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Iolite durability for rings


#1

Hi!
I’m new in the jewelry biz and am in the process of producing a line of
rings featuring a particular shade of blue. Sapphires (especially of the
shade known as “Elim” or “Elam”) are the hue I want, but are too
expensive. Iolite was suggested as an alternative. Is there any reason
this is not commonly seen, rather than the very dark Australian sapphires?
Does anyone have any experience with its durability?

Any other ideas (and names of suppliers, if that’s legal here) would be
gratefully accepted.

Many thanks for your input!

Cynthia Bach (the new Cynthia Bach, not the famous one - yet!)


#2

iolite is lovely but very soft. Doesn’t hold up to any kind of regular
wear, probably around a 5 versus a 9 in hardness for the sapphire. Colore
is wonderful


#3

Iolite has a Moh’s hardness of 7, but only 6 on a toughness scale.
Hardness is the ability scratching, while toughness is the wearability of
the gem material.

Normally you would like to saty at 7.5 to 8 and above in hardness and
toughness for gems that are going into rings.

Thank you,
Lance Kanaby

GemData, Mine Design & The Spectrum Network at http://www.gemdata.com
Home
of the original interactive “Gem, Mineral & Jewelry Show Calendar” Colored
Gemstones, Diamonds & Cutting Rough Databases and Information SoLux
Daylight Lighting, email Lance Kanaby: mailto:@Lance_Kanaby


#4

So, are you saying that Iolite should only be used for earrings (which
don’t enccounter the wear that rings do? ) Or Pendants? Thanks for any
info (I have some great Iolite stones that I wanted to make into rings!)


#5

Yikes, Iolite is too soft. I think the only reason its ever used is
because it is so cheap. I have never seen a piece of iolite in a jewelry
that has been worn that was not scratched.

Mark P.
WI. 100,000+ Harley riders in town this week, pretty cool. Harley
Davidsons 95th anniv.


#6

I have to disagree! As a custom jeweler I have used Iolite in my jewelry
both in cabochon and facetted forms and have had wonderful success.
Iolite, in fact, is roughly the same hardness as most garnet, which is
used as an inexpensive alternative to ruby. With a hardness of 7, if the
mounting is designed properly to adequately protect the stone, iolite
would be an excellent alternative to the more expensive blue sapphire.

Jeff Howden
Intrica Fine Jewelry
@intrica


#7

Iolite has a Moh’s hardness of 7, but only 6 on a toughness scale.
Hardness is the ability scratching, while toughness is the wearability
of the gem material.

Normally you would like to saty at 7.5 to 8 and above in hardness and
toughness for gems that are going into rings.

In an ideal world, with unlimited financial resources, sure! Diamonds and
sapphires in any color for anyone. But even then, we’d have to give up
opal rings! Use of a protective setting and common sense work for opal…
can’t see why it doesn’t work for iolite and other materials too.
Just my opinion,
Carol


| Carol J. Bova @Carol_J_Bova |
| http://www.bovagems.com/ |
| The Eclectic Lapidary e-zine |
| http://www.bovagems.com/eclectic/ |
’’


#8

iolite is lovely but very soft probably around a 5 versus a 9 in
hardness for the sapphire. Colore is wonderful

I disagree with what Margrett wrote …except for the fact the color is
wonderful! The hardness in about 7 to 7-1/2, same as quartz, or
andalusite. Zoisite (incl. tanzanite) is 6 to 7, beryls like aquamarine
are a 7-1/2 to 8, so iolite should do just fine with reasonable care, such
as avoiding abrupt changes in heat, and not using the ultrasonic or
steamer on it. In iolite’s favor also, is that there are no known
enhancements… what you see is natural!

Perhaps Margrett was thinking of apatite which is a 5?

Carol

| Carol J. Bova @Carol_J_Bova |
| http://www.bovagems.com/ Faceted Emeralds, |
| Tourmalines, Aquamarines & Iolites! |
| P.O.Box 5388 Glendale, CA 91221-5388 USA |
’’


#9

Hi Mark,

You’re right…but it sure is pretty and you can use it in earrings or a
pendant which don’t get the abuse…

Happy Trading all,

:slight_smile: Charles


#10

iolite is lovely but very soft. Doesn’t hold up to any kind of regular
wear, probably around a 5 versus a 9 in hardness for the sapphire.
Colore is wonderful

Iolite is actually a 7- 7.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness. Not as durable
as a sapphire, but I have use iolite in rings and not had any problems
with them chipping, breaking, ect. I usually use a casted bezel (gypsy?)
setting, so the stone is pretty well protected. Not sure how they would
hold up with a prong setting. And yes, the color is beautiful.

Jill
@jandr
Jill Alessandra Jewelry
http://members.tripod.com/~jilk


#11

So, are you saying that Iolite should only be used for earrings
(which don’t enccounter the wear that rings do? ) Or Pendants? Thanks
for any info (I have some great Iolite stones that I wanted to make into
rings!)

Iolite would also be great for pendants too. I would not suggest their use
in rings because they will not hold up to daily wear. Do want to go to all
the time and effort to make a beautiful ring, sell it to a customer and
then have them come back at a later time with a damaged stone? I don’t
think so. Let your customers know of its durabilty and they will thank you
in the long run. You may lose a sale, but that is better than having a
customer bad mouthing you all over town.

Thank you,
Lance Kanaby

GemData, Mine Design & The Spectrum Network at http://www.gemdata.com
Home
of the original interactive “Gem, Mineral & Jewelry Show Calendar” Colored
Gemstones, Diamonds & Cutting Rough Databases and Information SoLux
Daylight Lighting, email Lance Kanaby: mailto:@Lance_Kanaby


#12

As a stone dealer I have the advantage of hearing feedback from
jewelrs/customers on various stones. My customers seem split over this
iolite matter. The ones that use iolite in rings seem to be satisfied with its
durability ( as long as its properly set.) Iolite has a hardness of 7 - 71/2 . For
reference Amethyst has a hardness of 7, Rhodolite has a hardness of 7-
71/2 and Beryl has a hardness of 7 1/2 - 8. These are all stones that are
commonly used in rings. My feeling is that Iolite has ( for whatever
reason) been given a bad rap, and many jewelers disgriminate against it.


#13

Group,

The “toughness” number, as I understand it, is a measure of brittleness.
This is a relative number. As you all know, by far the most common solid
mineral on earth is quartz with a hardness of 7. Therefore, all dust and
dirt contains matter of a hardness of 7 and will scratch softer material.
Cleaning eye glasses with a dirty cloth slowly etches it with quartz dust
as does cleaning softer There is a big difference between the
ability to scratch something (hardness) and the ability to break something
(brittleness or toughness).

I thought that the following table was going to be put up before this
earlier. I know that most of you have seen this list but some have not.
Please note the real authors listed below. I omitted the more unusual and
very brittle and/or soft stones.

Several surprising things can me shown from this table. If you accept this
table as correct, then garnets, zircons, typical emeralds, and topaz are
less suitable than iolite for rings.

TOUGHNESS AND HARDNESS FOR SOME GEM MATERIALS
(From Table 15 in “Faceting for Amateurs” by Vargas - Attributed to
Charles Parsons) Gem Material Toughness Hardness
Carbonado 10
10 Massonite* 10 9.25 Jadeite 8 6.5
Chrysoberyl 8 8.5 Corundum 8 9 Agate 7.5
7 Diamond 7.5 10 Quartz 7 7
Beryl 6.5 7.5 Tourmaline 6.5 7.5 Spinal
6.5 8 Peridot 6 6.5 Iolite 6
7 Garnet 5 to 6 7.5 Zircon 5.5
7.5 Emerald** 5.5 7.5 Topaz 5 8
Obsidian 5 5 Orthoclase 5 6 Andalusite
4.5 7.5 Opal 4 6

*Added from their advertisement
**For included emerald.

TOM (OWL1)
OWL Services
http://owlnest.ptd.net/gems.htm


#14

Re Iolite: We are using a lot of this right now, in chunk, cab and
faceted. Toughness aside, you may find color variations from lot to lot,
and customers may need education regarding the dichroic aspect…that is,
iolite looks blue from some angles, but a complex kind of brown/blue tone
from other angles. it’s more evident in larger stones. I don’t regard it
as a sub for consistent sapphire flash and color but it is a nice stone on
its own merits.

eve wallace @eve_wallace1


#15

I’ve been told that the problem with iolite, is it’s difficulty in
cutting. Have you ever heard this? connie


#16

customers may need education regarding the dichroic aspect…that is,
iolite looks blue from some angles, but a complex kind of brown/blue
tone from other angles.

FWIW

Iolite is sometimes called ‘water sapphire’. It’s blue color looks a little thinner
than good blue sapphire. Once you’ve seen a good piece of iolite you’ll
never misstake it for any other blue stone.

Dave


#17

I usually use a casted bezel (gypsy?) setting, so the stone is pretty
well protected. Not sure how they would hold up with a prong setting.

Hi! I should have specified, that I bezel set (not cast bezel, but hand
made from bezel wire.) Would that protect the stone some?

Thanks for info!


#18

Hi! I should have specified, that I bezel set (not cast bezel, but hand
made from bezel wire.) Would that protect the stone some?

Well, I am not an expert on stones, but I think that not having any
exposed edges on the stone helps. Also, the iolite I used were cabochons,
and I would think they’d be a little more durable than a faceted stone
that has a thin culet area on it. One of the iolite rings belongs to a
friend and I have seen her wearing it almost daily for well over a year
and not exactly too careful with it. The other rings I have made, well, I
have never heard any complaints. And after all the talk on here about the
toughness and hardness I would still use it again in a ring. It doesn’t
seem any more fragile than, say, a garnet, and is too beautiful a stone to
not use.

Jill
@jandr
Jill Alessandra’s Jewelry Gallery
http://members.tripod.com/~jilk/