8.84 ct. Iolite
It is always a treat to offer an essentially perfect example of a gem species. 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. Nearly every Iolite that you see will have face-up visible pleochroism, which means that the gray directional color will be visible. Not the case here - you actually have to view the stone from a strong angle to see this almost startling effect - take a look at the photo below and you can see the gray starting to appear out the pavilion facets.
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. And finally, the size
here is magnificent. One or two carat stones of top quality are difficult
enough to source and anything above 5 is nearly impossible. An absolutely
top stone and a reason to appreciate the entire species.
$125 / carat - $1105 total