Know who you are and what you need to thrive.
Feel hopeful and calm, and listen to your heart’s urges.
Activate the Third Eye for creative problem solving.
Enhance shamanic practices and spiritual visions.
Let Iolite guide you to quick personal growth!
Mineralogy of Iolite
Mineral Family: Cycloilicates
Chemical Composition: Mg2Al4Si5O1
Crystal System: Orthorhombic
Form/Habit: Short prismatic, grandular
Fracture: Uneven, Conchoidal
Luminescence: Red (short wave)
Luster: Vitreous, greasy
Transparency: Transparent – Opaque
Location: Iolite is the gemstone variety of the mineral Cordierite. The primary deposits for Iolite are located in Australia, Brazil, Canada, India, Madagascar, Namibia, Norway, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, and the United States. Additional Cordierite deposits have been found in Austria, Bolivia, Finland, Italy, and Russia.
Mineral Family: Iolite is the gemology name for the mineral Cordierite, a Silicate mineral. Silicate minerals form the largest family of minerals, including more than 25% of all known minerals and 40% of all common minerals. In addition to being a major part of the Earth’s crust, Silicate minerals have also been found on the moon and in meteorites. Silicates are minerals which contain the elements Silicon (a light gray shiny metal) and Oxygen (a colorless gas). Together, these two elements form a tetrahedron – a shape similar to a pyramid – with a Silicon atom in the center and Oxygen atoms at each of the four corners. These tetrahedra connect with other chemical structures, in six different ways, to form various minerals and rocks. One way the tetrahedra can connect is in circles, and it is to this group that Iolite belongs. Other famous minerals in the cyclosilicate group are Aquamarine, Dioptase, Emerald, Sugilite, and Tourmaline.
Formation: Iolite is typically created when fine-grained sedimentary rock, such as mudstone, is transformed into metamorphic rocks as a result of contact or regional metamorphism. Iolite can also be found on occasion in igneous rocks, particularly Granite. The opaque variety of this blue stone is more properly called Cordierite, and it is in fact a relatively common rock-forming mineral in metamorphic rocks. Most of the time, rough Cordierite’s appearance is unremarkable, a dull greenish-grey or yellow-brown, hiding the glossy blue interior. Only on rare occasions, when Iolite forms in igneous rocks, such as Granite, will bright transparent gemstones or gemstone clusters appear.
Mining: Iolite may occasionally be found in its primary deposit in igneous rocks, however it is more often mined as water-tumbled pebbles in secondary alluvial locations.
Enhancements: All Iolites are natural, enhanced only by cutting, tumbling, and polishing. Its color can rival Blue Sapphire, but at a much lower pricepoint, and so it is often used as a substitute stone in jewelry.
Synonymss: Cordierite, Water Sapphire, Dichroite, Viking Compass
History of Iolite
Iolite is so similar in color to Sapphire that it was often mistaken for the precious gem. As such it was not recognized as a distinct mineral until relatively recently and was not included in early lapidaries, texts that describe gemstones and their powers.
Iolite is the violet-blue transparent gemstone, of the mineral Cordierite. The mineral was named after the French geologist Pierre Louis Antoine Cordier (1777-1861), the founder of the French Geological Society. He first described the mineral in 1813, but did not immediately recognize that the dull mineral was chemically identical to the blue gemstone. The name Iolite comes from the Greek ion, meaning “violet.” Gem-quality Iolite crystals have extreme pleochroism, an optical phenomenon in which an object appears to be different colors depending on which angle it is observed from. A perfect cube of Iolite may look vivid blue on one side, clear as water from the opposite side, and golden yellow from the top! This play of color helps jewelers easily distinguish Iolite from the more expensive, solid blue colored Sapphire. During the nineteenth and early twentieth century, jewelers sometime called Iolite “Water Sapphire,” although the name has mostly fallen out of fashion.
Iolite is more famously nicknamed the “Viking Compass,” a title it shares with Sunstone and Icelandic Spar (a variety of Clear Calcite). According to the Nordic Sagas, the Vikings were able to navigate the foggy North Sea using a “sunstone,” a mineral with natural polarizing optical properties. Today, scientists and historians agree that the legendary Viking Sunstone really existed. Certain stones, Iolite and Icelandic Spar among them, can be used to determine the direction of the sun when it is just over the horizon or hidden by clouds. Light shining through a transparent crystal will change in color and brightness as the crystal is rotated. At one specific angle, the light appears in a faint elongated yellow pattern, called Haidinger’s Brush. This shape points directly towards the sun. Iolite and Icelandic Spar are both found in Norway, and both stones have strong supporters who insist that their crystals was in fact the Viking Compass. However, the evidence seems to point more strongly towards Icelandic Spar.
Healing Properties of Iolite
Spiritual: Iolite has a cool, calm energy that helps us to settle easily into meditation, channeling, intuitive reading, shamanic work and other visionary spiritual practices. It opens the Third Eye and strengthens our ability to communicate with other dimensions and realms. Iolite reveals our own path to us, showing us where we still need to grow and what we need to do to move past our current limitations and wounds. Iolite illuminates the lost parts of ourselves, helping us find the way back home to our True Self and to know our real calling in this lifetime. Iolite is attuned to the Third Eye Chakra and linked to the astrological signs of Taurus, Libra, Sagittarius. It is connected to the element of Wind and vibrates to the number 7.
Emotional: Iolite is a wonderful stone to work with whenever we have become so emotionally entwined and close to a situation that we can no longer see it clearly. It reminds us to take a step back and breathe deeply, and take time to re-ground ourselves. Once we are calm, we can then look at the situation again, this time from a clearer perspective of logic and compassion. Iolite asks us to stay focused on solutions and the realty of the situation, rather than being swept away by our own complex emotions. Iolite helps us stay grounded, yet also optimistic and hopeful. It counsels us to choose a path of peace and balance, within ourselves first of all, in our relationships next, and finally in all our interactions with the wider world. Iolite invites us to enjoy each moment as it comes, and to ride the ups and downs of life with ease and grace.
Mentally: Iolite balances logic and intuition, allowing our mind to understand the world around us on a much deeper level. It can also help us to better understand the promptings and desires of our own spirit and heart, and, with that understanding, to then chart a course forward. It can be used as a compass to help us find our own “North Star” – the guiding force in our lives. This can take the form of a career or vocation, as well as a personal moral philosophy. Iolite frees us from addictions and can help us become better at managing money.
Physical: Iolite is said to support the eyes and mind. It has been used by metaphysical healers to balance sleeping patterns and create healthy habits and rituals. It is also believed to help treat the liver and to help the body eliminate stored toxins.
Always use wisdom when considering crystal therapies for healing.
Ethically Sourced Iolite
The Miners sell directly to the Lapidary.
The Lapidary sells directly to Moonrise Crystals.
Moonrise Crystals sells directly to you.
The Supply Chain
The Supply Chain is short.
The Mine and Lapidary are located in the same country.
This Iolite was artisanally-mined near Karur, Tamil Naidu, India.
The exact deposit is unknown, but most likely caused only minor environmental damage,
and would have been relatively low risk for miners.
Learn More: Ethical Mining
This Iolite was polished in Mumbai, India.
The Lapidary is owned by a woman and is a family business.
The Lapidary is also the direct-importer & sells exclusively at large gem shows.
Learn More: Ethical Lapidary
I first met the owner of the lapidary in 2014 at the Gem and Mineral show in Tucson, Arizona. It was my first buying trip for my own store and I was nervous. Most lapidary owners were brisk and impatient with my questions, especially when I asked about the mines and the supply chains. But one man stood out to me as particularly patient and kind. He had been a whole-seller for over twenty years, yet he was happy to meet someone brand-new to the industry.
He took time to talk to me about the stones. They came from his home country of India and he was able to tell me exactly which state or territory each one came from and some of the conditions at the individual mines. When I told him that I wanted to source ethically, he said that it would be difficult, but that it was worthwhile challenge. He made me feel like I could succeed, both at ethical sourcing and at being a business woman.
I looked forward to a long business relationship with him. He died, unexpectedly, in 2016.
I stayed in touch with his family and in 2017 met his wife, teenage daughter, and his father. This three-generation family has picked up the pieces and learned how to run the business. The wife had never worked before, but she has gracefully stepped into her new role as a business owner. Her father-in-law offers practical and moral support, but makes sure that everyone knows that SHE is the boss and that checks should be written directly to her. The family continues to be supportive of my efforts to ethically source. More than any other lapidary, they are willing to speak openly with me about the difficult parts of the industry.
Iolite Tumbled Stone
Color: Blue-grey with white lines. This is a 100 % natural stone, so minor variations are part of their unique beauty.
Size: 1 inch, or a little bit bigger
Weight: 1 oz
Shipping: Next business day – Domestic First Class averages 3-7 days. International First Class averages 2-3 weeks.
Safe Handling of Iolite
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