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The name derives from the Greek word “ios”, which means violet.


A gemstone that comes in various shades of blue. It is sometimes known as “water sapphire”. Because of its pleochroismic qualities (the property in some gems of transmitting relatively strong colours when viewed along different axes) it makes it difficult to cut (even if it does make it easy for navigation!)

Gemmological Characteristics:

Iolite can be recognised by its strong pleochroism, visible without equipment, which gives the gem its other name of diochroite. Hardness is 7 and its lustre is vitreous. The crystal structures are orthorhombic.

Holistic Properties:

Iolite is claimed to enhance curiosity and achievement. It also guides through spiritual beginnings and growth.


It is mined in India, Sri Lanka, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Brazil. Crystals are also found in Germany, Norway and Finland.


When Leif Eriksson and other legendary Viking explorers ventured far out into the Atlantic Ocean, away from any coastline that could help them determine their position they used Iolite. They used thin slices of Iolite as the world’s first polarizing filter. Looking through an Iolite lens, they could determine the exact position of the sun.