Zoisite Gemstones: History, Colours and Buying GuideDecember 16, 2023
Imagine stumbling upon a treasure trove, not of gold and silver, but of gemstones with an array of dazzling colors and intriguing names. That's the world of Zoisite, a gemstone family less talked about but no less fascinating than the likes of Quartz or Garnet. In this journey, we're not just looking at stones; we're exploring a rainbow of natural artistry.
From the well-known Tanzanite, with its captivating blues and purples, to the striking Anyolite, also known as “ruby in Zoisite,” each member of this family has its own story and charm. So, let's set off on this adventure to uncover the secret beauty and rich history of Zoisite – a hidden gem in the literal sense, waiting to be admired and appreciated.
Introduction to Zoisite
Zoisite is a mineral or rather a group or family of minerals just like Quartz, Garnet, Beryl, Feldspar, and Chalcedony. Identifying a Zoisite gem could, therefore, be quick tricky because many of its members, just as in other gemstone families, are known by other names, e.g. Thulite, Fuchsite, Calcite, Lepidolite, Anyolite, and the most important and certainly most popular Tanzanite, and not just simply this or that color Zoisite.
Zoisite’s colors are Green, Blue, Gray or Colourless, Purple, Pink, Red and unusual color combinations in the same crystal of Pink & Yellow; Green & Pink; Blue & Green, Blue and Violet (Tanzanite), and even more stunning and attention-attracting Red & Green & Black in the Anyolite AKA “ruby in Zoisite”. This “ruby in Zoisite”, if it were not for the inclusion of the tiny black crystals, might be mistaken for the Tourmaline Watermelon except that the patterns are slightly different and lack that distinct watermelon look of a red center surrounded by green.
|Standard green Zoisite
|Blue varieties of Zoisite
|Gray or Colourless
|Gray or colourless forms of Zoisite
|Purple variants of Zoisite
|Pink hues in Zoisite
|Red versions of Zoisite
|Pink & Yellow
|Combination of Pink and Yellow in Zoisite
|Green & Pink
|Mixture of Green and Pink in Zoisite
|Blue & Green
|Blend of Blue and Green in Zoisite
|Blue & Violet (Tanzanite)
|Blue and Violet combination in Tanzanite
|Red & Green & Black (Anyolite)
|Red, Green, and Black combination in Anyolite
The year was 1805 when Simon Presern, a mineral dealer, discovered Zoisite in Austria’s Saualpe Mountains. Not knowing what it was he sent a sample to Slovenian mineralogist, Baron Sigmund Zois (1747-1819), who recognized it as a previously unknown or obscure mineral known as Saualpite in honor of its place of discovery. It was then renamed Zoisite in honor of Zois and soon it became one of the most important gemstone minerals of all time with the further discovery of a new variety in 1967, namely Tanzanite in honor of its place of discovery.
Other Members in the Zoisite Family
In addition to Tanzanite – the most popular gemstone in the Zoisite Family of Gemstones – and the stunning, attention-grabbing Anyolite, AKA “ruby in Zoisite” gemstone so named because of the addition of corundum as in the ruby, the Zoisite family of gems has other notable and therefore worthy of further examination/identification members. They are as follows in no particular order of importance:
|The most popular gemstone in the Zoisite family, discovered in 1967.
|Anyolite (Ruby in Zoisite)
|Also known as 'ruby in Zoisite', known for its stunning, attention-grabbing appearance with red, green, and black colors.
|A source of lithium, often found with tourmaline and quartz, known for its lavender color.
|A pink opaque variety of Zoisite, known for its limited supply and rarity.
|An extremely common mineral found globally, with a range of colors.
|Known as a mineral of rejuvenation and renewal, characterized by its sparkling emerald green color.
|Hollow rocks with masses of matter like crystals inside, with Anyolite as an example.
|Minerals that glow under UV light, showing a range of colors.
Lepidolite, often accompanied by tourmaline and quartz crystals in granite or tin veins, is a truly remarkable mineral though not technically a stone at all but an important source of lithium (the lightest metal in the world) whose uses run from lithium batteries to household appliances, ornamental ware, mood-stabilizing drugs to jewelry. First discovered in the 18th century it was named ‘lilaite’ because of its lavender color but later re-named Lepidolite by scientists using the Greek word ‘lepidos’ meaning scale because of its scaly appearance caused by flakes of lithium.
Thulite, sometimes called Rosaline, is a pink opaque variety of Zoisite but what sets the Thulite apart from other members in the Zoisite family is its limited supply and being rarely seen most people know nothing about it. But now, you are somewhat familiar with it and perhaps could even identify it. LL Private Jewellers could undoubtedly aid you in that pursuit.
Calcite is an extremely common mineral found everywhere in the world whose colors range from no color at all (colorless) to gray, white, blue, green, yellow, and orange. Calcite is also believed to possess healing properties.
Fuchsite is another member of the Zoisite family AKA “a mineral of rejuvenation and renewal”, the “Stone of Health”, the “Wish Stone”, and the “Fairy Stone” because its sparkling emerald green color with flecks of gold running through it is similar to the color of fairy dust. Myth has it too that the Fuchsite will bring Happiness, Miracles and Blessings to the wearer. It was named for Johann Fuchs, a German mineralogist, and is the recognized astrological gem in the Zodiac calendar for Aquarius and Libra.
Geodes are also found in the Zoisite family. What are Geodes? Well, Geodes are hollow rocks in which masses of matter, e.g. crystals, are secluded. The best example in the Zoisite family is the Anyolite or “Ruby in Zoisite” that, as I said above, resembles the Tourmaline Watermelon gemstone.
And lastly but by no means least in the Zoisite family, there are the Fluorescent Minerals or “Rocks that Glow.” But only in Ultra-Violet light can you see the range of colors, and have an amazing eye candy experience because the colors are invisible in ordinary light, giving you another good reason to visit LL Private Jewellers so you can see this phenomenon for yourself.
The history of the Fluorescent Minerals dates back to the 19th century, and since then, it has become known in various disciplines including biology, optics, mineralogy, and gemology. The best example in the Zoisite family is Calcite that shows off red, blue, white, green, and orange in a single sample. And if a different UV light is used, the Calcite will produce different colors.
See our Coloured Gemstone Jewelry
The Importance of Zoisite in Jewelry Design
Zoisite rich tapestry of colors has made it a jewel of choice in the world of fine jewelry. Designers often turn to this gemstone when they seek a fusion of elegance and uniqueness. Tanzanite deep blues, for example, are a staple in high-end pieces, exuding a royal charm. On the other hand, the bold contrasts in Anyolite pieces make for striking, attention-grabbing jewelry. This versatility not only broadens the creative horizon for designers but also offers jewelry aficionados a range of choices from subtle elegance to bold statements.
Zoisite in Cultural and Historical Context
Each Zoisite gem tells a story, steeped in cultural and historical significance. Tanzanite, for instance, is not just a stone but a narrative of geographical wonder, exclusive to the lands of Tanzania. Folklore often surrounds these gems, with many cultures attributing them with mystical properties. Delving into these tales, we find that Zoisite is more than just a mineral; it's a piece of cultural heritage, imbued with the lore and legends of the lands it comes from.
Care and Maintenance of Zoisite Jewelry
Like all treasures, Zoisite jewelry demands care and attention. This section is a guide to preserving the vibrant beauty of your Zoisite pieces. Regular, gentle cleaning with mild soap and lukewarm water can keep the stones sparkling. It's also crucial to store Zoisite jewelry separately to avoid scratches from harder gems. Being mindful of exposure to harsh chemicals and extreme temperatures can prevent damage, ensuring that your Zoisite jewelry remains a timeless adornment.
Geographic Source and Viewing Opportunities
The main source for these amazing Zoisite gems is Brazil. For further information or to see the colorful Zoisite family of gems up close and personal, you really should contact LL Private Jewellers. There, guaranteed, you won’t be disappointed. You might even be inspired to design your very own unique jewelry piece using these visually stunning Zoisite gemstones.