It got its name from the Greek word "ios" meaning "violet." Iolite is a versatile and beautiful violet-blue gemstone that has yet to really catch on. However, once you learn of its unique beauty, you just might become a fan. |
Physical and chemical properties This gemstone is a family member of the mineral known as cordierite. As magma cools to form igneous rock, aluminum sediments get trapped in the mix. The result of the aluminum contamination is the formation of the iolite gemstone in the rock. So, the resulting gemstone is a magnesium aluminum silicate.
An interesting quality of this stone is that it exhibits pleochroism. What this means is that it displays different colors depending on the angle of the stone as the light passes through it. From one side, the stone may have a yellowish hue. This is because on that side, yellow is the only wavelength not absorbed by the stone.
On the other side, a different combination of wavelengths may be absorbed and yet another color is exhibited. Yellow, light blue, grayish blue and even clear are all colors that might be exhibited by the gemstone. A setting that allows iolite jewelry to be seen from different angles showcases this characteristic.
Where does it come from?
Most of the supply comes from Sri Lanka, Madagascar, Myanmar, Brazil and India. However, there are also deposits in Wyoming along the Laramie Range.
History of the gemstone
Many may wonder why the ancient Vikings had such great success in finding new lands to conquer, but the answer is simple-iolite. Maybe not entirely, but this many-colored stone had a hand in their success.
The Vikings made lenses from the stone and used them as polarizing filters to navigate by the sun. The filter cut the glare from the light, water and clouds allowing them to pinpoint the location of the sun. This was how they got their bearings when they were far out to sea with no land in sight.
Unlike many other gemstones, iolite is not designated as a birthstone or even as a secondary birthstone. However, it is the gem that celebrates the 21st wedding anniversary. Iolite and diamond jewelry are a great way to commemorate this special day.
Caring for your jewelry
Iolite is quite durable with a 7-7.5 ranking on the Mohs scale of hardness. However, do not to knock or hit the stone because the presence of cleavage will result in splitting the stone. It is not indestructible. Because of the cleavage, rings and bracelets should be worn with care since they tend to get knocked around more than other pieces.
As for cleaning iolite earrings and other pieces, a soak in warm soapy water is sufficient. If residue is present under the stone and in the setting, a toothbrush can be used to remove the grime.
Because of its durability, you can find the gemstone in a variety of traditional as well as unconventional settings such as iolite belly button rings. It looks beautiful in any setting, particularly silver.
For iolite earrings, sterling silver highlights the velvety shades of blue. The affordability and beauty of violet-blue gemstone is another reason this exotic looking gemstone won't stay in the shadows very long.
Iolite is a versatile and beautiful violet-blue gemstone that is used to celebrate the 21st wedding anniversary. Iolite diamond earrings set in sterling silver are the perfect gift for that special woman in your life. Shop for more rare and unusual gemstones at www.gemaffair.com
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