The Iolite takes its name from the Greek ios meaning purple. Her name therefore refers to her violet hue. Iolite is the gem variety of the mineral Cordierite. It describes the transparent to translucent form of Cordierite, and it has recently become a popular gemstone. Iolite can be light to deep blue, and usually has a purplish tinge to it. Deeper coloured stones are more valuable. Iolite is very affordable and durable, and can be used as a substitute for more expensive blue gemstones such as Sapphire.
Iolite is a transparent thin stone. It is a magnesium aluminum silicate of Mg2Al4Si5O18. It can be found in several shades of blue-violet or brownish. The most impressive feature of Iolite is its very strong pleochroism. Indeed, according to the size of the stone and the angle of observation it presents extremely different colors: yellow, dark blue-violet, pale blue. With this very strong pleochroism, the size of the Iolite is a real art to which lapidaries indulge .. Iolite crystals are prismatic with a darker color in the axis of the prism. This is why the lapidaries are very careful to orient the colored axis of the gemstone towards the top of the stone.
China, India, Madagascar, Sri Lanka, Brazil
Iolite is believed to reduce stress and anxiety, and help fight depression. It has also been said to relieve problems in the digestive tract, like feelings of bloat and other stomach disorders.
The iolite is a true gem of the Vikings - when Leif Eriksson and the other legendary Viking explorers ventured far out into the Atlantic Ocean, away from any coastline that could help them determine their position, iolite served as their secret weapon. The Viking mariners used thin pieces of it as the world's first polarising filter. Looking through an iolite lens, they were able to determine the exact position of the sun, and navigate their way safely.
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