Iolite is normally violet-blue in color, albeit, a sometimes dull blue. The best
quality faceted gems can sometimes resemble tanzanite or sapphires. Prior to the 1980s, it was not readily
available, but supply has increased, making it a beautiful addition to most jewelry.
It's name is derived from the Greek word for violet. Sometimes misleadingly called a
"Water Sapphire" because it looks clear and watery from the side, but can resemble a sapphire when looking at
it head on.
Iolite was used by the Vikings on cloudy days as a sort of compass. They were able to
locate the position of the sun by looking through thin, clear slices of it. It has properties that acted like
a light polarizer and canceled out the mist and haze in the atmosphere.
Deposits are found in Sri Lanka, India, Brazil, Burma, Madagascar, Tanzania and the
Color: Blue, blue-violet, violet, brownish
Mohs' Hardness Scale: 7 - 7 1/2
Density: 2.58 - 2.66
Transparency: Transparent, translucent