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Ruby zoisite is not only one of the most beautiful and unique variations of the zoisite mineral, but it’s also one of the most beautiful minerals overall.
This gorgeous gemstone is a great marriage between ruby and zoisite minerals, and it’s widely used in all manners of artisan jewelry and ornamentation.
What makes it so special and what else should you know about it? Let’s take a look.
What Is Ruby Zoisite?
Ruby zoisite is a type of zoisite with a very special inclusion – ruby crystals. Zoisite itself is a calcium aluminum hydroxy sorosilicate mineral that forms in sedimentary, ingenious and metamorphic rocks. Zoisite can vary a lot in its color and can be green, blue, yellow, brown, grey or even colorless. The zoisite in ruby zoisite, however, is typically green.
The combination of the zoisite mineral and ruby crystals is also called anyolite, as well as ruby-in-zoisite or Tanganyika artstone. The word anyolite comes from Masai word for green: anyoli.
The first official discovery of ruby zoisite was at the Longido mines on northeast Tanzania where tanzanite, another type of zoisite is frequently mined. Ruby zoisite was discovered by Tom Blevins, an English prospector, in 1954. It’s only ever been found in this single mine.
How to Choose Ruby Zoisite
In terms of its color, ruby zoisite includes two or three colors:
- Green, due to the zoisite
- Red or pink, due to the ruby crystals
- Sometimes black, due to the potential presence of hornblende, a type of dark mineral
The black isn’t always present, however, and is generally undesirable unless it makes for a unique and interesting pattern on the stone.
Generally, speaking, the ratio between green and red can vary greatly based on the number of ruby crystals in it – sometimes it can be mostly green with a few red or pink spots and at other times it can be mostly red and pink with some green areas. The latter case is rarer, however, as the green tends to be more prevalent.
As for its other characteristics, ruby zoisite tends to be opaque because of its inclusions and can have a rather virtuous luster when polished.
The gemstone has a hardness of 6.5 to 7 on the Mohs scale which is similar to other zoisite gemstones despite the presence of ruby crystals, which have a hardness of 9 on the Mohs scale.
Because of its opaque nature, ruby zoisite is rarely used in high-end jewelry but is often used in artisan jewelry and ornamentation pieces.
Unlike tanzanite which is also a variety of zoisite exclusively mined in Tanzania, ruby zoisite is available in rather large quantities which makes it inexpensive and available to many amateur and hobbyist jewelry creators.
Ruby Zoisite Vs. Zoisite – What’s the Difference?
As you can see, ruby zoisite is essentially a type of green zoisite with inclusions. What makes it special is that said inclusions are from a very special source: ruby crystals.
The main difference between ruby zoisite and most other zoisite types is its unique color pattern – most other zoisite minerals tend to have rather homogenous color patterns.
Another difference is the fact that ruby zoisite is opaque while most other zoisite gemstones range from translucent to transparent. This makes ruby zoisite more suitable for ornamentation or artisan jewelry while other zoisite pieces like tanzanite, for example, are highly sought after for high-end rings and jewelry.
Lastly, another important difference between ruby zoisite and many other zoisite stones (like tanzanite) is how common it is. It’s mined in quite large quantities which makes it both more common and more inexpensive than tanzanite and some other zoisite variations.
How To Evaluate Zoisite Quality
When cutters look for and cut ruby zoisite they typically look for a higher amount of ruby crystal inclusions in the zoisite base as this gives the gemstone more red and pink colors which elevates its value and beauty.
However, smart cutters know that it’s not the quantity of the ruby crystals that make the ruby zoisite so interesting, it’s the unique patterns that they form with the earthy green zoisite base. That’s why, while zoisite with more ruby crystals is often valued higher, the actual quality of each piece is more or less subjective and is based on how appealing the color patterns are.
Other considerations include the lack of additional inclusions in the stone – as we mentioned, the presence of hornblende’s black inclusions is usually undesirable. Look for stones with vivid coloring and that have a smooth, shiny, and virtuous luster.
Ruby zoisite is typically cut into beads and cabochons as is the case for most opaque gemstones. However, when faceted, it gains extra depth and texture, which adds to the beauty of the stone.
Aside from this, ruby zoisite is an excellent material for small figurines, statuettes, and other ornamentation pieces as it’s relatively easy to cut, compared to some other gemstones.
Ruby Zoisite Imitations and Enhancements
Ruby zoisite isn’t enhanced by any treatments so you don’t need to worry about whether your ruby zoisite piece is “real”. The only other mineral with which ruby zoisite can be mistaken is chloromelanite which is a jade-albite or a maw-sit-sit from Burma. However, maw-sit-sit is a different shade of green and instead of red or pink inclusions, it has dark green and black veining inclusions. Neither maw-sit-sit nor ruby zoisite is significantly more expensive than the other so don’t worry about getting scammed.
Ruby Zoisite Jewelry And Uses
Ruby zoisite jewelry is typically artisan in nature and is perfect for a casual, boho style. Silver is commonly used with this gemstone, but gold-hued metals add an extra touch of old-fashioned charm to the jewelry.
As the gemstone isn’t very hard, it’s usually placed in bezel or halo settings, as this acts like a buffer and keeps the edges of the gemstone safe from damage. The gemstone also pairs well with other materials, like these ruby zoisite and pearl earrings.
As far as ornamentation is concerned, ruby zoisite can be used for almost anything the cutter can imagine – statuettes, small figurines, and all manners of even practical pieces such as bookends or small decorative bowls.
Ruby zoisite rough is also often sold separately as an ornamentation piece, especially for those who value the metaphysical properties of gemstones and crystals.
The best part of all of this is that ruby zoisite is often available in very large pieces and even then is still sold at affordable prices.
How To Care For Ruby Zoisite
Like other zoisite types, ruby zoisite has a hardness of only 6.5 – 7 on the Mohs scale, despite the presence of the otherwise hard ruby crystals.
This is important because it means that you’ll have to be very careful not to scratch or harm your ruby zoisite pieces.
The main advice here is to never store them together with other jewelry types as most metals and harder gemstones will easily scratch the surface of the soft ruby zoisite. Take off ruby zoisite jewelry, especially rings and bracelets, when engaging in vigorous activities like sports, gardening or cleaning.
When you have to clean your ruby zoisite piece it’s important to be careful as well – only use mild soaps with warm water and a soft cloth. Stronger detergents can damage the surface of the gemstone overtime and are usually not great for the silver too. Avoid ultrasonic cleaners as the intense vibrations can cause cracks and crazing in the gemstone.
Ruby Zoisite Meaning And Symbolism
Like standard green zoisite, ruby zoisite is highly valued by many people. Ruby zoisite is believed to enhance the connection between the mind and the heart, likely because of its dual color scheme.
The stone is said to have a very strong spiritual nature and to be able to help people learn more about themselves and expand their consciousness.
It’s also believed to bring happiness, abundance and prosperity to the wearer and helps to dispel negativity, grief and unhappiness.
*Disclaimer: Jewelry Shopping Guide does not guarantee or validate any of the claims related to the metaphysical and alternative healing powers of this or any other gemstone. This information should in no way be used as a substitute for medical advice.
Where to Find Ruby Zoisite Jewelry
Ruby zoisite isn’t a mainstream gemstone, so finding jewelry made of this unique gemstone at your local store might prove difficult. Instead, taking your search online will give you a range of options and prices to choose from.
Ready to browse? Check out Etsy’s amazing range of zoisite jewelry here.