Iolite derives from the Greek word ION which means violet and LITHOS which means stone, The IOLITHOS or VIOLET STONE. It refers to the purple hue that is often seen in Iolites.

The property of exhibiting different colors in different directions by transmitted polarized light is known as Pleochroism or Pleochroic. And iolite is the most pleochroic of all gemstones. 'Dichroite' is another synonym for iolite in reference to its pleochroic ability; 'dichroite' is a Greek word which means 'two-colored stone'. Iolite if observed from two different directions it will exhibit different colors. For example, iolite observed from one angle will look blue violet color and observed from another it will appear clear color.

Iolite is a variety of the Cordierite mineral.

Iolite luster is glass-like and waxy (when polished) and it is transparent to translucent. Iolite is one of the hardest of quartz being 7-7.5 on Mohs scale which makes it quite suitable as a jewelry gemstone.

Iolites are blue, purple and grey. The sapphire blue and the light-blue iolites are the more sought after and therefore valuable. This beautiful violet-blue color is due to iron in iolite.

Iolite is renowned for its Pleochrism meaning the ability to change colours. It can appear intensely blue in one direction, yellowish grey or blue in another and colorless in the third. This other phenomenon is also called Trichroism which means that three different colors can be seen in the same stone depending on the viewing angle.

Its pleochroic colors differ with its bodycolor. Iolites that appear violet display light violet, dark violet and yellow-brown colors. Bluish iolites display colorless to yellow, blue-gray and dark violet colors. From some angles, a bluish iolite can actually appear completely colorless or yellow, and a violet iolite can look brown.

In some rare cases, iolite may display asterism (star) or chatoyancy (cat's eye) when cut en cabochon. Some Iolites may even have a metallic glitter due to hematite found in them. Iolites with hematite are named 'bloodshot iolite.'

Iolite is also known as "Viking stone" or "Viking's compass." In the Europe of old, Viking sailors used this stone as a compass for navigation purposes. It was able to indicate the location of the sun on cloudy days.

Iolite can sometimes be mistaken for sapphire and tanzanite due to its blue color and pleochroism. But iolite is the most pleochroic of all gemstones. Iolite is softer than sapphire and harder than tanzanite. And, as stated above, iolites are trichroic (from the Greek trichroos which is translated as “three-colored”).

Unlike tanzanite, iolite is rarely treated. Fine iolite comes by its beautiful blues and violets naturally. Its freedom from enhancement other than normal cutting and polishing is a selling point when customers consider iolites from these other blue gems.

Iolite is an affordable alternative for more expensive blue sapphire or violet-blue tanzanite. Besides being a natural stone, they are abundantly found in Tanzania, Madagascar, Myanmar (Burma), Sri Lanka (Ceylon), India, Brazil, many parts of Africa, Australia, Wyoming, Connecticut in the United States, and Canada.

Iolite helps in recovering balance, and is recommended for those suffering from disorientation, lack of motivation, chronic disorganization and distraction.

Iolite is said to improve relationship and also helps in philosophical and scientific abstract thinking. Iolite was used in ancient times for eye and vision disorders.

Iolites can help recover lost memories.

This quartz crystal is known to heal headaches, especially those associated with developing your psychic powers.