Iolite vs Amethyst: What Are They, And What’s The Difference?

If you’re a rock collector or jewelry maker, you may have heard of iolite and amethyst and want to know more about these two wonderful minerals.

Even if you don’t know anything about them, and want to know what they are, we have assembled all the important facts and information for you.

Let’s take a look at iolite and amethyst, and see what we can find here below:

Iolite vs Amethyst (Compared)

The Mineral Iolite

Iolite is a mineral and is a member of the Cordierite family of minerals.

It is often blue and gray and sometimes colorless, and is rich in iron.

It has a transparent appearance with coloring and a vitreous luster and is exceptionally durable and will not break easily.

Its appearance will show different hues of its coloring when inspected from different angles.

Iolite is widely known as the “Vikings compass”, as ancient Viking mariners used to use it to locate the sun in the sky on cloudy days.

The seaman would look through pieces of iolite which would, because of the properties of iolite, allow the sun to be seen through the clouds through the stone.

The Mineral Amethyst

Amethyst is a mineral and a crystal and a member of the Quartz family.

Amethysts are formed in geodes when cavities in volcanic rock are present.

Most of the time they are a deep purple color, but sometimes they are light purple, almost lilac.

They also sometimes have a reddish purple tinge, and most amethyst contain some red hue within it to some degree.

Amethyst is sometimes violet as well, but most of the time purple.

Amethyst gets its color because it has gamma irradiation present in its formation, as well as traces of iron.

The irradiation in its formation causes chemicals to react with each other, creating the purple coloring that is quite bright and distinct.

Similarities Between Iolite and Amethyst

Iolite and amethyst are both minerals, and they both have approximately the same hardness, and are vaguely similar in color to a degree.

They are both used for jewelry and other purposes, but there are more differences than there are similarities between them.

Differences Between Iolite and Amethyst

Iolite is formed completely differently than amethyst, and it contains no gamma irradiation during its formation.

There are sometimes inclusions in iolite that cause differences in color, some of which are black and usually appear around the edges of a specimen.

Iolite is typically blue in color rather than the purple amethyst.

Amethyst is usually in crystal form, unlike iolite.

The crystals that form amethyst are usually found within a geode or round rock that is formed by volcanoes.

You would have to crack open a geode to find the amethyst within it, unlike iolite.

As far as metaphysical properties, the two stones are somewhat different from each other as well, and used for different spiritual purposes.

Iolite and amethyst also belong to different mineral families as well, and are not very similar in many regards.

Sometimes people confuse iolite and amethyst because of their big similarities in color, and the way the gems are cut for jewelry.

If you want to easily be able to tell the difference between iolite and amethyst, a rule of thumb is to remember that iolite is never purple like amethyst and is always blue.

How to identify Iolite and Amethyst

Most of the time, in an uncut iolite mineral specimen, the stone will appear to be round or oval and be of a cool blue color.

Sometimes there are inclusions that are black within the stone, but the cool blue color will remain the same in every stone. Iolite is also not a crystal, unlike amethyst.

Amethyst is always found in a crystal form in its uncut natural state.

The crystals that form amethyst are often found within those round rocks called geodes and there are usually many crystals to be found together.

In individual stones, you will always be able to tell amethyst by its deep purple color.

Where to Find Iolite and Amethyst

Iolite is a hard mineral and, because of this, it is usually found in alluvial deposits.

There are several main locations where you can easily find iolite, and these include several areas of Africa, including central Tanzania and Kenya.

Iolite specimens can also be found in Brazil, Norway, and in India.

Amethyst is not found all over the world, only in certain locations can it be unearthed.

There is an ideal grade of amethyst known as “Deep Siberian” which has a primary purple hue of about 75 to 80% with some red secondary hues.

The locations where you can locate high-quality amethyst include Sri Lanka, Uruguay, Brazil, Siberia, and some spots within the Far East.

Common Uses for Iolite and Amethyst

Both of these minerals are sought after for a variety of reasons.

Many people fashion all types of jewelry using both of these stones, as their coloring makes them very attractive.

Many materials are used for the creation of such jewelry, including precious metals such as silver and gold, as well as copper and platinum.

Iolite may still be used by some sailors to locate the sun on cloudy days, much like the ancient Viking Mariners.

Some of the jewelry these stones are fashioned into include pendants, earrings, beaded jewelry, and much more.

Rock collectors all over the world like to collect individual specimens of the stones for their enjoyment.

The stones aren’t particularly expensive and you can get some for less than $10.

Also, there are metaphysical believers who enjoy using the crystals to channel energies, promote and foster emotional well-being, and other spiritual purposes.

Other ways that iolite and amethyst are used are for decorations, paperweights, and similar types of purposes.

Both of these minerals are very common and can be found online and offline wherever rocks, minerals, and crystals are sold.

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Iolite vs Amethyst