Saturday, June 5, 2010


Gemstone :

Cordierite is more commonly known as Iolite.

Birthstone Month :
Iolite is not associated with any particular birthstone month.

Zodiac :
Iolite is not associated with any particular zodiac sign.

Chemical Symbol :

Chemical Make-up :
Iolite is a complex Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, with traces of ferric / ferrous iron and managanese. The magnesium is partially replaced by ferrous iron and manganese and the aluminum is partially replaced by ferric iron.

History & Lore :
The name Iolite is derived from the Greek words “ios” meaning violet and “lithos” meaning stone. Iolite has also been referenced as water Sapphire, though the origin of this is uncertain. Some believe that it dates back to when the vikings used Iolite as a navigational aid on their legendary sea journeys. Others believe that it was derived from an Iolite trait known as Pleochroism. Regardless of which origin is correct, the name water Sapphire is no longer in use.

Cordierite is named after Pierre Louis Cordier, the French geologist-mineralogist who first described it in 1809.

Iolite's earliest recording dates back to the legendary sea journeys of Leif Eriksson and his tribe of Viking explorers who ventured far out into the Atlantic Ocean, away from any coastline in search of the New World. With them on this venture the Vikings carried thin slices of Iolite that would be used as the World's first polarizing filter. Looking through the Iolite lenses they could determine the exact position of the sun, and were subsequently able to navigate safely to the New World and back.

Iolite aids in leading the wearer to inner knowledge, increases spiritual insight, and helps with viewing an issue from both sides clearly. Iolite is said to bring harmony to one's self and to help eliminate tension in relationships. Iolite has also been said to contribute to leadership ability, inner strength, and self-confidence.

Physically, Iolite is said to help maintain healthy cholesterol levels and to help eliminate harmful toxins. Iolite is also said to fight against malaria and other fever producing disorders.

Availability :
Iolite is readily available and comparatively affordable. Supply meets demand.

Sources :
The World's major supplier of Iolite is India, though there are also known deposits in Brazil, Canada, Germany, Finland, Madagascar, Mozambique, Myanmar (Burma), Norway, Sri Lanka (Ceylon), Tanzania, the United States, and Zimbabwe.

Evaluation :
Iolite is rated at a 7 to 7.5 on Moh's Scale of Hardness and regarded as suitable for all jewelry applications and everyday wear. Although it is a relatively hard gemstone Iolite should be protected from blows that may cause chipping and scratching. When cut correctly, Iolite should appear a purplish-blue, with a softness to its color that is both desirable and attractive. The value of Iolite depends on the blue coloration. The richer the blue, the better. When purchasing Iolite make sure to view the stone at several different directions to ensure that the Pleochroism is effective and that the blue is truly rich in color.

Common Cuts :
Iolite has an extraordinary property, and exhibits three different colors when viewed at different axes. This property is known as Pleochroism. Iolite will look a violet blue from one side, a clear water from the opposite side, and a honey yellow when viewed from the top. Because of this factor, cutting Iolite gemstones is a somewhat difficult task. The gemstone cutter needs to cut from the exact correct direction relative to its axis, regardless of the shape of the rough stone, for it to exhibit its finest color. The most common shape that Iolite is cut into is Oval because this cut produces strong color distinction.

Routine Enhancements :
There are no known enhancements for Iolite.

Care & Cleaning :
Iolite is a relatively hard gemstone but should be protected from blows that could cause chipping or scratching. Iolite jewelry is best cleaned with warm, mild soapy water and a soft brush. As with many gemstones, you should avoid ultrasonic and steam cleaners, and prolonged exposure to excessive heat. Acids and household chemicals should also be avoided. Iolite should be stored in a fabric-lined box away from other jewelry items in order to avoid damage / scratching.

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