Zoisite

Zoisite, first known as saualpite, after its type locality, is a calcium aluminium hydroxy sorosilicate belonging to the epidote group of minerals. Its chemical formula is Ca2Al3(SiO4)(Si2O7)O(OH).

Zoisite occurs as prismatic, orthorhombic (2/m 2/m 2/m) crystals or in massive form, being found in metamorphic and pegmatitic rock. Zoisite may be blue to violet, green, brown, pink, yellow, gray, or colorless. It has a vitreous luster and a conchoidal to uneven fracture. When euhedral, zoisite crystals are striated parallel to the principal axis (c-axis). Also parallel to the principal axis is one direction of perfect cleavage. The mineral is somewhat higher than 6 in hardness, and its specific gravity ranges from 3.10 to 3.38, depending on the variety. It streaks white and is said to be brittle. Clinozoisite is a more common monoclinic polymorph of Ca2Al3(SiO4)(Si2O7)O(OH).

Transparent material is fashioned into gemstones while translucent-to-opaque material is usually carved. A metamorphic rock known as anyolite consists of green zoisite with black tschermakite and ruby crystals. These rubies themselves are not of gem quality, but nevertheless their color provides a striking contrast to the green zoisite, and greatly enhances the decorative pieces that are carved from the rock.