Iolite Stone | Meaning and Properties



iolite faceted gemstone



About the Gemstone Iolite

Iolite is the gemstone variety of the mineral cordierite.  A translucent stone with distinctive blue to violet colour, it's often compared to sapphire but is slightly more purple.  One of its most notable characteristics is pleochroism which is an optical phenomenon that enables a material to exhibit different colours when viewed from different angles.  Depending on the type of light and the angle at which iolite is being viewed, it may appear to either be blue or a subtle shade of violet.  When rotated the colour changes to yellowish grey to light blue.

The name iolite comes from the Greek word 'ios' meaning violet whilst cordierite was named after the French geologist Pierre Louis Antoine Cordier who first described it in 1809.  It was classified as a mineral and named as iolite in 1813 but is believed to have been known and used as a gemstone in Sri Lanka long before that.  

Although many other gemstones are pleochroic, unlike iolite most have such minimal colour change that it's almost unnoticeable.  Cordierite and tanzanite are the two main minerals which exhibit pleochroism with colour change that can be easily seen.  Although two completely different minerals, iolite can sometimes be confused for tanzanite which is the gemstone variety of the mineral zoisite.  Although their optical characteristics are similar, tanzanite is much rarer and considerably more expensive.



More Facts about Iolite

The finest grade stones comes from from India, Brazil, Sri Lanka, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Madagascar and Myanmar and it's likely the Vikings mined it from deposits in Norway and Greenland.  More recently in 1996 a deposit was found in Wyoming in the USA and further discoveries were made in 2004 and 2005.

In crystal healing iolite is used to clear thoughts, it opens intuition and aids in understanding and releasing the causes of addiction as well as helping one to express their true self.  It releases discord within relationships and encourages taking responsibility for oneself overcoming co dependency within a partnership.

Graded 7 to 7½ on Mohs scale of mineral hardness means that it's a relatively hard stone which makes it particularly suitable as a lapidary material.



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