Howlite, named for its discoverer Henry How, who found it in Tick Canyon, California in 1868. Howlite is one of those minerals that is more famous for imitating another mineral than being used for itself. In most cases the other mineral is Turquoise, a phosphate gemstone. Although natural Howlite is always white or gray, it can accept dyes fairly easily and be dyed a turquoise blue. The look of turquoise is so good that dishonest dealers have been unfortunately successful at this hoax. In more honest circumstances, dyed howlite is an affordable substitute for turquoise carvings, beads, polished stones and cabochons. It accepts a nice polish and its porcelaneous luster is attractive and enhances even undyed beads and carvings. Unfortunately it has low hardness, but it still has a distinct toughness. California is the source for most all of the howlite trade where nodules of up to one hundred pounds have been found. In addition to the famous turquoise color Howlite is dyed, it also can become a very bright red color to mimic red coral, or any other color in the rainbow.
Chalcedony is a cryptocrystalline form of silica, composed of very fine intergrowths of the minerals quartz and moganite. These are both silica minerals, but they differ in that quartz has a trigonal crystal structure, while moganite is monoclinic. Chalcedony has a waxy luster, and may be semitransparent or translucent. It can assume a wide range of colors, but those most commonly seen are white to gray, blue and grayish-blue or a shade of brown ranging from pale to nearly black. Chalcedony occurs in a wide range of varieties. Many semi-precious gemstones are in fact forms of chalcedony.
Smoky Quartz is many times incorrectly called Smoky Topaz, this brown transparent Quartz is sometimes used for unusual faceted cuts and is quite popular in many types of jewelry. Smoky Quartz has an unusual color for a gemstone and is easily recognized and is well known by the general public. Only a few other brown or black minerals are ever cut for gemstones such as black Diamond, smoky Topaz, the very rare black Beryl or brown Corundum. Smoky Quartz is also popular as an ornamental stone and is carved into spheres, pyramids, obilisks, eggs, figurines and ornate statues. The cause of the color of Smoky Quartz is in question but it is almost certainly related to the amount of exposure to radiation that the stone has undergone. Natural Smoky Quartz often occurs in granitic rocks which have a small but persistent amount of radioactivity and/or high hot therma fissures. Most Smoky Quartz that makes its way to rock shops and to some gem cutters has been artificially irradiated to produce a dark black color. Natural Smoky Quartz comes from many sources around the world, a few of the more noteworthy locations include Brazil, the world's largest supplier; Pikes Peak area of Colorado, USA, where it is associated with green Amazonite; Arkansas, USA in the Quartz rich area around Hot Springs, and the Swiss Alps, which has produced many tons of fine specimens. Smoky Quartz is found throughout Quartz deposites found in the Granite fields of New Hampshire. It is also know as Cairngorm, as when found it reminded the early settlers of their Scottish homeland.