Sunday’s Gem — Iolite

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.

1.83 ct. violet-blue Iolite mined in Madagascar, photo from

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.

This 3.54 ctw rectangle and baguette Iolite ring is available at JTV for less than $50!

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!

17 thoughts on “Sunday’s Gem — Iolite

  1. What a pretty stone. I’ve never heard of it, but it certainly looks nice faceted and mounted in that jewelry. When I see the things that come out of rock of all sorts, it’s just amazing. It’s no wonder that the phrase “a hidden gem” has entered our language. A lot of plain rocks hide a lot of beauty!

    • Linda, I have been fascinated by rocks most of my life. I attribute it to my late dad, who was a geologist and rock-enthusiast, too. Of course, I’m way more enamored of gemstones than of those everyday outdoor rocks that are so readily available, ha!

  2. Ah, I love iolite, although I’ve never been lucky enough to own any. Blue stones always appeal to me, the theory being that they make my eyes look bluer. Probably not true, but it’s a good excuse for acquiring gems… 😉

    • Blue Sapphire is my birthstone (September), so I’m partial to that, but I agree, Iolite is beautiful. I like the touches of violet inside it, and anything purported to help with artistic endeavors can’t be bad. Yes, you should try to find some to match your eyes — I understand it’s not too expensive, so you should be able to find a nice piece without breaking the bank!

  3. Debbie, you know how much I enjoy these gemstones posts, but I ESPECIALLY enjoyed this one because in as much I know about gemstones, I knew nothing about Iolite!?

    When your blog post initially loaded, I immediately thought the gemstone was either a sapphire or amethyst, or perhaps a hybrid of both. What a gorgeous color stone! And that photograph of the ring is stunning!

    “It activates the Third Eye Chakra” – which makes perfect sense to me because the Third Eye Chakra in energy work is the color Indigo, which is a combination of purple and blue.

    Again, thank so much for sharing this gemstone information because you taught me something new. I will now go online and do even more research because you have me so interested in knowing more about Iolite.

    Have a great weekend, my friend. And Happy Labor Day to you, Domer, and Dallas!

    • Isn’t it lovely, Ron? I didn’t know much about Iolite before researching it either, though I had heard of it. I love that it works with the Brow Chakra because it’s not easy finding indigo-colored stones.

      I thought the ring was lovely, too, and a real bargain at less than $50. No wonder people buy Iolite rather than Sapphire — look how much more bang-for-the-buck you can get!!

      Enjoy your Labor Day, as well. Fingers crossed Hurricane Dorian eases off into the ocean and leaves us all alone! xo

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