Image by greenzaku on deviantart.
Its name stemming from the Greek “ios” for violet, iolite is a quaint little stone with unique abilities. Iolite is pleochroic, meaning that its color depends on the viewing angle. Iolite is neat in that it is trichroic (has three colors): the true blue-purple color, the midway grey-purple color, and the clear or slightly yellow color. Gemcutters have to pay attention these colors to bring out the stone’s best. Iolite is also nicknamed “Viking’s Compass” as it is thought the stone’s ability to change color in polarized light allowed sailors to navigate towards the sun, even on cloudy days. For this reason it is sometimes given to people about to travel for good luck.
There are no treatments that work on iolite to change its color or remove inclusions, and so it’s pretty safe to expect that any iolite you find is natural. Most of the world’s iolite comes from India, Tanzania, and Sri Lanka. Its hardness of 7-7.5 makes it suitable for jewelry, and as there are not many blue stones out there, iolite is a reasonably-priced option. Iolite is thought to help artists find inspiration, improve vision and memory, and help ease troubles for better sleep.