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Iolite?

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mercoledi

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I''m interested in learning more about iolite.


It seems not to be a favorite here and the section on the ACS gemology course, while informative, is brief. So what''s the deal? Is it hard to find really nice pieces? Is the trichroatiscism (sp?) why it''s so often cut into trillions? When I first became interested in gemstones, it was on my list of things to acquire but I sort of forgot about it until recently when I grabbed this on an impulse.

So what do you know? Do you like or dislike it and why?
 

Kismet

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It can look very attractive, but in general it does have a strong grey mask. It also tends to be fairly dark. I haven''t looked for it myself, but I don''t think it''s especially easy to get a nice looking specimen.
 

ma re

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Like with all gemstones, finding a really nice specimen takes time. It''s not very expensive so it''s usually fashioned in native cuts, which rarely do it justice. But they can be very beautiful, nicer than most blue spinels or tourmalines, and even some sapphires of the same price. There was a very nice example on multicolour.com, weighed around 10 cts, but the price was around a thousand dollars - it sold. The only drawback I can think of are three cleavage planes, but if well protected and carefully worn (preferably in pendants, brooches or earrings), there should be no problems.
 

LD

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I agree with Kismet and mr ma re - a good example, without a grey mask, is hard to find. Not impossible but does take time! I have a pair of iolite earrings and they look exactly like Tanzanite.

Years ago, sailors used Iolite to navigate. They used thin pieces of Iolite as a polarising lens so they could look into the sky to determine the exact position of the sun and thereby get an accurate measurement of where they were!

Good luck in your search.
 

T L

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The problem with iolite is that in it''s rough form it has grey down one axis and blue/purple down another. It is the job of a skilled lapidary to get the table of the stone to show as much of that blue/purple color as possible without the grey. I have a rather large iolite in a ring. I would guestimate it''s around 7 carats, but I''m not sure (I bought it a very very long time ago). It''s very dark, and I''m not thrilled with the color. I have a lighter one as well, and it''s more attractive, but again, it has a grey mask.
 

Pandora II

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I have a few that I bought years and years ago. They''re not great.

It''s not a stone that has ever particularly attracted me. Good pieces are hard to find and I''d spend the money on a nice garnet before I''d spend it on an iolite.
 

innerkitten

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I agree with the above. Spinel does a great purple blue too ( but of course you already knew that )!
 

marcy

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Well cut and good color iolite is hard to find but when you find it they are very pretty stones looking very close to tanzanite. I''ve had some iolite gemstones and jewelry before but sold them as I found I like sapphire, spinel and garnets better.
 

icekid

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Date: 3/30/2009 6:06:48 PM
Author: innerkitten
I agree with the above. Spinel does a great purple blue too ( but of course you already knew that )!
This is what I figure, too. Plus spinel is much harder than iolite, which is a big plus!
 

chrono

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I have yet to see a pretty iolite. So many are either inky or gray. Not only that, I believe they have perfect cleavage planes, so a nice knock the right way and it''s all over!
 

mercoledi

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Thank you all for your replies and opinions! So like spinels, it''s the grey secondary that''s a problem.
I''ve looked for them on ebay on and off and never managed to pull the trigger because they look so muddy. Is there a color that''s more highly valued, blue or purple?

The iolite I ordered arrived yesterday. I have to say, this stone is the most difficult one that I''ve tried to photograph so far. To my eye it''s a nice medium purple color, not too dark (probably because it''s very shallow) with some bluish flash. To my camera, it''s dull, lifeless and blue, not purple.
 

T L

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A good blue spinel that is colored primarily by the chemical cobalt vs the chemical iron will be more highly prized since it will be more of a pristine blue without the grey. Iron tends to give blue spinels a grey mask. Fine quality cobalt blue spinels are rare and very pricey (thousands of dollars).
 

mercoledi

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Date: 3/31/2009 11:18:33 AM
Author: tourmaline_lover
A good blue spinel that is colored primarily by the chemical cobalt vs the chemical iron will be more highly prized since it will be more of a pristine blue without the grey. Iron tends to give blue spinels a grey mask. Fine quality cobalt blue spinels are rare and very pricey (thousands of dollars).
Hi TL, that''s interesting, cobalt in blue makes sense.

Do you know if there''s a preferred color/tone for iolite?
 

Pandora II

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Date: 3/31/2009 11:29:34 AM
Author: mercoledi

Date: 3/31/2009 11:18:33 AM
Author: tourmaline_lover
A good blue spinel that is colored primarily by the chemical cobalt vs the chemical iron will be more highly prized since it will be more of a pristine blue without the grey. Iron tends to give blue spinels a grey mask. Fine quality cobalt blue spinels are rare and very pricey (thousands of dollars).
Hi TL, that''s interesting, cobalt in blue makes sense.

Do you know if there''s a preferred color/tone for iolite?
Yes, it should look like fine tanzanite.

Here are a couple of nice ones from Palagems:
 

mercoledi

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Thanks Pandora! I''ll have to keep my eyes out for a gem quality one one of these days.

The one I got is not a rich glowy color, (nor did I expect it to be for the price) but it''s very pretty and I don''t see a lot of grey (which I do see some of in my spinels). Sadly my camera is convinced that the darn thing is blue, not grapey purple.
 

Pandora II

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I had a look at the picture of yours, and it''s pretty much what I would expect for a decent iolite, cut looks nice as well.

Ones like the pair I posted above are rarities and not the norm.
 

mercoledi

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It is nicely cut, and spready. It windows a little, in a neat trefoil design. Rick's picture is really very accurate. Sadly mine are not
.

Here's the stone on my sweater. It's really a bit purpler/ richer than the color of my sleeve yet only photographs blue!


IO 1a.jpg
 
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