Tigers Eye | Properties Facts Photos
The Mineral Tigers Eye
Tigers eye or tiger eye is a well known mineral used primarily for lapidary purposes. Fine grade material can be exceptionally chatoyant especially after been polished. A rock or mineral that's chatoyant exhibits an optical phenomenon that's caused as light reflects off fibres below the surface of the stone. When gently moved around the reflection of light causes colours and markings to look as though they're moving and changing. The word chatoyant originates from French word for 'cat's eye'.
This well known mineral was named because of its similarity to the colour of a tiger's eye. The brown and yellow variety is the most popular and the stone that most people are familiar with. Tigers eye can however also be found in blue red and black. Red and black tigers eye is almost always produced by heating the brown and yellow stone but blue occurs naturally and is often referred to as Hawks Eye.
Heat treatments are widely used to enhance or change the colour of rocks and minerals and have been used in one form or another for thousands of years. The Ancient Roman author, naturalist and philosopher Pliny the Elder wrote about the effect that heat had on stones saying one gemstone could be changed into another and the colour of quartz could be changed to that of an emerald. These statements confirm he was aware that heat caused certain rocks and minerals to change colour.
Tigers eye is a relatively hard stone which grades 7 on Mohs scale of mineral hardness. It's found in huge quantities in Western Australia in an area rich in iron. South Africa also has extensive reserves and most of the finest specimens come from Griqualand West.
Tigers Eye | Variety of Quartz
In recent years concerns have been raised about the presence of asbestos fibres in tigers eye which although true, are well embedded within the stone and pose little or no threat at all. Tigers eye which is a variety of the mineral quartz began life as fibrous blue crocidolite (better known as asbestos) which is made up of iron and sodium. Over time as the quartz became embedded between the fibres of the crocidolite a transformation took place which resulted in either hawks eye or the more traditional brown and yellow tigers eye. During the transformation which took place over thousands of years, the asbestos dissolved completely and the quartz took on the fibrous formations which create the parallel lines within the stone. The crocidolite is largely responsible for tigers eye being chatoyant.
Like all gemstones which resemble an eye when cut or polished, tigers eye is believed to be a powerful amulet. Roman soldiers wore or carried the stone because they believed it was an all seeing eye hence would keep them safe. Today tigers eye continues to be used for protection.
Tigers Eye for Crystal Healing
In crystal healing tigers eye releases anxiety, fear and obsessiveness and can make emotions become more logical. It's said to be good for business success due to its ability to bring clarity and symbolizes willpower, confidence and assurance. It's a calming stone which can help relieve obstinate or stubborn behaviour and can also help to reduce stress.
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