Seafaring Vikings used iolite to filter the haze and glare from their eyes. The power over the sun aided these fearless warriors in navigating the vast oceans upon which they sailed. The name is from the Greek “Los”, meaning violet.
Iolite is, mined in India, Sri Lanka, Africa and Brazil, can be obtained in sizes up to 4 - 5 carats reasonably easily, although much larger gems have been found. It is commonly cut into traditional shapes, and its most desirable color is a rich violet-blue.
While it is not as well known as its blue counterparts sapphire and tanzanite, this pleasing blue gemstone is gaining widespread popularity for its beauty and its attractive affordability.
Iolite is relatively hard, with a Mohs Hardness of 7 - 7.5, but should be protected from blows. Clean with mild soap: use a toothbrush to scrub behind the stone where dust can build up.