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Iolite Properties Facts and Photos

faceted iolite gemstone

Iolite Gemstone Variety of Cordierite

Iolite is the gemstone variety of the mineral cordierite.  A translucent stone with a bluish violet colour, it's often compared to sapphire but has more of a purple tint.

One of the most notable characteristics of iolite is pleochroism.  Pleochroism is an optical phenomenon that enables a crystal to exhibit different colours when viewed from different angles.

Depending on the type of light and angle from which the stone is viewed, it can look blue or a subtle shade of violet.  As iolite is rotated the colour changes to yellowish grey to light blue.

The name iolite comes from the Greek word 'ios' meaning violet.  Cordierite was named after the French geologist Pierre Louis Antoine Cordier who first described it in 1809.

Iolite was officially classified and named as a gemstone in 1813.  It's widely believed to have been known and used in Sri Lanka long before then.  

Although many gemstones are pleochroic, unlike iolite most have such minimal colour change it's almost unnoticeable.  Cordierite and tanzanite both exhibit pleochroism with colour change that can be easily seen.

Although two completely different minerals, iolite can sometimes be confused for tanzanite.  Visually they can look very similar but tanzanite is much rarer and considerably more expensive.

A Few More Facts

The finest iolite comes from from India, Brazil, Sri Lanka, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Madagascar and Myanmar.

It's widely believed to have been mined by the Vikings in Norway and Greenland.

In 1996 an iolite deposit was found in Wyoming in the USA.  Further discoveries were made in 2004 and 2005.

When used for its metaphysical properties iolite clears thoughts and opens intuition.  It has also been used for the purpose of understanding and releasing the causes of addiction.

Iolite helps release conflict and tension within a relationship.  It does this by giving you the strength to take responsibility for yourself in order to become more independent.

Graded 7 to 7.5 on Mohs scale of mineral hardness iolite is relatively hard.  When used as a gemstone it tends to be faceted.

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