Tigers Eye Gemstone Information
The Tigers Eye gemstone is incredibly well known. Its look is almost unmistakable, and people are drawn to the gem because of its somewhat unique optical qualities.
Often, the Tigers Eye gemstone is a favorite among independent jewelry designers and smaller jewelers. Plus, many believe that Tigers Eye possesses certain metaphysical qualities, increasing demand for the stone.
If you’d like to find out more about Tigers Eye, including its properties, colors, meaning, and more, here’s what you need to know.
Tigers Eye Properties
Tigers Eye is a variety of quartz that features amphibole fibers. The fibers give the stone its coloring, fundamentally altering the quartz’s appearance to create a unique stone.
Usually, Tigers Eye occurs when quartz forms over crocidolite, a mineral comprised of dense but fine fibers. The fibers create wavy striations and the chatoyant effect.
Part of what makes tigers eye special is that chatoyancy. The chatoyant effect is an optical phenomenon that impacts how light bounces off of the surface. It creates a sense of depth and shimmer, making the stone resemble the iris or the tiger’s eye, hence the stone’s name.
Tigers Eye Colors
Typically, when people think of tigers eye colors, the one that comes to mind is the traditional golden tiger eye. The stone features a variety of shades, ranging from a sunny yellow to a deep bronze. However, that’s not the only color available.
Blue tigers eye, also called hawks eye, is a variant of the stone. It occurs naturally when the pseudomorphism of the quartz and crocidolite is incomplete. In its natural state, crocidolite is bluish-gray. The blue tint turns to a yellow-brown during pedomorphosis, creating the traditional golden tigers eye that most people widely recognize. When the process doesn’t finish, the bluish color remains, creating blue tigers eye.
Red tigers eye is another version you may see on the market. However, unlike golden or blue tigers eye, red tigers eye is usually the result of a dying process. Now, that doesn’t mean natural versions aren’t available, just that they tend to be a bit rare.
The History of Tigers Eye
The tigers eye gem is predominately ornamental. It has a long history of use in jewelry, as well as decorative carvings. Even today, it’s popular as a lapidary stone.
Beyond that, tigers eye hasn’t been used for much. It doesn’t have industrial purposes, generally speaking. However, since it’s so widely sought for ornamental reasons, that alone has supported the gemstone’s mining.
Where Is Tigers Eye Found
Most tigers eye is found in South Africa, typically near the Northern Cape province. However, there are also a few other sources. Deposits have been found in Australia, Namibia, Thailand, and India, for example.
However, the size of the South Africa sources is incredibly large. As a result, those deposits alone can support demand while keeping tigers eye affordable.
Tigers Eye Jewelry
Tigers eye jewelry is plentiful and comes in a variety of types. Often, its availability is due not just to the stone’s popularity but also its affordability and ease-of-use. When it comes to gemstones, tigers eye is inexpensive and relatively easy to carve, shape, and polish.
Usually, gemstone cuts aren’t used for tigers eye. Instead, the gem is polished into cabochons or used to create beads, allowing the chatoyant effect to take center stage. It can also be carved into shapes, giving jewelry creators some options regarding their approach to the stone.
As a result, it’s pretty easy to find a tigers eye bracelet, necklace, pendant, earrings, and more. However, you won’t usually find tigers eye in large chain jewelry stores. Instead, you may need to turn to independent designers to find the pieces you want.
Tigers Eye Meaning
The tigers eye stone meaning can vary from one belief system to the next. Some associate it with powers of observation, potentially because of its resemblance to an eye. Others connect it with protection, vigilance, bravery, and courage. Some believe that tigers eye represents balance or even compassion.
Blue tigers eye may have additional meanings. For example, some associate that version of the stone with calm or stress reduction.
However, when it comes to tigers eye healing properties, it’s critical to remember that gems shouldn’t be a substitute for medical care. There is no evidence that stones treat or prevent any condition.
If holding, wearing, or meditating with tigers eye improves your mood, then there’s likely no risk of using the stone in that matter. Just keep in mind that most medical conditions require treatment from a professional, so don’t rely on tigers eye in place of seeing a doctor.
Stones Similar to Tigers Eye
Generally, substitute stones for tigers eye aren’t highly sought. This is mainly because tigers eye is affordable and widely available, so it’s often easy to secure the real deal.
However, some people do seek out tigers eye’s chatoyancy in other stones, partially in hopes of getting that effect in a gem that’s a different color. Usually, that means tracking down cats eye variants of alternative stones.
For example, cats eye scapolite also exhibits chatoyancy, and it’s available in a range of colors, including brown or gray, often with a slightly greenish hue. At times, it’s also discovered in pink or violet. However, scapolite isn’t as readily available and is hard to work with, so it isn’t as widely found in jewelry.
Actinolite, apatite, chrysoberyl, beryl, moonstone, spinel, tourmaline, and many other stones can also have chatoyancy. As a result, you can potentially find the cats eye effect in any color, though availability may be highly variable, and some may cost a small fortune to acquire.
It’s also important to note that lab-created tigers eye is also on the market. With those, the stone has similar physical properties to the natural stone and can look so much like the real thing that most people can’t see the difference.
There are also faux gems that may resemble tigers eye. With these, the stones or beads may feature plastics, fiber optic glass, resins, or other manufactured materials.