The Vikings knew about this violet-blue gemstone long ago as they sailed the oceans seeking new land. They fashioned lenses from the iolite and used them as polarizing filters to find the exact location of the sun. They could then navigate their ships when there was no land to guide them. This worked because the iolite gemstone exhibits pleochroism, which means many colored. Depending on the angle and the light, different sides of the stone absorb different wavelengths. This gives each side a different color.
To make iolite jewelry, deposits are mined in locations such as Sri Lanka, India, Myanmar and Brazil. It is likely that there used to be deposits in Norway or Greenland that the Vikings depleted along time ago.
Though it does not have the designation of birthstone for any month, it is the official gemstone of the 21st wedding anniversary. This is a great time to take advantage of the affordability and beauty of the stone. Iolite and diamond jewelry make a special gift for this special day.
It is easy to care for iolite earrings and other pieces because the stone ranks a 7-7.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness. A soak in warm water with a gentle soap and quick scrub with a toothbrush should get all the oils and residues hindering the sparkle of the stone.
The beauty, versatility and affordability of iolite jewelry make it a great choice for anyone who loves to sparkle.