The distinctive red crystals in ruby zoisite are corundum, red corundum is known as ruby, whilst all other coloured varieties are known as sapphire. It can also be characterized with black crystals of hornblende. Ruby zoisite is often used for sculpting because of its striking colours but it can be difficult to work with due to the differing hardness of the two minerals. On Mohs scale of mineral hardness zoisite is 6½ and corundum is 9.
Crystal healers in Asia have been using Ruby Zoisite for centuries in order to communicate with the spirit world as well as for other healing purposes. It is thought to enhance all psychic abilities including the ability to enter a trance. It can help increase individuality, creativity and uniqueness without losing connection with humanity. It's useful in situations where someone has been through long periods of illness or stress and can increase physical vitality and related procreative urges as well as enhancing fertility. It helps with diseases of the ovaries, neutralizing conditions associated with over-acidity, insomnia and heart problems and helps one to recover from disorders associated with diminished vitality. It also provides amplification of the entire energy field of the body.
Material from Africa is generally known as anyolite (from anyoli, Maasai for 'green') but in Tanzania where it can also be found, the Maasai prefer to call it ruby in zoisite as an expression of pride that ruby can be found in Tanzania.
This colourful mineral is often confused with ruby in fuchsite which is considerably cheaper and comes predominently from India.