Iolite is a gem that comes from the mineral cordierite. This mineral was named after the French geologist Cordier and comes from ‘ios’ which is the Greek word for violet. Iolite is commonly known as “water sapphire” with its deep blue color. Just like sapphire and tanzanite, it is pleochroic which means that it transmits light differently when viewed from other angles.
Iolite was quite popular in the 18th century in Europe. Cordierite (the mineral which iolite comes from) is increasingly popular currently and used as an electrical insulator and in heating installations. Iolite, on the other hand, is used to commemorate the 21st wedding anniversary but is overall an abundant and therefore affordably priced gem.
Renowned for its pleochroism as well as the intense blue color, iolite occurs as short and prismatic crystals which are either gray, light or dark blue or violet. However, the gem can also appear in a yellowish-gray form. In all of these forms, iolite is not lustrous but when transparent has a specific vitreous luster.
Most of the iolite stones found nowadays are neither too small or too large. They are commonly cut in faceted shapes and are never imitated or produced in a synthetic way. The gemstone is commonly found in Sri Lanka, Myanmar, India as well as Namibia, Tanzania and the Northwest part of Canada.
According to legends, iolite is a gem that strengthens one’s eyesight and a gem with many emotional attributes. From enhancing curiosity and achievement to guiding one through his spiritual growth, this gem has been said to overcome codependency with a partner too. In jewelry, iolite is mostly present in bracelets, necklaces and earrings.