Tigers Eye | Properties Facts Photos

rough chunk of the mineral tigers eye


The Gemstone Tigers Eye

The stone known as tigers eye or tiger eye is a well known mineral used primarily for lapidary purposes.  Fine grade stones can be exceptionally chatoyant especially after having 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.  The word originates from French word for 'cat's eye'.

This popular mineral was named because of its similarity to the colour of a tiger's eye.  The brown and yellow coloured stone has always been popular and is the variety most people are familiar with.  It can however also be found in red, black and blue but blue tigers eye tends to be known as hawks eye.  Heat treatments are used to alter the colour of the brown stone in order to produce the black and red varieties.

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 that's 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 it because they believed it was an all seeing eye hence would keep them safe and today it's often used for psychic 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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Further Reading

All the Facts from Wikipedia
An Interesting Article