Legend has it that ancient Vikings used thin slices of iolite to navigate on cloudy days using the sun's light. Today iolite is usually cut with facets but can also be cut into cabochon form.
Iolite comes from the greek word "ios" meaning "violet", an appropriate name given its color. Iolite's inability to be treated has kept it from going mainstream on the global jewelry market. However, iolite has found a following among gem enthusiasts and those who appreciate the natural beauty this unique gem has to offer, especially in its higher qualities.