Our Stone Encyclopedia page features a variety of stones. Many of them are used in our jewelry. Enjoy browsing and learning about the legendary healing and mystical powers, which apply to stones in your pieces.
No gemstone is more creatively striped by nature than Agate, a chalcedony quartz that forms in concentric layers and comes in a wide variety of colors and textures.
Each individual agate is formed when the cavity in a host rock is filled. As a result, agate is often found as a round nodule, with concentric bands like the rings of a tree trunk. The bands sometimes look like eyes or fanciful scallops, or even a landscape with dendrite trees.
Agate was highly valued as a talisman or amulet in ancient times. It was said to quench thirst and protect from fevers. According to legend, Persian magicians used agate to divert storms.
Amazonite is a stone that varies in color from yellow-green to blue to blue-green. It can also exhibit fine white streaks.Although no deposits have been found there, its name is derived from the Amazon River.
Amazonite’s healing ability includes improving your skin and it releases fear and anxiety while its mystical power many believe makes married life happier.
Millions of people learned from the movie Jurassic Park released in the early 19990’s that amber is fossilized pine tree sap. This caused a great demand – especially amber with insects inside.
Many myths surround the origin of amber. It is said that according to Ovid, the Roman poet renowned for his best-known work, Metamorphoses, a collection of mythological and legendary stories, when Phaeton, a son of Phoebus, the sun, convinced his father to allow him to drive the chariot of the sun across the sky for a day, he drove too close to the earth, setting it on fire. To save the earth, Jupiter struck Phaeton out of the sky with his thunderbolts and he died as he plunged out of the sky. His mother and sister turned into trees. As they grievedtheir tears were dried by the sun and became amber.
The Greeks called amber electron, or sun-made, perhaps because of this story, or perhaps because it becomes electrically charged when rubbed with a cloth and can attract small particles.
The Romans sent armies to conquer and control amber-producing areas. Emperor Nero was a great connoisseur of amber, and the Roman historian Pliny wrote the price of an amber figurine – no matter how small – exceeded the price of a living healthy slave.
The ancient Germans burned amber as incense calling it Bernstein, or “burn stone.” Clear colorless amber was considered the best material for rosary beads in the Middle Ages due to its smooth silky feel. Certain orders of knights controlled the trade and unauthorized possession of raw amber was illegal in most of Europe by the year 1400.
Amethyst, transparent purple quartz, is the most important quartz variety used in jewelry. It ranges in color from pale lilac to deep purple. The pale colors are sometimes called “Rose de France” and can be seen set in Victorian jewelry. The deep colors are the most valuable, particularly a rich purple with rose flashes.
Because purple has long been considered a royal color, it is not surprising that amethyst has been so much in demand during history. Fine amethysts are featured in the British Crown Jewels and were also a favorite of Catherine the Great and Egyptian royalty.
The name Amethyst comes from the Greek word “amethystos” translated as “not drunken” and finds its origin in that culture’s myth. According to legend, Dionysius – the god of intoxication – was angered one day by an insult from a mere mortal and swore revenge on the next mortal that crossed his path. He created fierce tigers to carry out his wish. Along came unsuspecting Amethyst, a beautiful young maiden on her way to pay tribute to the goddess Diana. Diana turned Amethyst into a stature of pure crystalline quartz to protect her from the brutal tigers’ claws. Dionysus wept tears of wine in remorse for his action at the sight of the beautiful statue. The god’s tears stained the quartz purple, creating the gem we know today.
In the Middle Ages, amethyst was very important in the ornamentation of Catholic and other churches as it was thought to encourage celibacy and symbolize piety. It was particularly considered to be the stone of bishops and they still often wear amethyst rings.
Amethyst was also considered to be a strong antidote against drunkenness, which is why wine goblets were often carved from it! The gemstone still symbolizes sobriety.
Aventurine is translucent to opaque and comes in a massive variety of Quartz containing small inclusions of one of several shiny minerals giving the stone a glistening effect (called Aventurescence). The color of the Aventurescence depends on the mineral included in the stone. Mica inclusions give the stone a yellowish or silverish glitter or sheen. Goethite and Hematite inclusions give the stone a reddish or grayish glitter or sheen. Fuchsite inclusions give the stone a greenish sheen.
Aventurine may be green, orange, brown, yellow, or gray. All colors are used in jewelry, but the green type is by far the most desirable. Aventurine is cut and polished into cabochons and beads for jewelry, and is sometimes carved into ornamental figures.
Azurite is a deep blue-black to brilliant “azure” blue crystal that is highly sought after for its rarity.
It is occasionally coated with colorless wax, or rarely impregnated with plastic and/or other hardened agents to improve durability and appearance.
Bloodstone is a green form of Jasper that is dotted with bright red spots of iron oxide. It is also known as “Heliotrope” because in ancient times polished stones were described as reflecting the sun (perhaps the appearance of the gem reminded the ancients of the red setting sun reflected in the ocean). It long served as the birthstone for March.
According to legend Bloodstone was first formed when some drops of Christ’s blood fell and stained some jasper at the foot of the cross. As a result, Medieval Christians often used Bloodstone to carve scenes of the crucifixion and martyrs, leading it to also be dubbed “Martyr’s Stone.”
A beautiful example of carved Bloodstone with the seal of the German Emperor Rudolf II can be seen at the Louvre Museum in Paris.
Today, finely powdered bloodstone is used as a medicine and aphrodisiac in India.
Cabochons can be made of virtually any bone. There are petrified dinosaur bone pieces (fashioned for optimum jewelry usage) and carved bone pieces from animals such as the buffalo.
Carnelian — also spelled Cornelian — is one of the accepted birthstones of August and ranges in color from light brownish-red to deep transparent red. The stone’s red tones increase or decrease in direct proportion to the amount of iron found in each piece.
Carnelian is a moderately hard stone whose malleability makes it ideal for carving, especially in cameos. In fact, it is especially revered by Muslims because it was worn by their prophet, Mohammed, who wore a silver ring set with a Carnelian engraved for use as a seal known as an Intaglio.
Early 20th-century gemologist and historian G.F. Kunz said, “The wearing of Carnelians is recommended for those who have a weak voice or are timid in speech, for a warm-colored stone will give them the courage they lack so that they will speak boldly and well.”
Cat’s Eye is a member of the Chrysoberyl family. It is ahard, translucent gem ranging in color from a honey- yellow or brown to a yellowish green to an almost emerald green. It has a velvety or silk-like texture and when properly cut displays a brilliant whitish line of light right down the center as though it is lit from the inside.
This stone has long been used as a charm to guard against evil spirits. According to legend, the eye could see all and therefore it watched out for its wearer. It was also believed that to dream of Cat’s Eye was a sign of treachery.
Cat’s Eye is not to be confused with another, weaker form of chrysoberyl called Tiger’s Eye.
Charoite is an unusual mineral of rare occurrence. It is only found along the Chary River at Aldan in Russia.
Charoite is a stunning lavender, lilac, violet and/or purple color. It forms a swirling pattern of interlocking crystals and looks like no other mineral so it cannot be mistaken for another stone.
Coralis a semi-translucent-to-opaque material that is formed from a colony of marine invertebrates. It is primarily a skeletal calcium carbonate gem, which comes in red (oxblood coral), white and black.
Fluorite occurs in a variety of colors, including green, blue, purple, magenta, pink, yellow, colorless, or a combination of several colors. It is a relatively soft stone, and can scratch or chip easily.
It is said Fluorite offers the wearer a stabilizing energy that facilitates order, balance, and healing and it is excellent for clarity of mind, objectivity, concentration, and meditation. It also said Fluorite aids in grasping higher, more abstract concepts, and it is discerning as to the truth or reality of a given situation.
Hard science says it strengthens bones and teeth.
Goldstone is nothing more than aventurine spangled densely with fine gold-colored particles.
Hematite is an iron oxide, a metallic, opaque stone found in iron-mining areas. It takes a very brilliant, metallic polish that can almost look like silver, pure black, or gun-metal blue. It is popular for use in carving hollow cameo portraits known as “intaglio.”
In mythology, Hematite is said to bring “alertness, vivacity and success in litigation” to those holding or wearing it, and has been said to ensure sexual impulse.
Howlite, which is named for its discoverer Henry How (a Nova Scotia geologist), is one of those minerals that is more famous for imitating another mineral. In this case the other mineral is Turquoise, a phosphate gemstone.
Although Howlite is always white or gray, it can accept dyes fairly easily and be dyed a turquoise blue. The look of this fake turquoise is so good that dishonest dealers have been unfortunately successful at this hoax. In more honest circumstances, dyed Howlite is an affordable substitute for turquoise beads, carvings, polished stones and cabochons. It accepts a nice polish and its porcelaneous luster is attractive and enhances even undyed beads and carvings. Dealers must state up front to customers when a piece being showed is dyed Howlite.
Although it is a little softer than other stones, it still has a distinct toughness.
Some say it helps eliminate rage, pain and stress.
Jade, the birthstone for March, is the term applied to both jadeite and nephrite. However, distinctions between the two nearly identical-looking gems are not easily made. Jade is the toughest gem known to man; it is proven to be tougher than steel!
The Spanish named the gem “Piedra de Hijada,”or stone of the loins.
It is beloved by the Chinese who treasured its vivid greens, lavenders, pinks, yellows and whites. At one time, they believed it to literally be the very essence of Heaven and Earth itself.
There are more than 50 types of jasper on the market, each one containing the stone’s trademark multi-colored blotch or vein-like patterns.
In ancient cultures Jasper was believed to bring rain and also protect its wearer from the bites of poisonous creatures. People then also believed that due to its many colors and veins Jasper had diverse many magical powers.
Lapis lazuli was one of the first stones ever to be used and worn for jewelry. It is said there was a busy trade in Lapis as early as four thousand years BCat the legendary city of Ur, which is situated on the EuphratesRiver. Alexander the Great introduced Lapis to Europe where it was called “Ultramarine,” meaning “from beyond the seas.”
The evocative name is a compound of “lapis,” the Latin word for stone, and the Arabian word “Azul”, denoting the color blue. One can easily fancy it a gemstone straight out of the fairy tales of the Arabian Nights, having the world’s deepest blue with golden shining Pyrite inclusions that make it twinkle like little stars.
The value of this color for the world of art was enormous. In fact, the ultramarine blue paint used by the Grand Old Masters was nothing else but pulverized Lapis lazuli. Before it became possible in 1834 to manufacture this color artificially, the only kind of valuable ultramarine (blue) in the market had to be made from real Lapis lazuli, which still displays its splendor in many works of art. For example, many portraits of the Virgin Mary would have been impossible to create without Lapis lazuli blue.
Some cultures worshipped Lapis as a holy stone. Oriental cultures in particular considered it a gemstone with magical powers. For many people all over the world it is considered a stone of truth and friendship.
Numerous seals, rings, scarabs and objects were crafted from the blue stone throughout history.
Leopard Skin Jasper is an opaque tan, brown and ochre form of Jasper that gets its name from its leopard-like spots. It is sometimes called“Leopard Skin Agate” or “Jaguar Stone” because of its many beautiful colors and unique spotted patterns.
Jasper gets its name from the Greek word jaspi, which means spotted stone. Leopard Skin Jasper is a form of silicon dioxide that has many inclusions, which create distinct and desirable patterns. In general, Jasper has about 20% of foreign matter or inclusions, which may include mineral oxides and organic materials.
There is an ancient Indian legend handed down through the ages about Leopard Skin Agate. The legend says that before man, dark beings lived alone on the earth. They didn’t like the darkness, so they sent a messenger to the black Leopard, Numi. Numi’s eyes provided the only light in the darkness. The messenger asked Numi to intercede with the Great Spirit to bring light into the world.Numi answered that the dark beings had great importance in the manner of things and without them there would not be the heavens. If the Light Beings were allowed to enter the earth, they would push aside the Dark Beings and they would then be of lesser importance and treated poorly. He asked the messenger if his people could accept this. The messenger didn’t know but he said yes anyway. It is said thus began the war between Light and Dark. Numi asked the Earth to create a stone to help beings see the Dark Ones. According to the legend, Leopard Skin Agate was created as a bridge to the deepest essences and mysteriesto help reveal that which is NOT known.
Abalone is the pearlescent inner shell of the same mollusk from which it is derived. Mother of Pearl is usually scraped off, sliced thin, and used as inlay on a variety of jewelry, furniture, etc. It is also used to make beads that are less expensive than cultured pearls but have a beautiful luster.
Obsidian is what is formed when lava from an erupting volcano pours into a lake or ocean and is cooled quickly. This process produces a rock of glassy texture to which iron and magnesium lend a distinct dark green to black color. Its luster is vitreous and has a translucent transparency.
Obsidian has several varieties. There is Sheen- and Rainbow-Obsidian, which contain small bubbles of air that are aligned along layers created as the molten rock was flowing just before being cooled. The former occurs when the bubbles produce a golden sheen when reflecting light; the latter occurs when the sheen reflects different-colored light in band patterns.Inclusions of small, white, radially-clustered crystals of cristobalite in the black glass produce a blotchy or snowflake pattern that produces Snowflake Obsidian.
Small nuggets of obsidian that have been naturally rounded and smoothed by wind and water are called Apache Tears.
Obsidian has been used by ancient people as a cutting tool, for weapons, and for ceremonial purposes and is sometimes found by archaeologists in excavations.
Onyx is a black, finely-textured chalcedony quartz that is normally used as a background in multi-colored upscale jewelry. It lends itself well to this use because it makes the colors on the forefront of the piece look crisper.
Onyx was very popular with the ancient Greeks and Romans. Its name comes from the Greek word “onux,” which means fingernail. The story is that one day frisky Cupid cut the divine fingernails of Venus with an arrowhead while she was sleeping. He left the clippings scattered on the sand and the fates turned them into stone so that no part of the heavenly body would ever perish. True, black isn’t normally the color one associates with fingernails, but in Greek times, almost all colors of chalcedony from fingernail white to dark brown and black were called onyx. Later, the Romans narrowed the term to refer to black and dark brown colors only.
Onyx which is reddish brown and white is known as sardonyx. Sardonyx was highly valued in Rome, especially for seals, because it was said to never stick to the wax.
Black Onyx that has white bands or ribbons running through it can be carved into cameos if the layers are even.
The word “Opal” is probably derived from the Sanskrit name “upala” which means “precious stone.”
Opal, a popular gem for many centuries, has an interesting structure. It is considered a mineraloid because that structure is not truly crystalline (meaning it does not have a regular arrangement of atoms). One will find random chains of silicon and oxygen are packed into extraordinarily tiny spheres within each specimen. In most Opals, these spheres are irregular in size and inconsistent in concentration. In Precious Opal – the variety used most often in jewelry – there are many organized pockets of spheres. The pockets in this quality of Opal contain spheres of approximately equal size and regular concentration, which diffract light at various wavelengths. This diffraction creates the stone’s multi-colored shimmering effect, called “opalescence.”
Opals are generally white, colorless, pale yellow, pale red, gray or black in color and have a vitreous to pearly luster. Transparency ranges from transparent to translucent. Their look has been described as containing the wonders of the skies – sparking rainbows, fireworks, and lightning – shifting and moving in their depths.
Black opal is found only in Australia in Lightning Ridge – the most famous Opal deposit in the world since its discovery in 1903, and in Mint Abie, which also produces large quantities of light opal. Another large Opal-producing area in Australia is Coober Pedy, which produces light Opal. Mexico and Oregon produce a volcanic form of Opal (see “Opal and Fire Opal” separately). A green translucent Opal that resembles Chrysoprase or Jade, which is called Prase Opal, is found in Tanzania. A beautiful blue-green opal is found in Peru in the Andes Mountains.
Opal has been treasured throughout history around the world. Archaeologist Louis Leakey found six-thousand-year-old opal artifacts in a cave in Kenya! Opal was much loved and valued highly by the Romans, who called it “Opelus” and the stone was also mined at the same time by the Aztecs.
Opal was also treasured in the Middle Ages and was called “Ophthalmias” or “eye stone” due to a widespread belief that it was beneficial to eyesight. Blonde women wore opal necklaces to protect their hair from losing its color. Some thought the opal’s effect on sight could render the wearer invisible, and it was recommended for thieves!
Ancient opal came from the mines near Cervenica, Slovakia,where hundreds of men mined the stone. Ancient opal fanciers never had the chance to see the opal of Australia, where the opal of today was born, which far surpasses the beauty of Hungarian opal in fire and brilliance.
A beautiful opal called the Orphanus was set in the crown of the Holy Roman Emperor. Opals are also set in the crown jewels of France. Napoleon gave Josephine a beautiful opal with brilliant red flashes called “The burning of Troy,” making her his Helen.
In choosing an Opal, we’re mindful that within each opal variety, the brilliance of the play of color is the most important value factor. After this consideration, the colors and their pattern will also influence value. Generally, opals with red fire are the most valued because opals that show red will also show other colors when rolled back and forth. The pattern of the play of color also influences value. Generally, large flashes and broad patterns are rarer and more valuable than small pinfire patterns.
All Opal has a high-water content. It should therefore be protected from heat and prolonged exposure to strong light (which could dry it out). All Opal is relatively soft and should be in a protective mounting if set in a ring. Be especially careful with the points of marquise and pear shapes.
Pyrite is the classic “Fool’s Gold.”There are other shiny brassy yellow minerals, but pyrite is by far the most common and the most often mistaken for gold. Whether it is the golden look or something else, pyrite is a favorite among rock collectors. It can have a beautiful luster and interesting crystals. It is so common in the earth’s crust that it is found in almost every possible environment in its vast number of forms and varieties.
Pyrite is a polymorph of marcasite, which means that it has the same chemistry (FeS2) but a different structure. Pyrite is difficult to distinguish from marcasite when a lack of clear indicators exists.
If you gaze deep inside a crystal ball, you will see a versatile gemstone, one of the most popular gems on earth. Beautiful quartz, the “Rock Crystal” used in ancient times to make crystal balls and bowls, is today more often seen set in gold jewelry. Despite the popularity of quartz gems like amethyst, citrine, ametrine, rose quartz, onyx, agates, chrysoprase, rutilated quartz, and other quartz gemstone varieties, many people in the jewelry industry take quartz for granted because of its affordable price.
Throughout history, quartz has been the common chameleon of gemstones, standing in for more expensive gemstones ranging from diamond to jade. But the incredible variety of quartz is now beginning to be appreciated for its own sake.
Purple to violet amethyst and yellow to orange citrine are jewelry staples that continue to increase in popularity. Ametrine combines the appeal of both amethyst and citrine as well as both the purple and yellow in one bicolored gemstone. Different colors and types of chalcedonies, from agate to chrysoprase, have grown in popularity with the growing appreciation for carved gemstones and art cutting and carving. And unusual quartz specialties like drusy quartz, with its surface covered by tiny sparking crystals, and rutilated quartz, which has a landscape of shining gold needles inside, are adding variety and nature’s artistry to unusual one-of-a-kind jewelry.
Chalcedony is quartz that is formed not of one single crystal but finely grained microcrystals. The variety of Chalcedony is even greater than transparent quartz varieties because it includes cryptocrystalline quartz with patterns as well as a wide range of solid colors.
Agates are banded, bloodstone has red spots on a green ground, moss agate has a vegetal pattern. Jasper sometimes looks like a landscape painting. Another staple of the jewelry industry is Black Onyx, a Chalcedony quartz which owes its even black color to an ancient dyeing process that is still used today. Carnelian, another chalcedony valued in the ancient world, has a vivid brownish orange color and clear translucency that makes it popular for signet rings and seals.
Chrysoprase, a bright apple green translucent chalcedony, is the most valued. It was a particular favorite of Frederick the Great of Prussia, who loved its bright green color. It can be seen today decorating many buildings in beautiful Prague, including the Chapel of St Wencelas. Chrysoprase is found today mostly in Australia. Unlike most other green stones, which owe their color to chromium or vanadium, chrysoprase derives its color from nickel. Its bright even color and texture lend itself well to beads, cabochons, and carvings.
Rose Quartz has a very pale and delicate powder pink color, which ranges from transparent to translucent.
Transparent Rose Quartz is very rare and is usually so pale that it does not show very much color except in large sizes. The translucent quality of Rose Quartz is much more available and is used for beads, cabochons, carvings, and architectural purposes.
Smoky Quartz is a brown transparent variety of quartz that is sometimes used for unusual faceted cuts. The commercial market is limited due to the limited demand for brown gemstones. This variety was sometimes known as “Smoky Topaz” in the past, which is incorrect and misleading, since the mineral variety is Quartz, not Topaz.
Whilemost varieties of transparent Quartz are more valuable when they lack inclusions, some varieties are valued chiefly because of inclusions! The most popular of these is known as Rutilated Quartz.
Rutilated Quartz is transparent rock crystal with golden needles of rutile arrayed in patterns inside. Every pattern is different and some are breathtakingly beautiful. The inclusions are sometimes called “Venus hair.”
Among the lesser-known varieties of quartz is a type called “Tourmaline Quartz.” It is distinguished by black or dark green Tourmaline crystals instead of golden rutile.
Rhodochrosite (the name means “rose-colored”) is a very attractive mineral with an absolutely one-of-a-kind, beautiful color. Although it can be an ore of manganese, it is its ornamental and display specimen qualities that make it a very popular mineral. The color of a single crystal can just astound the observer with its vivid pink-rose color that seems to be transmitted out of the crystal as if lit from within.
Individual crystals are found in well-shaped rhombohedrons and more rarely icosahedrons. In massive form, its pink and white bands are extremely attractive and are often used in semi-precious jewelry. Rhodochrosite is often carved into figurines and tubular stalactitical forms are sliced into circles with concentric bands that are truly unique in the mineral kingdom. Fine crystals are sometimes cut into gemstones but rhodochrosite’s softness and brittleness limit it as a gemstone for everyday use.
Its color is red to pink, sometimes almost white, yellow and brown. Luster is vitreous to resinous. Rhodochrositecrystals are transparent to translucent.
Sodalite is a scarce mineral that can be rock forming. It gets its name from references to its sodium content. It is used for carvings and some jewelry pieces.
Some say it helps promote metabolism and eliminate confusion.
Tiger’s-Eye quartz contains brown iron which produces its golden-yellow color. Cabochon cut stones of this variety show the chatoyancy (small ray of light on the surface) that resembles the feline eye of a tiger. The most important deposit is in South Africa, though Tiger’s Eye is also found in Western Australia, Myanmar, India and California.
Turquoises are relatively soft gemstones, the color of which combines the light blue of the sky with the invigorating green of the seas. The color is unique that the language took the stone’s very name to describe it.
The best turquoise quality shows a clear and light sky-blue. The color is highly appreciated, with or without the fine regular spider web lines that often accompany it. Its quality decreases with the increase of green in the color and the increase of spots and irregularities in the spider web.
Since the color may also fade in the wearing, even the top qualities receive a waxing and subsequent hardening treatment. This procedure will make the sensitive gemstone sturdier. Turquoises which have been sealed with artificial resin are also available in large amounts and at competitive prices. Their color appears fresh, and they show a high resistance. But one should be careful, because many of these stones have been additionally dipped in color before being sealed, and this coloring is a kind of treatment, which according to the rules set down by ICA, must be indicated.
In addition, there are also so-called “reconstructed” Turquoises, which have been assembled from pulverized Turquoise.
Turquoise should be protected from cosmetics, heat and bright daylight. The gemstone does not really appreciate sunbathing. It is recommended to clean it from time to time with a soft cloth after wearing.
In many cultures of the Old and New World this gemstone has for thousands of years been appreciated as a holy stone, a good-luck-charm or a talisman. It is a virtual “peoples’ gemstone.” The oldest proof for this lies in Egypt, where in tombs from the period around 3000 B.C. where artefacts set with Turquoise were found. In the ancient Persian Kingdom, the sky-blue gemstones were originally worn around the neck or on the hand as protection to ward off the “evil eye” or unnatural death. If the stones changed their color, there was an imminent danger for the wearer.
In more recent times, however, it was learned that Turquoises may in fact change their color but this reaction is not necessarily an indication of impendingdanger. The reason for the color change is rather the influence of light, cosmetic products, dust or even the ph-value of the skin, which may all trigger off chemical responses.
In earlier times Turquoises were sometimes thought responsible for the material wealth of their bearers. Turquoises were loved as ornaments decorating turbans and often set in a border of pearls, again to protect the wearer from the “evil eye.”They were used as talismans decorating daggers, scimitars or the horses’ bridles. Turquoise came to Europe only during the time of the crusades. And from this period comes the name “Turquoise,” meaning simply “Turkish stone.”
Unakite is a naturally-occurring mineral. It is an epidote-rich granite which contains pink orthoclase, quartz, and minor opaque oxides, apatite, and zircon. The name “unakite” is derived from the type locality, the Unaka Range in the Great Smokey Mountains of eastern Tennessee.
It is said Unakite balances emotions and can help discover roots of illness.
Zoisite is an opaque green stone with black streaks. It is often found included with opaque ruby (corundum). Transparent green Zoisite is heat treated to form violet/blue Tanzanite.
Zoisite has been known for nearly two centuries as an ornamental stone of limited distribution. Only in 1967 was the blue gemstone variety found in Tanzania. The variety was named Tanzanite and was a surprise to mineralogists and gemologists alike in that it had come from a very ungemstone-like mineral. The blue-lavender color of tanzanite is unique and sets it apart from the other gemstones.
Besides Tanzanite, Zoisite has produced other attractive specimens that are of interest to collectors. A pink variety called Thulite is usually massive and used for beads and cabochons. A brilliant green variety is associated with medium grade rubies and is quite popular as an ornamental stone. Red rubies are often distorted and irregularly spread throughout the sea of massive green zoisite. It is one of the most colorful of ornamental stones and competes well with the popular pink Tourmaline and lavender Lepidolite of California.
It is said Zoisite with ruby dispels laziness and idleness and helps the wearer maintain individuality and connection with others.