If you've been watching our emails or social media at all this week, you've probably gathered that we've added Iolite to our 8" Strand Collection. This one took forever to source and get cut just right. I took the liberty of grabbing a strand of the 8mm Faceted Rondelles, 6mm Ruby Apatite, and some Rose Gold-Plated Hematite to whip up a quick little something.

One of the things that I love about the strands are the variations in color from blue-gray to dusky violet to indigo. I didn't want that to get lost, so I did a quick sort. I ended up with 7 color sets. (Arguably, it could have been narrowed to three or four, but where's the fun in that?) Since the focus of the piece is the Iolite, that went in the middle. Then the real fun began. I took the Ruby Apatite and pulled the pinkiest, purplest, bluest beads I could find and used them up the sides. You may notice that I did play with the color there, too.

One of my all-time favorite design hacks is selectively using stones or sorting them by color to create a more streamlined design. If your designer's eye isn't seeing possibilities in stones like Black-Gold Amazonite, Fancy, Red Creek, or Polychrome Jasper, take a strand and do a quick color sort. Even just putting them into a "warm" and "cool" pile will help you see them differently.

This necklace was a quick project and super fun. When working with a time limit, it's always helpful to have the beauty of the stone do the heavy lifting for me.

A few fun details about Iolite:
• Thin slices were used as the first polarizing filter. As in, use it to look at the sun so you can determine its exact position and navigate. The Vikings literally used this stuff to navigate at sea.

• May also be referred to as Water Sapphire or Dichroite. But no, it's *not* a Sapphire variety.

• Iolite is said to enhance the growth of hair and nails. I feel like this is the kind of thing that requires ingestion, so if any of you care to try it (at your own risk) on your own, please let us know. I'm guessing most readers of this blog put the beauty of their nails on the line every day.

• If you're into chakras, you probably already know that it's primarily associated with the Third Eye chakra.

• On the energy front, it's associated with promoting a calm, clear mind, and it's one of the stones said to enhance meditation.

- Erin, Dakota Stones

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