Tiger's eye

Last updated
Tiger's eye
Tiger's eye.jpg
Category Mineral
(repeating unit)
Silica (silicon dioxide, SiO2)
Colourgolden to red-brown
Mohs scale hardness6.5-7
Luster Silky
Specific gravity 2.64–2.71

Tiger's eye (also called tiger eye) is a chatoyant gemstone that is usually a metamorphic rock with a golden to red-brown colour and a silky lustre. As members of the quartz group, tiger's eye and the related blue-coloured mineral hawk's eye gain their silky, lustrous appearance from the parallel intergrowth of quartz crystals and altered amphibole fibres that have mostly turned into limonite. [1] [2]


Other forms of tiger's eye

Tiger iron is an altered rock composed chiefly of tiger's eye, red jasper and black hematite. The undulating, contrasting bands of colour and lustre make for an attractive motif and it is mainly used for jewellery-making and ornamentation. Tiger iron is a popular ornamental material used in a variety of applications, from beads to knife hilts.

Tiger iron is mined primarily in South Africa and Western Australia. Tiger's eye is composed chiefly of silicon dioxide (SiO
) and is coloured mainly by iron oxide. The specific gravity ranges from 2.64 to 2.71. [3] It is formed by the alteration of crocidolite.

Serpentine deposits in the US states of Arizona and California can have chatoyant bands of chrysotile, a form of asbestos, fibres. These have been cut and sold as "Arizona tiger-eye" and "California tiger's eye" gemstones. [4] [5] The trade name 'pietersite' is used for a fractured or brecciated chalcedony containing amphibole fibers and promoted as tiger's eye from Namibia and China. [6]

Tiger iron Tiger Iron8.jpg
Tiger iron
Serpentine tiger's eye from Arizona Chatoyant serpentine 01.jpg
Serpentine tiger's eye from Arizona


Common sources of tiger's eye include Australia, Burma, India, Namibia, South Africa, the United States, [7] Brazil, Canada, China, Korea and Spain.[ citation needed ]

Unpolished tiger's eye from South Africa Quartz - Tigers-Eye - raw stone from Southafrica.jpg
Unpolished tiger's eye from South Africa

Cultural associations

In some parts of the world, the stone is believed to ward off the evil eye. [8]

Roman soldiers wore engraved tigers eye to protect them in battle.

Cut, treatment and imitation

Gems are usually given a cabochon cut to best display their chatoyance. Red stones are developed by gentle heat treatments. Dark stones are artificially lightened to improve colour using a nitric acid treatment. [9]

Oval shape tiger's eye with iron stripes Tigers eye egg shape.jpg
Oval shape tiger's eye with iron stripes
Blue tiger's eye Blue tiger eye - falcon eye.jpg
Blue tiger's eye

Honey-coloured stones have been used to imitate the more valued cat's eye chrysoberyl, cymophane, but the overall effect is often unconvincing. Artificial fibre optic glass is a common imitation of tiger's eye, and is produced in a wide range of colours.

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Amethyst</span> Mineral, quartz variety

Amethyst is a violet variety of quartz. The name comes from the Koine Greek αμέθυστος amethystos from α- a-, "not" and μεθύσκω methysko / μεθώ metho, "intoxicate", a reference to the belief that the stone protected its owner from drunkenness. Ancient Greeks wore amethyst and carved drinking vessels from it in the belief that it would prevent intoxication.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Gemstone</span> Piece of mineral crystal used to make jewelry

A gemstone is a piece of mineral crystal which, in cut and polished form, is used to make jewelry or other adornments. However, certain rocks and occasionally organic materials that are not minerals are also used for jewelry and are therefore often considered to be gemstones as well. Most gemstones are hard, but some soft minerals are used in jewelry because of their luster or other physical properties that have aesthetic value. Rarity and notoriety are other characteristics that lend value to gemstones.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mineral</span> Crystalline chemical element or compound formed by geologic processes

In geology and mineralogy, a mineral or mineral species is, broadly speaking, a solid substance with a fairly well-defined chemical composition and a specific crystal structure that occurs naturally in pure form.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Quartz</span> Mineral made of silicon and oxygen

Quartz is a hard, crystalline mineral composed of silica (silicon dioxide). The atoms are linked in a continuous framework of SiO4 silicon–oxygen tetrahedra, with each oxygen being shared between two tetrahedra, giving an overall chemical formula of SiO2. Quartz is the second most abundant mineral in Earth's continental crust, behind feldspar.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Spinel</span> Mineral or gemstone

Spinel is the magnesium/aluminium member of the larger spinel group of minerals. It has the formula MgAl
in the cubic crystal system. Its name comes from the Latin word spinella, a diminutive form of spine, in reference to its pointed crystals.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Chrysoberyl</span> Mineral or gemstone of beryllium aluminate

The mineral or gemstone chrysoberyl is an aluminate of beryllium with the formula BeAl2O4. The name chrysoberyl is derived from the Greek words χρυσός chrysos and βήρυλλος beryllos, meaning "a gold-white spar". Despite the similarity of their names, chrysoberyl and beryl are two completely different gemstones, although they both contain beryllium. Chrysoberyl is the third-hardest frequently encountered natural gemstone and lies at 8.5 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness, between corundum (9) and topaz (8).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Turquoise</span> Opaque, blue-to-green mineral

Turquoise is an opaque, blue-to-green mineral that is a hydrous phosphate of copper and aluminium, with the chemical formula CuAl6(PO4)4(OH)8·4H2O. It is rare and valuable in finer grades and has been prized as a gemstone for millennia due to its unique hue.

Lustre is the way light interacts with the surface of a crystal, rock, or mineral. The word traces its origins back to the Latin lux, meaning "light", and generally implies radiance, gloss, or brilliance.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Jasper</span> Chalcedony variety colored by iron oxide

Jasper, an aggregate of microgranular quartz and/or cryptocrystalline chalcedony and other mineral phases, is an opaque, impure variety of silica, usually red, yellow, brown or green in color; and rarely blue. The common red color is due to iron(III) inclusions. Jasper breaks with a smooth surface and is used for ornamentation or as a gemstone. It can be highly polished and is used for items such as vases, seals, and snuff boxes. The specific gravity of jasper is typically 2.5 to 2.9. Jaspillite is a banded-iron-formation rock that often has distinctive bands of jasper.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Actinolite</span> Mineral

Actinolite is an amphibole silicate mineral with the chemical formula Ca2(Mg4.5-2.5Fe2+0.5-2.5)Si8O22(OH)2.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Chatoyancy</span> Optical reflectance effect in materials

In gemology, chatoyancy, or chatoyance or cat's eye effect, is an optical reflectance effect seen in certain gemstones, woods, and carbon fiber. Coined from the French œil de chat, meaning 'cat's eye'. The chatoyant effect is typically characterized by one or more well-defined bands of reflected light, reminiscent of a cat's eye, which appear to glide across the material's surface as the chatoyant object or observer shifts position.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Aventurescence</span> Optical reflectance effect seen in certain gems

In gemology, aventurescence is an optical reflectance effect seen in certain gems. The effect amounts to a metallic glitter, arising from minute, preferentially oriented mineral platelets within the material. These platelets are so numerous that they also influence the material's body colour. In aventurine quartz chrome-bearing fuchsite produces a green stone, and various iron oxides produce a red stone.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cuprite</span>

Cuprite is an oxide mineral composed of copper(I) oxide Cu2O, and is a minor ore of copper.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Scheelite</span> Calcium tungstate mineral

Scheelite is a calcium tungstate mineral with the chemical formula CaWO4. It is an important ore of tungsten (wolfram). Scheelite is originally named after Swedish chemist Carl Wilhelm Scheele (1742–1786). Well-formed crystals are sought by collectors and are occasionally fashioned into gemstones when suitably free of flaws. Scheelite has been synthesized using the Czochralski process; the material produced may be used to imitate diamond, as a scintillator, or as a solid-state lasing medium. It was also used in radium paint in the same fashion as was zinc sulphide, and Thomas Edison invented a fluoroscope with a calcium tungstate-coated screen, making the images six times brighter than those with barium platinocyanide; the latter chemical allowed Röntgen to discover X-rays in early November 1895.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cordierite</span> Mg, Fe, Al cyclosilicate mineral

Cordierite (mineralogy) or iolite (gemology) is a magnesium iron aluminium cyclosilicate. Iron is almost always present and a solid solution exists between Mg-rich cordierite and Fe-rich sekaninaite with a series formula: (Mg,Fe)2Al3(Si5AlO18) to (Fe,Mg)2Al3(Si5AlO18). A high-temperature polymorph exists, indialite, which is isostructural with beryl and has a random distribution of Al in the (Si,Al)6O18 rings.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Grossular</span> Garnet, nesosilicate mineral

Grossular is a calcium-aluminium species of the garnet group of minerals. It has the chemical formula of Ca3Al2(SiO4)3 but the calcium may, in part, be replaced by ferrous iron and the aluminium by ferric iron. The name grossular is derived from the botanical name for the gooseberry, grossularia, in reference to the green garnet of this composition that is found in Siberia. Other shades include cinnamon brown (cinnamon stone variety), red, and yellow. Grossular is a gemstone.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Charoite</span> Rare silicate mineral

is a rare silicate mineral, first described in 1978. It is named after the Chara River, despite its being 70 km away from the discovery place; the river is named after the Russian word chary, meaning magic or charms. When it was discovered, it was thought to be a fake, dyed purple to give it its striking appearance.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pietersite</span> Commercial Term for a Variety of Chalcedony

Pietersite is a commercial term for a variety of the mineral Chalcedony. Originating from Namibia and China, where it is mined for use as a decorative stone due to its chaotic chatoyancy and brecciated structure.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Binghamite</span>

Binghamite is a type of chalcedony found only on the Cuyuna Range in Crow Wing County, Minnesota. The stone occurs near deposits of iron ore.


  1. "Tiger's Eye". mindat.org. Retrieved 16 May 2016.
  2. Heaney, Peter; Fisher, Donald (April 2003). "New interpretation of the origin of tiger's-eye". Geology. 31 (4): 323–326. Bibcode:2003Geo....31..323H. doi:10.1130/0091-7613(2003)031<0323:NIOTOO>2.0.CO;2.
  3. Listing of SG of gems and gem simulants Archived 2006-09-04 at the Wayback Machine , Berkeley.edu
  4. Flagg, Arthur Leonard (1958). Mineralogical Journeys in Arizona. Scottsdale: F.H. Bitner. pp. 92–93.
  5. USGS (1908–1909). "Cat's Eye or Tiger-Eye". Mineral Resources of the United States / Department of the Interior, United States Geological Survey. Washington, D.C.: US Government Printing Office. 2: 802.
  6. Pietersite on Mindat.org
  7. Schumann, Walter (2009). Gemstones of the World (Fourth ed.). New York, New York: Sterling Publishing. p. 140. ISBN   978-1-4027-6829-3.
  8. The Encyclopedia of Superstitions By Richard Webster, p.257
  9. O'Donoghue, Michael (1997). Synthetic, Imitation, and Treated Gemstones. Boston, Massachusetts: Butterworth-Heinemann. pp. 125–127. ISBN   0-7506-3173-2.