Iolite Facts and Buying Guide
by Sheweta Dhanuka
It is a simple stone yet few cautions have to be taken care off while making the purchase of a genuine stone like it should be viewed from different directions to check for the colour and cut.
Iolite, the name is derived from a Greek word ‘ios’, which means violet. The stone is violet blue in colour thus named accordingly. Dichroite and Cordierite are it’s additional names. It is the gem variety of the mineral cordierite. It is the 21st anniversary gemstone. This gemstone is gaining fame with each passing day due to its splendid colour and moderate pricing. Even few gemstone pioneers have predicted that in time to come, it would play a vital role in the gemstone jewelry market.
It is a simple stone yet few cautions have to be taken care off while making the purchase of a genuine stone like it should be viewed from different directions to check for the colour and cut. Thus, this article is written with the aim to proffer the buyer with all such imperative information and facts. This content would also act as buying guide that would protect the buyers from all the future shocks and uncertainties. We would begin with 4 important Cs of the gemstone followed by other crucial characteristics like source, use, precautions etc.
The prime colour of this semi precious gemstone is appealing violet blue colour. Few other probable shades are violet, yellowish gray, blue and bluish violet. Due to its attractive colours it became pretty popular among the gemstone lovers. It is also called as ‘ water sapphire’ owing to the soothing violet blue colour.
The phenomenon of pleochroism is exhibited strongly in this gemstone. Three distinct colours are visible in the same stone when it is rotated in three different directions viz. violet blue like sapphire from one side, yellowish gray from the top and light blue or colorless like water from another side.
Cutting is the most crucial aspect of this gemstone and it is a challenging job for the cutters. Stones exhibit pleochroism to the extreme extent only if it is cut appropriately. One small wrong cut could ruin the entire effect and the stone looses its worth, as then the desired colours on the rotation of the stone are not displayed. Moreover, the colour of the stone is further enhanced with the efficient cutting.
In order to enhance the colour, the rough is often given a step cut whereas a shallow cut is preferred to lighten the tome. While cutting the stone, the entire concentration of the cutter remains on the trichroism of the stone. It is cut into all traditional shapes like square, round, oval, marquise, rectangle, emerald and trillion cut etc. With increasing demand, now jewelry designers are trying to give more innovative styles and shapes to this gemstone.
This beautiful gemstone possess vitreous luster and is transparent in nature. Generally this is a clear stone. However, there always exists a possibility of the presence of inclusions in the crystal. Only difference lies that few stones would be eye clean while some would carry less or minute flaws. There can be a probability in some stones that inclusions cause cat’s eyes and stars, although these are quite weak.
It occurs in medium sizes as rough. Carat weight between 1-5 ctw is ideal for the jewelry items. More than 5 ctw and less than 8 ctw is also available but relatively at higher price. Gemstones more than 8 carat weight is rarely found. The phenomenon of pleochroism is displayed best in higher carat weight stones. Conversely, the minimum weight of the gem to see this property clearly is 3 ctw.
Wide occurrence makes this fascinating gemstone quite affordable. The price is determined on the basis of colour concentration, pleochroism displayed, cut, clarity and carat weight. Out of these five criteria colour, intensity of pleochroism and cut matters most. Rich violet blue colour is valued most. The stones exhibiting higher intensity of pleochroism in a brilliant cut are priced maximum. And finally with the increase in clarity and carat weight of the stone the cost shall also increase. These criteria’s would create different pricing for different stones. But on a broad spectrum this stone is priced moderately that is within the reach of the common man having the descent budget for the gemstone buying.
It is a complicated Magnesium Aluminum Silicate. This is a blue silicate mineral found in igneous rocks in form of crystals or grains. It is formed due to the contamination of magma by aluminous sediment. Or the magnesium in the chemical composition is in some measure substituted by ferrous iron and manganese and the aluminum substituted by ferric iron in very less quantity. This makes constants for iolite moderately variable.
Source – The prime sources of this eye-catching gemstone are Sri Lanka, India, Madagascar and Burma. Zaire and Tanzania are countries considered next as the major producers of the gems. It is also procured from the mines of few other countries namely, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Germany, Finland and Brazil. Few parts of Canada and United States of America also give good yield of this gemstone. In earlier days it was mined from Norway and Greenland but those mines are completely worked out.
Enhancement and Imitations
– This gemstone is not enhanced by any method till date, as its natural colour itself is fantastic and stunning. And also any kind of treatment might trash the effect of pleochroism. It being an affordable stone and relatively a new gem, there are no imitations sold in the market at the moment. However, if it gains wide acceptance then in future due to high demand and low supply there could be a possibility of imitations being created just like other precious and semi precious gemstones.
In ancient times, Viking mariners used this violet beauty as a secret gem weapon as polarizing filter. It was also used as polarizing lens by them for navigation purpose and for determining the correct position of the sun. They could securely enter the new places and make a safe come back using Iolite compass. At present, apart from the usual use as gemstone it is used as semi-refractory material on account of its resistance to thermal shock.
Earrings, rings, pendants and bracelets possessing Iolite gems are creatively and innovatively designed. All these jewelries are made up of sterling silver and 14K or 18K yellow gold. Platinum and white gold are also used but comparatively little less than other two mentioned metals for this gem jewelry. The reason being that the worth in terms of money of these white metals and gem is incompatible. It is very well paired with diamonds and also with other semi precious stones like moonstone, pearl, Peridot, opal and so on. Hand crafted jewelry is also gaining recognition among the females across the globe.
It is rated 7-7.5 Mohs on the hardness scale. This hardness makes the gem a tough stone yet it needs to be protected from the sharp hits and blows else it might split up into two. Further the jewelry holding this stone should be protected from direct sunlight, excessive heat and large temperature changes, as too much exposure to these would certainly deteriorate the unique phenomenon of pleochroism. Also cleaning in ultrasound home cleaner should be avoided and only mild soapy water should be used for cleaning. After cleaning with water, ensure to wipe it off completely that not a trace of moisture is left behind. Gems and its jewelry must be stored in a separate jewelry box lined with either cotton or a soft cloth like velvet.
It is believed that the possessor of this gem leads to successful management of money and is free from all sorts of debts. He/she if wears the gem in any form, they would understand and know themselves better. It is considered as a useful aid to abolish the cacophony in the relationships. From the medical aspect, it is trusted to enhance the precision of vision.
It is quite alike to precious gemstone ‘ Sapphire ‘ and semi precious gemstone ‘ Tanzanite ‘ but is not expensive as these two because it is found in huge quantity. Due to its similarities to these valuable gemstones, affordable pricing and dazzling colour it would soon unquestionably hit the gemstone market in a giant way. Thus, plan to acquire this incredible gemstone or its jewelry today, before it is too late!!