Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better. ~Albert Einstein
Taking its name from the Greek ios, meaning violet, Iolite is the jeweler’s name for cordierite, a silicate mineral found in metamorphic and igneous rocks in Sri Lanka, Africa, India, Brazil, Norway, and Madagascar.
Iolite is a pleochroic mineral, meaning it appears to be different colors when viewed from different directions. Typically presenting as violet-blue or indigo, Iolite can shift color to yellow-gray, honey, or even clear. It can serve as a less expensive alternative to sapphire or tanzanite, though it’s challenging to facet and cannot be improved by heat or irradiation.
Known as the Vikings’ Compass, Iolite was used as a polarizing filter by explorers to determine the exact position of the sun so they could sail to the New World and back. Officially named in 1912, Iolite was popular in jewelry in the 18th century in Europe, but isn’t well known today. In fact, despite its ready availability in the mass market, jewelers fear they won’t have sufficient supplies to meet demand.
A relatively common mineral, Iolite is a 7-7.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness (ranging from 1-10), but in jewelry form must be protected from cracking because of its cleavage.
Feng Shui experts claim Iolite uses water energy (stillness, quiet strength, and purification) and should be placed where you meditate, repose, or pray. Water energy is associated with the North (career) area of a home or room.
Metaphysical practitioners believe Iolite opens our awareness from higher vibratory realms. It activates the Third Eye Chakra (our center of perception and consciousness) and, to a lesser degree, the Crown (controlling how we think and respond to the world around us).
Typically listed as a 21st anniversary stone, Iolite isn’t a traditional, modern, or zodiac birthstone.
On an emotional level, Iolite is said to instill hope and provide for a calm state of mind. It releases discord and helps overcome codependency in close relationships, helping us to accept ourselves.
Iolite is believed to strengthen the nerves, ease headaches and eye strain, relieve insomnia and nightmares, and support a strong constitution. An outstanding detoxification stone, Iolite is touted for relieving dizziness and enhancing the growth of hair and nails. It’s said to inspire creative self-expression, whether through writing, song, or other artistic endeavors. (Yes, please … I’ll take a wheelbarrow-full!)
Clean your Iolite with a soft cloth in warm sudsy water. Store it separately from other jewelry.
Note: The claims here aren’t meant to take the place of medical advice. They’re based on folklore and other sources, and likely “work” best if one’s belief is strong enough!