Only found in small quantities in a handful of locations across the globe, Zoisite is a gorgeous mineral much sought after by collectors. It produces three fabulous gemstones -Anyolite, Tanzanite and Thulite - each with its distinctive beauty, a fascinating discovery history and exceptional healing properties. Utilised to create exquisite jewellery and figurines, Zoisite is also known for being able to transform negative energies into positive ones and bring hope.
What is Zoisite?
Zoisite is part of the Epidote group of minerals, more specifically it is a silicate of calcium and aluminium. It may appear in a variety of colours: white, green, pink, yellow, grey, green, blue-violet or even colourless. Typically, in its transparent variety, Zoisite is fashioned into fabulous, rare gemstones, while translucent to opaque specimens are carved into ornaments.
Characteristics of Zoisite
Zoisite has a vitreous lustre and typically scores 6 - 7 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness. It occurs as elongated prismatic crystals with conchoidal to uneven fracture.
When found in the form of distinct crystals, rather than in massive form, Zoisite has a high refractive index.
Where can Zoisite be found?
Zoisite is usually found in small quantities and therefore it has not been used in significant amounts by industry. Colourful, transparent specimens have been used as gorgeous gemstones. Cut into faceted stones or cabochons, it is considered a ‘collectors’ stone as rarely seen in jewellery.
Zoisite is most commonly found in Tanzania (mainly Tanzanite), Kenya, India, Pakistan and the state of Washington in the USA. In Europe it is found in Switzerland, Austria and Norway (mainly Thulite).
First discovery of Zoisite
Zoisite was first discovered in 1805 in the Saualpe Mountains in Austria by the mineral dealer Simon Prešern. It was then the Slovenian mineralogist Baron Sigmund Zois who recognized it as a previously unknown mineral. The gem was first named ‘Saualpite, after the location it was first found in, and later renamed ‘Zoisite’ in honour of Baron Zois.
A century and a half later, in 1967, a new gorgeous variety of Zoisite was discovered: Tanzanite. It was first found in the northern part of Tanzania, and it is to this day exclusively found there. Notoriously, this discovery very rapidly led to the marketing of one of the most popular gemstones of our times.
Varieties of Zoisite
There are three gemstone members of the Zoisite species: Anyolite, Tanzanite and Thulite.
Anyolite, also known as Ruby Zoisite, was first discovered in 1954 near Longido in Tanzania. It is composed of intergrown green Zoisite, black Tschermakite and opaque red Ruby which create a mesmerising contrast. This variety is mainly produced in Tanzania, where it is mined in appreciable quantities for collectors and gem carvers. Anyolite is usually cut and polished into cabochons, tumbled or carved into ornamental figures, while good quality pieces are collected as rough stone specimen. The name 'anyolite' comes from ‘anyoli’, Masai for "green".
Tanzanite is the most famous and sought after variety of Zoisite. First discovered in 1967, in the Mereani Hills near Mount Kilimanjaro, this is a sensational translucid blue/purple stone, exclusively found in one small area in the northern part of Tanzania. Furthermore, this is a strongly trichromatic gem, which appears alternately blue, violet and burgundy depending on the orientation of the crystal. Its colour is due to the presence of small traces of Vanadium: in its rough state, Tanaznite is usually reddish-brown and requires an artificial high temperature treatment to bring to light the stone’s stunning colours (the heat changes the oxidation state of Vanadium to produce the intense blue pigment).
Thulite is an opaque pink to red variety of Zoisite. It is rich in manganese (which conveys it its distinctive colour) and formed from compact interlocking crystals. Thulite is usually cut into cabochons or sculpted into ornamental objects. This is a rare gem, first discovered in Norway in 1820 and named after the mythical island of Thule. It is nowadays found only in Namibia, Norway, Australia and the US state of North Carolina.
Distinguishing Zoisite from Clinozoisite Zoisite and Clinozoisite are diamorph minerals, which means they share the same chemical composition but have a different crystal structure: the former is the orthorhombic form while the latter is the monoclinic form. Both minerals have similar physical properties. This makes them very difficult to tell apart, unless the specimens are well formed crystals.
Both types of gem form during hydrothermal alteration and regional metamorphism of metamorphic, igneous and sedimentary rocks. In such environments both minerals are found as prismatic crystals and massive form in veins, while they are found as crystals in pegmatites on the margins of igneous bodies.
Healing properties of Zoisite
In crystal healing, Zoisite is much utilised as it offers exceptional support to vitality. It is used to treat problems and diseases of the heart, adrenal glands, spleen, lungs and pancreas. Furthermore, it is known to heal diseases of both male and female reproductive organs, and stimulate fertility.
Zoisite is said to be a powerful support when recovering from severe illness or suffering from acute stress. It is often used in crystal healing to build up the immune system and regenerate the body at a cellular level.
Anyolite in particular is a gemstone which can help physically strengthen the body, it is especially recommended for those who feel weak from an illness or who feel too feeble to do any strenuous activity. The Ruby in this variety of Zoisite is said to help calm a racing heartbeat and in general maintain a body’s equilibrium, particularly during times of acute stress. Furthermore, it can boost the immune system and is highly beneficial in fighting inflammations and bacterial infections.
Tanzanite is an excellent aid for the immune system as it dissolves old patterns of disease while creating new patterns of healing. Furthermore, it helps the mind concentrate, with the aim of articulating and expressing thought, making this an excellent stone for those working on their communication skills.
Thulite can support the treatment of gastric upsets, calcium deficiencies and also of diseases related to the reproductive organs. Furthermore, this wonderful variety of Zoisite can be useful in cases of nervous exhaustion.
Zoisite is principally associated with the Chakra of the Heart, though it is known to also have an influence on the Root and the Sacral Chakras. More specifically, Tanzanite stimulates the Crown and Throat Chakras, helping us communicate with the higher planes and bring information back into the physical realm. Anyolite is used to stimulate the Crown Chakra and become more aware of one’s etheric body and engage the body’s own energy field. This allows to become more deeply connected with one’s spirituality, on a level rarely accomplished without any help.
In mystical lore, Zoisite was considered to be a gem bearing the power to enhance trust in the universe and in the ultimate goodness of life. This gorgeous stone brings with it confidence and hope, and can be used to transform negative energies into positive ones. It also has the capacity to release fears and bring happiness into one’s life.
This stone helps the expression of one’s true self. It may help realise one’s own needs and eliminate destructive actions or ideas. Moreover, it keeps one from being too influenced by others or try to conform to the norms of society. It also helps repressed feelings and emotions surface so that they can be expressed, understood and dealt with.
Furthermore, it brings energy and dispels laziness and lethargy. It helps the mind focus on main objectives without straying, and also to find concentration again after being interrupted, making this an ideal stone to keep at work. Varieties of Zoisite share the same properties, though also bear enhanced qualities according to the type of stone. Tanzanite, for example, helps achieve deep meditative states. This gem changes colour when viewed at different angles, this shifting of colour can raise our consciousness, find a link to the angelic realm and also contact spirit guides.
Thulite has several exceptional healing and regenerative properties as it has powerful links to the life force. It encourages a constructive and positive expression of lust, sensuality and sexuality, stimulating the expression of passion and sexual feelings. Furthermore, it encourages curiosity, stimulates inventiveness in solving problems, promotes showmanship and eloquence and also encourages one to explore ways of combining logic with love.
A gem of peace and happiness, Anyolite has the outstanding ability to increase our love of life, inspiring us to dream, to achieve, to grow and to prosper. Also, it helps make a fuller use of our mind, helping us develop our creative as well as our psychic abilities, enabling us to better communicate within this realm and beyond.
The Ruby in Anyolite is known to enhance psychic abilities and aid the communication of spirit guides. Furthermore, the combination of Ruby and Zoisite is a fabulous support for those seeking to reach a trance state as it helps connect with the energies of others while maintaining one’s individual energy.
The fabulous minerals in Anyolite help open up intuitive abilities which allow us to better understand situations we might find ourselves in. For example, when facing a challenge, this stone will help us sense the difference between incidents which are simply a part of life and those which are due to envious or evil people trying to hold us back or punish us in some way.
Lastly, the Ruby in Anyolite is a great support during grieving processes as it helps release the pain and sorrow and gain spiritual comfort. It helps regain the passion lost to grieving and encourages feelings of compassion for others who may be going through the same process.