I love turquoise. Not just the color but the gemstone, too. But usually when I am wearing turquoise jewelry it’s actually howlite. Many people can’t tell the difference and some sellers actually sell pieces of jewelry made with howlite but claim that it’s turquoise. Right now I have items made with howlite and genuine turquoise in my Etsy shop. I try my best to give clear descriptions of the stones I use but please feel free to ask if you ever wonder.
Howlite is a borate mineral. It is porous which enables it to take on dye very easily. Its often found in many other bright colors, not just turquoise. There’s nothing wrong with turquoise-colored howlite.. as long as you know that’s what it is when you’re buying it. It’s a very affordable alternative to genuine turquoise.
Howlite is often called white buffalo turquoise, white turquoise, buffalo stone, or turquenite. Most howlite is mined in California and shipped to China, where labor is cheaper, to be shaped into beads.
You don’t often see howlite in its natural state, a white to light grey with darker grey veining, called matrix, similar to turquoise. The matrix in howlite is usually thinner than in turquoise. But I actually like the way it looks in its natural white state and have made several pieces with it and I love them.
The photo below is some jewelry for your books… something new in the shop for Fall 2013. I’ve used this same howlite cross in some of my earrings and bracelets.