Howlite,  dyed treatment, imitation turquoise


• Howlite (HOW-lite) is amineral species; monoclinic crystal system; chemical composition Ca2BsSiO9(OH)5
• Semi translucent to opaque
• White, often with dark gray and black spiderweb matrix
• Commonly dyed blue to imitate turquoise or lapis lazuli


• Optic Character: AGG (DR)
• Refractive Index: 1.586-1.605 (+.003), spot reading usually 1.59
• Birefringence: .019 (usually not detectable)
• Pleochroism: none
• Ultraviolet Fluorescence: inert to moderate orange (LW); brownish yellow (SW)
• Absorption Spectra: not diagnostic
• Cause of Color: dye, if colored
• Specific Gravity: 2.58 (-.13)
• Polish Luster: vitreous
• Fracture: granular
• Luster: dull
• Cleavage: none
• Identifying Characteristics: may have spiderweb matrix
• Crystal Habit: massive, compact nodules
• Hardness: 3 to 3%
• Toughness: fair


• Method: dyeing
• Effect: produces imitation turquoise or imitation lapis lazuli)
• Prevalence: occasional
• Detection: color does not occur naturally; color filter reaction: pink or red (turquoise gives no reaction; lapis appears dull reddish brown)
• Stability: dye will fade
• Special Care Instructions: avoid acids, solvents, and prolonged exposure to strong light

Key Separations: howlite from:

• turquoise – appearance (texture, possibly color), color filter, SG (possibly), spectrum
• lapis lazuli – appearance (mottling, inclusions), RI, SG (possibly), fluorescence

Stone information is reference from:

• Gem Reference Guide, Published by GIA. ISBN 0-87311-019-6
• Gemstones of the World, Published by Sterling Publishing Co., Inc NY, ISBN 1-4027-4016-6
• Encyclopedia of GEMSTONE, Published by ISHINSHA CO., LTD. ISBN 978-986-251-831-1
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