Gems: Hackmanite - Rhodochrosite

13.32 ct. Orissa Iolite

13.32 ct. Orissa Iolite

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  • Color:  Medium Dark Violet
  • Clarity:  Eye Clean
  • Origin:  Orissa, India
  • Cut:  Oval Brilliant
  • Treatments:  None
  • Measurements:  19.7 x 14.1 mm

Iolite is hugely underappreciated, but a large part of this is due to the low quality material and commercial grade cutting that is so common in the market.  For those of you who haven't really considered Iolite, let's point out a few of the reasons why this stone is so great - starting with the color.  Iolite rough tends to be quite thin, a fact which limits the size of the finished stones, but also, very crucially, the orientation of the stone.  Because of its almost unbelievable pleochroism, you have cut an Iolite at just the correct orientation to the crystal axis in order to get the finest color.  And that color can truly be great - a rich and saturated Violet, one of the few stones that naturally comes in this particular hue.  As should be the case, you actually have to tilt the stone off-axis here to see the famed pleochroism.

Secondly, the cutting deserves mention as so many of the Iolites in the market suffer from substandard cutting.  Again it is that thin rough that tempts cutters to make stones shallow in order to maximize size.  Iolite doesn't have a high refractive index, so it simply cannot tolerate shallow cutting without windowing out - consequently a brilliant Iolite is actually quite a rare thing.  Oh, and let us not forget the weight - at over 13 carats it is absolutely huge for this quality.  All in all, a great stone and of a quality that we constantly look for but rarely find.

$85 / carat - $1132 total