The name iolite comes from the Greek "ios", which means violet. The Vikings probably mined iolite from deposits in Norway and Greenland. Viking sailors used iolite as a polarizing filter to find the sun on cloudy days for safe offshore navigation. Iolite is usually a purplish blue when cut properly, with a softness to the color that is quite attractive. The favorite color is that pretty, violet blue that is unlike other gemstones. Pleochroism is very pronounced in iolite and is seen as three different color shades in the same stone. In viewing an iolite stone, the colors violet blue, yellow gray and a light blue can be seen; all a result of pleochroism.
Its hardness of 7-7.5 makes iolite a suitable jewelry stone, though the presence of cleavage must be taken into account and some care taken, such as protection from blows. Iolite, a gem variety of the mineral cordierite, is an unusual stone indeed that is not commonly seen in jewelry. Iolite is known as the gemstone for clear vision.
I ordered my gems off this website called GemSelect, they have a good selection and it's easy to navigate. You can also have the gems professionally certified when you buy them, but they do provide certificates of their own.
Good experience with finding a variety of stones. Due to the vast selection, it is important to be able to search, and I had issues with the site not returning matches when I put in a specific size range. I was eventually able to narrow it down by sorting the items by size, but it was slower than if I could have typed it in. I also wish Gem Select would offer lab created stones (fully disclosed, of course!) so I could get some exotic colors more frequently. Overall, I love browsing and will continue to patronize, but this would put the site as my #1 go to.
I have been browsing stones on GemSelect for a few months. They have such a large selection and I found some stones I had never even hear of before visiting GemSelect! I cannot wait to receive my order and show my gems off!