Iolite Origin & Physical Properties

Iolite is the name for the gem quality variety of Cordierite. Iolite is a highly pleochroic gemstone, meaning its color will change depending on the direction it is viewed. As light enters the gemstone, it is bent and divided, following different pathways through the gem.

Iolite is a magnesium iron aluminum cyclosilicate. Iolite comes from the Greek word for violet. The pleochroism of Iolite causes it to exhibit colors ranging from a sapphire blue or blue violet from one angle to a yellowish gray to light blue from a side angle. Well cut gems are cut to show off its deep violet-blue color tones from face on, with the side view showing the secondary yellowish-gray colors.

Quality Iolite rough is found in the Northern Territory of Australia, Brazil, Burma, India, Sri Lanka and Madagascar, as well as in several localities in the U.S.A. Most gem qualtity Iolite comes from placer deposits, meanings it occurs with other gemstones. Iolite has a hardness of 7 to 7 1/2 which makes it sufficiently durable to be used in all forms of jewelry including rings. As gems become larger in carat size, their prices increase exponentially.




 Chemical Composition


 Mohs Hardness 



Greasy or Vitreous

 Specific Gravity 2.57 - 2.66
 Refractive Index

1.542 to 1.578

 Fluorescence  None

Crystal System 



Transparent to translucent


Blue, smoky blue, bluish violet; greenish, yellowish


India, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Madagascar, Myanmar, Namibia, Sri Lanka


Third-Eye (6th)


Libra, Sagittarius, Taurus



Metaphysical Effects

Inner vision, understanding, positivity, intuition

Iolite Healing & Metaphysical Properties

Iolite gemstone of premium quality with powerful healing properties

Iolite History & Mythology

According to legends and myths, Iolite was used by ancient seafarers, including the Vikings, as a compass stone. On a cloudy day lost at sea, Iolite could filter light with its natural pleochroic properties to track the location of the sun and find the cardinal directions. It’s thought that Vikings discovered Iolite in various deposits in Norway.

Iolite rose to popularity in 18th century Europe where it was used in elaborate designs as a replacement for the more expensive and rare Sapphire. It wasn’t officially named until last century and was commonly called “water sapphire”, because when viewed from a certain direction it had the clarity and luminescence of water.