Gemstone of the Month: Iolite

April 04, 2017 Allison Bray

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Many hundreds of years ago this bluish purple gem was famed for it’s light reflecting ability. Iolite is also sometimes called ‘Viking’s Compass’ as our ancestors are believed to have used the gem to determine the direction of the sun on overcast days.
In addition to this useful navigational purpose, Iolite is frequently used for jewellery. It’s deep indigo hue makes it a fantastic alternative to sapphire, though iolite is a much softer gem.  
Another key difference between iolite and sapphire is that iolite is what mineralogists call ‘pleochroic’. If a gem is pleochroic, it means that you will see a different colour depending on which direction you look at it from. In addition to the usual violet/blue colour, some iolite can also look pale yellow or even colourless, depending on how you look at it.
Iolite is found in abundance in countries as diverse as Australia, Brazil, Burma, Canada, India, Madagascar, Sri Lanka, Tanzinia and the United States… and in our contemporary jewellery store in York!

Worn best with… 

We love the way iolite looks with silver. The cool metal plays together perfectly with the blue/purple tone to create a sophisticated modern look. It also pairs well with other gemstones such as aquamarine and rose quartz. 

Best suited to… 

We think iolite is a fantastic everyday stone. It’s the perfect gem for fun jewellery, like some of the animal inspired pieces you’ll find linked below. 

Famous Iolites… 

The biggest iolite ever discovered was found in Wyoming, USA. It weighed more than 24,000 carats, which is about as heavy as your average household cat! 

More inspiration… 

Fern Pendant with Silver and Iolite | Silver Fern Leaves Earrings | Poodle on Lead Pendant | Pug Drop Earrings | Whippet Dog Drop Earrings | Fly Drop Earrings 

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