Iolite is sometimes called “water sapphire,” but that’s a little misleading, since it isn’t really a type of sapphire at all. It’s actually the gemstone variety of cordierite.
Lore: Iolite is known as the “viking’s compass,” because it can be used to determine the position of the sun on a cloudy day. It has an optical property called pleochroism, meaning the stone takes on a completely different color depending the direction of whatever light is illuminating it. Even on a cloudy day, light always comes from the actual direction of the sun. So the sailor could find the sun’s position by positioning the stone at various angles until the right color appeared, and by knowing where the sun was, he could figure out his own position and direction. On a viking ship, the crystal would be set within a marked frame to help the navigator interpret this information.
Metaphysical properties: Use at the 5th Chakra (Throat Chakra) or 6th Chakra (3rd Eye/Brow Chakra) to aid in direction and guidance (physical and spiritual), to instill hope, to promote feelings of peace, calming, and tranquility, to aid in communication with one’s inner-self, as a companion stone for journeying activities, and to heal the body, mind, and spirit.
One way to use this stone: If you have an important choice to make, you can use iolite for divination. Write each of your options on a piece of paper, then hold the iolite crystal over each one in turn. The intensity of the crystal’s color can give you guidance in making a choice.