IOLITE, Untreated
This gemstone was called "the compass of the Vikings."
With a rich blue color when viewed from above, it appears almost completely colorless from the side.
Iolite's name comes from the Greek words ios, meaning "violet," and lithos, meaning "stone." It is also called "cordierite." When viewed from above, it shows a blue to violet color, while from the side it appears nearly colorless or very light brown. This mysterious property of showing different colors in different directions, called "pleochroism," is especially strong in iolite. Due to an appearance that simultaneously reminds one of the deep blue of sapphire and the transparency of water, iolite was long referred to as "water sapphire." This unique appearance also makes iolite easy to identify at a glance among the many blue gemstones.

In their day, the Vikings of northern Europe apparently used thin slices of iolite as polarizing lenses, allowing them to determine the position of the sun and navigate the seas, regardless of haze, fog, or clouds. Because of this, iolite has also been called "the compass of the Vikings."

When used as jewelry material, only transparent iolites are faceted, while translucent ones are cut as cabochons. Compared to the similarly colored sapphire, it is a far more affordable gemstone.
However, iolite has a distinctive, calm blue color that should be enjoyed for its own characteristic beauty, not as a substitute for gem-quality blue sapphire. In addition to cabochons, low-quality material is also used in carvings.

A majority of blue sapphires are heated to bring out their beautiful color, but iolite is a gemstone that is used in its natural state and never heat-treated. With a Mohs hardness of 7 to 71/2, it is harder than quartz and poses no problems with durability. Currently, the major sources of iolite are Sri Lanka, India, Brazil, Tanzania, and Namibia.

Iolite is a relatively unknown gemstone, but its beauty and unique character give it the potential to become a popular gemstone, if sufficient mining production can be maintained in the future.
Necklace, Platinum
Iolite 1 pc
1.18 ct
Diamond 4 pc
US $3,000