Tigers eye which is also sometimes referred to as tiger eye, is the original chatoyant gemstone. Chatoyancy is an optical illusion caused by a changeable shimmering silky lustre caused as light is reflected from the inside of a gemstone. The word originates from the French meaning 'cat's eye'.
So named because its traditional brown, orange and black colouring was thought to resemble the colours of a tiger's eye, the brown variety is the most well known. Unknown to many, it can also be found in red, black and blue however the blue variety is more more correctly known as hawk's eye. The red and black varieties obtain their colour through the process of heat treatment whilst hawk's eye is completely natural.
In recent years there has been some concern about asbestos fibres which although true, are well embedded and pose little or no threat. This mineral began life as fibrous blue Crocidolite (better known as asbestos) which is made up of iron and sodium. Over time as quartz became embedded between the fibres of the crocidolite, a transformation took place which resulted in either hawks eye or the more traditional brown tigers eye. During this transformation which took place over thousands of years, the asbestos was completely dissolved and the quartz took on the fibrous formations which create the parallel lines within this gemstone. It is also the cause of the play of light and movement known as chatoyancy.
Like all gemstones which resemble eyes when cut or polished, it is thought to be a powerful protective amulet. Roman soldiers wore it because they believed it was an all seeing eye hence offered good protection and even today, it is used for psychic protection.
Used in crystal healing to release anxiety, fear and obsessiveness, Tigers eye can also make emotions become more logical. It is good for succesful business, for clarity and symbolizes willpower, confidence and assurance. It is also said to clear visual disturbances and provide protection during travel. It has the ability to calm the emotions relieving obstinate and stubborn behaviour hence providing flexibility and strengthens energy and provides courage. It helps to reduce stress and allows the mind to clearly define relationships with others.
Tigers eye which is graded 7 on Mohs scale of mineral hardness is found in huge quantities in Western Australia in an area that is extremely rich in iron ore. South Africa also has extensive reserves and most of the finest specimens come from Griqualand West.