Coming from the Greek work for violet (ios), iolite is a relatively little-known bluish-purple gem that is perfect for those seeking a great value with compromising beauty.
Iolite, also known as "Vikings Compass,” was used by the explorers to determine the location of the sun on cloudy days by using the gem as a polarizing filter. Viewing the gem from different angles yields several different colors within the gemstone, including honey-yellow and clear. This property, called pleochroism, is only apparent if iolite is cut in precisely the right way.
Mined in India, Brazil, Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka, and Mozambique, iolite is relatively hard but sometimes prone to scratching or other damage. Because of large finds in these areas, iolite is relatively inexpensive, but boasts unique optical qualities.