Tiger Eye

The Tiger Eye gemstone is very popular for its chatoyancy (cat’s eye) when the polished stone is seen from different angles. It is a quartz gemstone, typically golden to brown in color, resulting from the replacement of crocidolite fibers, or matrix, by silica. It is a popular semi-precious stone in jewelry industry, as well as ornamental and lapidary rock. The most common color of Tiger Eye used as gemstones is brown. It is common to find it marketed as red, blue, and green, but these stones are usually dyed or heated. Tiger Eye primarily comes from South Africa’s Northern Cape Province. Namibia, Australia, India, Burma and Thailand are also some less important sources. The abundant deposits in South Africa make Tiger’s Eye very affordable regardless of its rarity worldwide.

Formation

There are multiple theories on its formation, one being an interlocking crack-sealing process resulting in crocidolite and quartz synchronous growth. Another theory is that Tiger Eye is resulted by pseudo morphism or quartz and crocidolite (one element replaced by other while retaining original aspect).

Properties

Tiger Eye is very loved for its silky luster and waves of light shimmering under its surface. It has a hardness of 7 on Mohs scale and it is one of the easiest stones to tumble, however it is recommended to cut parallel to the length of the fibers in order to achieve the maximum chatoyancy. Cabochon shapes are preferred for Tiger Eye.

Symbolism

Balance, fairness. Element: Fire, Earth

Legends

As the stone of the War God of the Middle Ages who was renowned for his unmatched ability to see everything, Tiger eye gems were believed to be able to provide anyone wearing them with that ability. Therefore, they were thought to be able to keep them safe from evil. Ancient Egypt also used Tiger Eye as the representation of the eye in statues built in honor of their deities because they believed this stone gave them vision.

 


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