Diny’s Jewelers


Tales of Iolite – The Viking Gemstone


Iolite’s name is from the Greek word ios, meaning violet. This name comes from the color most apparent when looking at it. Iolite displays a pleochroic phenomenon. Meaning that when you turn the gemstone in your hand you will see three distinct colors depending on the way that they light is filtering through it.

If you click on the link below you will be able to view how iolite’s color changing looks. It’s really cool! I promise.

Watch Iolite’s Pleochroism in action!!

According to legends that pleochroic affect, as you were able to see in the link above, was taken advantage of by the Vikings. They would use slices to locate the sun on cloudy days. Though we have yet to meet a Viking who we can ask to confirm the truth in that story. If you know one please do ask him or her for us! 😉

Iolite’s Colors and Cut
iolite viking gemstone

Rough Iolite, unpolished

The colors that is most commonly on display are a blue to violet hue that they are most famous for. And a pale yellow

color in another direction. So this display of color is why they are most commonly cut as faceted gems. Though they are also frequently cut as cabochons. Which sometimes do achieve the cats eye affect.


A unique feature of iolite is that there is no treatment done to them for the enhancement of their color.

iolite viking gemstone



Because nothing has been found that enhances them. They are just that naturally beautiful.There has been no need to do anything more than polish them into a beautiful shape.  Iolite is mostly found to be transparent with relatively few inclusions.


Commonly be found in the gem gravels of Sri Lanka. It occurs in several areas of Africa, including Kenya and central Tanzania. Other source countries include India, Brazil, and Norway.

Special Occasions

This is the gemstone for the twenty-first wedding anniversary.


You can come into Diny’s Jewelers and view some stunning Iolite in person. Or add some to your collection of beautiful gemstones and jewelry.


Source: GIA, images and information

Categories:   Jewelry News


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