Iolite, a beautiful and unique gemstone, has a typical property that not many semi-precious stones posses. Iolite is famous for its pleochroism. Pleochroism is a unique property of this stone. This property helps reflect three different and distinct colors in the stone in addition to possessing almost refractive see through diaphaneity. It is popularly known as “water sapphire” or “Dichroite” due to its color properties.
Iolite is many-a-times compared to sapphire and Tanzanite gemstones because of its color. The attractive violet-blue color of the stone is usually in demand in the jewelry market as blue is among the most popular and favorite among the fashion enthusiasts. This stone is easily available and looks as beautiful as other precious stones. Its pleochroism property has fascinated old mariners. They used this stone for determining the exact location of the sun on overcast days.
The name Iolite is derived from Greek word “ion” meaning violet in Greek. Iolite is usually available in deep hues of blue, violet, purple and yellowish grey. Twisting the stone at different angles often displays three different colors.
Origin and Properties
Iolite is mostly found in India, Sri Lanka, Burma, Mozambique, Tanzania and Brazil. Iolite is a gemstone variation of the mineral Cordierite. It is made up of magnesium aluminum silicate. The hardness of the stone weighs 7 to 7.5 on the Mohs scale. It is an excellent stone for jewelry making. However, the stone should be protected against hard hits as it might break into two. Although due to hardness of the stone it is easy to mold it into various shapes, cutting it into the right shape is a challenge for the artisan. If the Iolite is not cut at a proper crystal angle it might lose its pleochroism property and not display different colors.
Iolite has a refractive ray index of 1.53 to 1.55. The stone does not have much cleavage but shows some amount of sub-conchoidal fractures. It has an orthorhombic crystal system; it displays three different and unequal axes that intersect each other at perfect right angles. The crystal habit of the stone is supposed to be artificial hexagonal prism along with imbedded granules. This stone also depicts white colored streaks sometimes. It has a brittle tenacity and greasy or vitreous luster.
Healing Properties and Beliefs
Iolite is known to bring joy and happiness to its wearer. It is also believed to uncover the inner self and creativity in a person. Iolite is also associated with Feng Shui. It is believed to improve and build healthy relationships. Medical healing properties of Iolite include improvement in vision as it is associated with the third eye chakra (energy point situated between the brows). It is also known to help improve varicose veins and certain skin eruptions.
Iolite due to its pleochroism properties and color is an attractive gemstone to posses.
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