Madagascan Iolite

Madagascan Iolite are beautiful violet blue gemstones from Madagascar’s Tuléar Province. Popular and fascinating, Iolite’s enchanting cocktail of violet blues are unique to this natural gemstone.

Hardness 7 – 7.5
Refractive Index 1.542 – 1.578
Relative Density 2.58 – 2.66
Enhancement None


Historically confused with Blue Sapphires, Madagascan Iolite is a beautiful gemstone whose signature characteristics are a high transparency and delightful violet blues. Given its transparency, Iolite’s color is its most important indicator of value.

Due to trichroism (three-colored) each Iolite crystal has three colors; deep blue; colorless to very slightly brown; and colorless to very slightly blue; whose intensity changes when it is viewed from different angles.

Iolite’s beauty is maximized by careful crystal orientation during optimal lapidary and an eye-clean clarity, the highest quality clarity grade for colored gemstones.

Named after the Greek ‘ios’ (violet) and ‘lithos’ (stone), Iolite is gem quality Cordierite. Once known as ‘water sapphire’, Iolite is easily differentiated from Sapphire due to its trichroism. This gemological property of Iolite has a fascinating history. In Scandinavian sagas the magical ‘sunstone’ of Norse seafarers is portrayed as a miraculous means of navigation on overcast days when the sun wasn’t visible. Known as the ‘Viking’s compass’ or ‘Viking’s stone’, thin pieces of Iolite were actually used as the world’s first polarizing filter. Esoterically known as the ‘gemstone of clear vision’, when worn as an amulet, Iolite was historically (and in fact, correctly) believed to have the power to guide lost sailors to the brilliance of the sun, so they can find their way home.


While Iolite is predominately sourced from India, Madagascar and Sri Lanka, other sources include Brazil, Burma, Canada, Namibia, and Tanzania. Noted for its fine quality, Madagascan Iolite is from the Bekily District of Madagascar’s Tuléar Province.

Iolite that is clear and well-cut with a colorful table facet hue is the marketplace preference for this attractive and popular gemstone, with undesirable secondary browns or yellows decreasing Iolite’s value.

Totally natural, Madagascan Iolite is one of the few gemstones that are not enhanced.

Durability & Care

Madagascan Iolite is a durable gemstone (Mohs’ Hardness: 7 – 7.5) well-suited to everyday wear. Always store Madagascan Iolite carefully to avoid scuffs and scratches. Clean with gentle soap and lukewarm water, scrubbing behind the gem with a very soft toothbrush as necessary. After cleaning, pat dry with a soft towel or chamois cloth.

Map Location

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