid any scratches. It is suggested to wrap howlite gemstones in a soft cloth or place them inside a fabric-lined jewelry box. 


Howlite Meaning:


Howlite is also known by many names, including White Buffalo, Sacred Buffalo, Lapis Howlite, White Turquoise, Silico Boro Calcite, and Kaolinite.  White howlite is believed to be a dominant guardian stone. It can improve self-awareness and help calm the mind. This marbled stone helps relieve stressed states of mind and emotion, providing support in releasing attachments to emotional pain from the past.

It is one of the “attunement stones,” which are believed to create a link between the user and higher spiritual consciousness.  This gemstone is said to act as a calming stone when placed under your pillow and can help you fall asleep. Turquoise howlite is associated with the throat chakra and communication.

Howlite Uses:


  • Howlite is believed to balance the calcium levels in the body and keep teeth, bones, hair, and muscles healthy.
  • It is usually used to make jewelry and carve ornamental pieces, beads, decorative items, and cabochons.

Howlite Metaphysical Properties:


  • This stone is believed to help you open and enhance your intuitive perceptions, creative imagination, and visualization abilities.
  • Howlite stone is known to assist the wearer in balancing the left and right hemispheres for their brain. It encourages the good health of the eyes, ears, and face.
  • With this stone in hand, aligning yourself with the higher forces of the universe and connecting to the subtle bodies of energy that surround you will become easier.
  • It can improve the functioning of the whole nervous and skeletal system.
  • Some consider howlite as a reminder to drink plenty of water and even use it as a signal that you might need to sit in a bath and soak away your worries, toxins, and stress.

Howlite Healing Properties:


The energies of howlite can provide support in healing different physical and mental conditions.

  • Howlite can help cure insomnia when it is used as a gem elixir before going to bed.
  • It can also act as a pain reliever for cramps and other forms of physical pain.
  • Howlite is said to speed up the treatment of anxiety disorders and other stress-related illnesses.
  • Blue howlite helps to calm the mind and to control an expressive imagination.
  • It’s also believed to be good for the bones and helps cure bone-related diseases or conditions, like osteoporosis.
  • Howlite is said to balance the wearer’s calcium levels and might be able to help in the proper distribution of much-need nutrients.

Where should you buy howlite gemstones?


At GemsforJewels, we offer howlite gemstones of the highest quality. These stones can be bought as strands; there are a plethora of varieties for you to choose from. We provide howlite in four different shapes for you to pick from, including cube, fancy, rondelles, and sticks. Howlite is an attractive and renowned gemstone; it will be perfect for all your avant-garde creations.