Iolite is a gemstone with the ability to be either vibrantly violet blue or nearly colorless periwinkle lavender, and attractive in both. This lovely stone is pleochroic, meaning it can appear three different hues when turned, from violet to bluish-gray to grayish-yellow. These plays of light bend within the stone in darker tones of violet and blues, but are not as pronounced in lighter colored stones. These rays of soft color are highlighted when faceted, making oval and elongated cuts good to showcase the depth of Iolite’s beauty. The crystal system in this stone is orthorhombic, yielding short prisms for bright sparkle.
Iolite is a relative newcomer to the gemstone hierarchy, sometimes being mistaken for tanzanite. Larger stones are rarely eye-clean. Because of its ability to appear grayish, Iolite may have a lead color at certain angles, a quality that gives the planes to its facets a mirror-like, colorless look. This challenges gemstone cutters to find the best shape and size to show off Iolite’s unique colors and flare. With its natural blue-violet shades that can be from deep purple to watery, nearly gunmetal blue, Iolite is usually set in silver, and is a popular choice for beads and pendants.
Since the Viking times of Leif Ericksson, Iolite was quietly adding to history on the nautical front by serving as polarized filters when using the sun to determine naval position on the high seas. This leads to the theory that Iolite was readily available in Norway and Greenland before the New World was even discovered. Centuries later this remarkable and stunning stone is taking its place just behind sapphire, tanzanite, and pale amethysts.
Compound : Magnesium Aluminum Silicate
Mohs Scale(Hardness) : 7-7.5
Found : Brazil, Burma, India, Madagascar, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, U.S., Zimbabwe