Iolite can go in water, though we don’t recommend that you soak or submerge any precious stone or crystal in water for extended periods of time.
In the article that follows, you’ll learn more about iolite, and why it is that iolite is reasonably water safe.
Can Iolite Go In Water? (EXPLAINED)
What is Iolite?
Iolite and cordierite describe the same stone, a violet-blue silicate of aluminum, iron, and magnesium.
Its transparent gems provide pleochroic stones, meaning they show more than one color depending on how you turn the gem.
While this trait makes it a nifty stone, it also produces cutting challenges for the jewelers.
Iolite provides a blue-violet colored affordable gem choice.
Its typical colors include yellow-brown, light violet, and dark violet, depending on which way you turn the stone.
It can also develop with blue tones that range from dark violet to blue-gray to yellow to colorless, depending on how you turn the gemstone.
Jewelers typically cut iolites as faceted gems and cabochons.
Physical Properties of Gemstones
Gems differ in hardness.
Jewelers use the Mohs scale to describe the hardness of a stone.
You should not place stones with a hardness of five or less in water.
Diamonds top the list for hardness, ranking 10 on the Mohs scale.
Talc ranks one on the scale because of it’s powdery nature.
You could pick up a chunk of the mineral talc and crush it easily.
It is the same talc they process for use as baby powder.
Iolite falls between 7 and 7.5 on the Mohs scale.
This means you can immerse it in water since its hardness protects it.
According to GIA, iolite does not typically get treated with any additives, so you don’t have to worry about dyes or coatings that could wash off.
However, just keep in mind that soaking stones in water can encourage breakage over time, even if soaks now and then don’t cause any damage.
In general it is not recommend that you soak anything precious to you on a regular basis.
Properly Cleaning Iolite
Just because you can immerse it in water doesn’t mean you should subject it to unnecessary roughness.
Excessive heat or temperature changes can damage the stone.
That means you should never use boiling water.
Lukewarm water provides enough heat for cleaning.
Also, skip trying to steam clean it because this also can damage the stone.
Although you might think that an ultrasonic device would provide a safe method, it doesn’t.
Whether your iolite stone weighs half a carat or 10 carats, use only warm water and mild soap, like common dish washing detergent, to clean it.
Use a lint free cloth or a small gemstone brush with fine or soft bristles.
You just want to clean off any debris that became lodged in the setting and clean the stone itself.
Using a small brush lets you slide in inside a ring to clean off the back of the stone in the setting. Dirt and grime often becomes trapped here, as does soap scum.
When you finish your soap and water cleansing, rinse it off under warm running water.
Let it dry naturally on a long-term cloth.
If your iolite isn’t in a piece of jewelry, but instead in a paperweight or bookends, avoid using the lint cloth.
Just use the warm water and soap with a soft brush.
The iolite used in larger pieces of homeware tends toward the raw variety.
This rough, bumpy nature would snag the cloth.
Facts About Iolite
You do need to protect this gem from sharp blows.
It can break, even while in a setting.
For this reason, jewelers avoid using it in rings and focus on integrating it into a sturdy setting for a pendant or earrings.
Iolite costs much less than precious gemstones, but very high quality iolite of the deepest blue color can cost on par with sapphires.
You could pick up light blue iolite for about $130 per carat.
The dark blue of high quality and sapphire will cost about $300 per carat.
If you acquire a raw, uncut gem, you may not get the polished stone you envisioned out of it.
A cloudy stone won’t provide the same clarity and showiness of color as a transparent one would.
A stone must also be large enough to provide the jeweler cutting leverage.
The entire raw stone might not prove usable.
You may have to choose a rough cut instead or have the stone tumbled.
Some raw iolites you cannot cut or mount.
In these cases, you may consider using a large iolite slab in another way, such as in a paperweight design or bookends.
When you store your iolite jewelry, you should protect it from breakage by keeping it in a soft container such as a jewelry box or the ring box in which it came.
When traveling with jewelry made from this stone, provide it extra cushioning.
A heavy suitcase piled atop your suitcase could break it, as could a hard jostle or knock.
It is best if you do not check luggage with iolite jewelry inside it.
Also, don’t leave it out in direct sunlight.
It will respond to the heat by breaking.
While this gem doesn’t usually appear in everyday rings, it has started gaining traction as a stone to pair with diamonds in engagement rings.
Its pleochroic nature combined with the sparkle of diamonds creates a breathtaking show of light and color on an individual’s hands.
This is especially true when the stone does appear in rings, because we naturally gesture with our hands, which shows the stone in all its glory without trying too hard.
You will have competition for the gems since they’re also used frequently in electronics.