H is for Howlite
Howlite is a borate mineral – a mineral containing the element boron. It was first discovered in 1868 when miners, complaining of an annoying mineral impacting their mining in a gypsum quarry, brought it to the attention of chemist and geologist Henry How.
With a hardness of only 3.5 on the Mohs scale, it is not suitable for use as a cut gem. It is more often tumbled or cut and polished and used in either beading or used for small carvings or other decorative objects.
Howlite is white with gray or black streaks and the rough shape resembles a head of cauliflower. Because it is extremely porous, it is often dyed to look like turquoise. Since Howlite is often used in beaded jewelry, it is easy to find often pre-drilled for stringing onto wire for jewelry.
I love the organic shapes of sliced Howlite, although I do not care for it dyed – it never looks natural to me. Also, dyed porous minerals can often ‘bleed’ onto skin or clothing. It makes an interesting necklace and is often a great conversation starter. There is an excellent photograph of Howlite from Nova Scotia here on minedat.org.
I still have a beaded necklace I made WAY back when I first started making beaded jewelry. I love how well it works with brighter colored beads. The photo is attached below.