Turquoise Or Howlite

10 min read Jul 02, 2024
Turquoise Or Howlite

The Allure of Turquoise and Howlite: A Guide to Two Beloved Stones

Turquoise and howlite are two beautiful and popular gemstones, each with its unique charm and appeal. While they are often mistaken for each other due to their color, these stones have distinct properties and uses. This article delves into the world of turquoise and howlite, exploring their history, characteristics, and significance in jewelry, art, and beyond.

The Mystical Turquoise: A Stone of Protection and Prosperity

Turquoise, a vibrant blue-green gemstone, has been treasured for centuries for its beauty and believed spiritual significance. Its name originates from the French phrase "pierre turquoise," meaning "Turkish stone," as it was brought to Europe through Turkey from mines in Persia and Egypt.

Turquoise's history is rich and diverse. The ancient Egyptians prized it for its protective qualities, using it in amulets and jewelry. They believed it could ward off evil spirits and bring good luck. In Native American cultures, turquoise held deep spiritual meaning, representing the sky and the connection to the divine. It was used in ceremonial objects, clothing, and personal adornments.

Turquoise's physical properties are equally fascinating. It is a hydrated phosphate of copper and aluminum, with its color ranging from sky blue to deep greenish-blue. The stone's vibrant color is caused by the presence of copper ions, while its opaque quality is attributed to its microcrystalline structure.

Turquoise is a highly sought-after gemstone for its beauty and unique color. It is a popular choice for jewelry, especially rings, necklaces, and earrings. The stone's hardness and durability make it suitable for everyday wear.

Howlite: A Versatile and Serene White Gemstone

Howlite, a white gemstone with distinctive black veins, is often confused with turquoise due to its similar color and patterns. However, howlite is a different mineral altogether, a hydrated calcium borate, and its properties and uses set it apart from turquoise.

Howlite's history is relatively recent, first discovered in 1868 in Nova Scotia, Canada. It is named after Henry How, the Canadian mineralogist who first identified the stone. Though relatively new to the gem world, howlite has gained popularity for its versatility and affordability.

Howlite's physical characteristics are distinct. Its white color, reminiscent of clouds or snow, is a result of its chemical composition. The black veins, often resembling spiderwebs, are caused by impurities of manganese oxide. This combination of white and black creates a captivating visual effect, making howlite a visually appealing and unique stone.

Howlite is a versatile gemstone, used in jewelry, decorative items, and even as a filler in plastics and other materials. Its affordability and the ease with which it can be dyed make it a popular choice for crafting and decorative projects.

Distinguishing Turquoise and Howlite

While turquoise and howlite might share some similarities in color, several key differences set them apart:

  • Color: Turquoise exhibits a vibrant, rich blue-green hue, whereas howlite is generally white with black veining.
  • Hardness: Turquoise is harder than howlite, with a Mohs hardness rating of 5-6 compared to howlite's 3.5-4.
  • Texture: Turquoise has a smooth, waxy texture, while howlite feels more porous.
  • Veins: Turquoise often has brown or black veins, whereas howlite's veins are primarily black.
  • Value: Turquoise is generally more expensive than howlite due to its rarity and history.

The Significance of Turquoise and Howlite in Jewelry and Art

Turquoise and howlite have long been cherished for their beauty and spiritual significance, making them popular choices in jewelry and art.

Turquoise jewelry has been worn for centuries, symbolizing protection, prosperity, and good luck. It is a popular choice for necklaces, earrings, rings, and bracelets. The stone's vibrant color and unique patterns make it a statement piece in any jewelry collection.

Howlite, on the other hand, has gained popularity in recent years for its versatility and affordability. It is often used in silver jewelry, crafted into beads, pendants, and earrings. The white background and black veining create an elegant and minimalist look.

In art, turquoise and howlite have also found their place. Turquoise has been used in mosaics, inlay work, and painting. Its vibrant blue-green hue adds a touch of vibrancy and depth to artworks. Howlite, with its white and black pattern, is often used in decorative carvings and sculptures, adding a unique visual element to artistic creations.

The Healing Properties of Turquoise and Howlite

Turquoise and howlite are often associated with various healing properties, both physical and spiritual.

Turquoise is believed to:

  • Enhance communication and self-expression.
  • Promote clarity, focus, and mental acuity.
  • Protect against negative energies and ward off evil spirits.
  • Bring peace, harmony, and balance.
  • Aid in physical healing, especially for the throat, heart, and immune system.

Howlite is believed to:

  • Promote calm and relaxation.
  • Reduce stress, anxiety, and tension.
  • Enhance memory and mental clarity.
  • Encourage forgiveness and emotional healing.
  • Support sleep and aid in lucid dreaming.

It is important to note that these properties are not scientifically proven and are based on traditional beliefs and practices.

Caring for Your Turquoise and Howlite Gems

To ensure the longevity and beauty of your turquoise and howlite gems, follow these care tips:

  • Clean gently: Avoid harsh chemicals and abrasives when cleaning your turquoise and howlite jewelry. Use a soft cloth and mild soap, rinsing thoroughly with water.
  • Store separately: It's best to store turquoise and howlite separately from other gemstones to avoid scratching or damaging the surface.
  • Avoid extreme temperatures: Direct sunlight, heat, and extreme cold can damage both stones.
  • Avoid harsh chemicals: Turquoise can be susceptible to damage from chemicals like perfume, hairspray, and household cleaners.

Conclusion: Embracing the Beauty and Versatility of Turquoise and Howlite

Turquoise and howlite are two distinct yet beautiful gemstones, each with its unique charm and significance. Whether you appreciate their vibrant colors, intriguing patterns, or believed healing properties, these stones offer a timeless beauty that transcends generations. By understanding their characteristics, history, and care tips, you can fully embrace the allure of turquoise and howlite and enjoy their beauty for years to come.