According to legend, Vikings used iolite slices to reduce glare when checking the sun’s position.
In legends, ancient Viking navigators used thin slices of iolite as filters to help locate the sun on cloudy days. Whether or not the tales are true, iolite (mineralogists call it cordierite) can be fashioned into beautiful gems. Strongly pleochroic iolite has been incorrectly called “water sapphire,” as it can display a blue to violet hue in one direction and pale yellow to colorless in another.
Iolite’s name is from the Greek word ios, meaning violet.
When you turn iolite, you’ll see three distinct colors in three crystal directions.
Iolite is not typically treated. This is an attractive selling point for some consumers.
There are processes used to alter the color, apparent clarity, or improve the durability of gems. Some gemstones have synthetic counterparts that have essentially the same chemical, physical, and optical properties, but are grown by man in a laboratory.
Iolite is the gemstone for the twenty-first wedding anniversary.