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The name "iolite" comes from the Greek "ios", which means violet. Iolite is sometimes known as "water sapphire" because of its light violet blue color, but other iolite gemstones may range from clear to honey yellow.

The ability of iolite to exhibit different colors depending on how it is cut is what led Viking explorers to use it for navigation as a polarizing lens to look directly at the sun.

Color Violet blue to honey yellow to clear
Description Composed of hydrous magnesium and aluminium silicate with a hardness that resembles quartz. Mohs' hardness rating of 7 to 7.5.

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