Tigers Eye - Mineral and Healing Properties

Chemistry: SiO2; Silicon dioxide

Class: Quartz

Uses: Gemstone for jewelry, specimen collecting and healing property uses.

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  • Tigers Eye
  • Polished Brown
  • Rough Blue
  • Polished Blue


The gemstone known as tiger's eye is a form of chalcedony quartz. But it didn't start out as quartz. It began as the fibrous blue mineral called crocidolite, which is made up of iron and sodium. Crociodolite is also known as asbestos. The crocidolite was gradually transformed into quartz while maintaining its fibrous formations.

Tiger's eye is what is known in mineralogy as a pseudomorph. The term comes from the Greek for "false form." Pseudomorphs form when one mineral replaces another. The transformation begins when quartz becomes embedded between the fibers of crocidolite. This process can result in two different gemstones: a blue stone called hawk's eye or the golden brown stone called tiger's eye.

In the course of the process, the crocidolite is completely dissolved. But the quartz takes on the fibrous formations and this creates the parallel lines within the gem which gives it that shifting play of light. Though the iron and sodium of the crocidolite dissolve, traces of the iron oxide remain and this creates the golden color typical of tiger's eye. If less iron is present the quartz will tend towards the blue color of the original crocidolite.

Chatoyant in a broad sense is ?A polished surface ... when turned towards the light often shows a series of lustrous bands alternating with bands of duller color which show little silky luster. The beauty of the effect is enhanced by the fact that the fibers are not always perfectly straight; they may be curved and often have a sharp bend or twist at a certain place. A change in the incident light results in a reversal of the conditions, the dark bands becoming lustrous and the lustrous bands becoming dark. Many are attracted to a magnet because they commonly include bands (i.e., zones), which are typically thin and discontinuous, of magnetite.

Origin Of The Name

Tiger eye with its bands resembles an eye of tiger, so it is received its name due to this similarity. Tiger's eye was first discovered in South Africa in the early 1800's. The first theories about tiger's eye formation were developed in 1873 by the German mineralogist Wilbel in 1873. More recently, a new theory of tiger's eye has been proposed that argues that it is not in fact pseudomorphic, but rather forms from crocidolite by a different mechanism, through a series of cracking and sealing episodes.

Interesting Facts

Tigers eye comes in 3 different colors. Red Tigers Eye, Blue Tigers Eye and Yellow Tigers Eye.

Tiger Eye is the anniversary gemstone for the 9th year of marriage.

Roman soldiers wore tiger's-eye for protection in battle. Tiger Eye was thought to be all seeing due to its appearance.

Soon after Tiger Eye's discovery in the late 19th century. Idar-Oberstein lapidaries discovered they could bleach tiger-eye to an evenly colored light yellow. By using either hydrochloric or oxalic acid. When properly oriented and cut, this material could yield a sharp cat's-eye stone.

Where Is It Found

The most important source of tiger's-eye is South Africa. Commercial quantities have also been recovered from India; Myanmar (formerly Burma); Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon); the Hamersley range of the Pilbara region and Mt. Brockman, West Australia; Brazil; and California. Pietersite, as mentioned, comes from Namibia (formerly South-West Africa), and from Nangang, Hunan Province, China.

What Do We Do With It

Tigers eye is usually as cabochons, but also as small spheres, diverse prisms (some with rounded edges), faceted forms, small carvings (scarabs, cameos, intaglios, etc.), and even tumbled chips. They also have been carved and fashioned into articles such as boxes, cane heads, eggs, hearts, obelisks, pyramids, snuff bottles, spheres and diverse figures. In addition, especially in the past, they were also used as eyes -- i.e., set into the eye sockets -- of carvings fashioned from other gemrocks, shell and wood.

Metaphysical Uses

Tigers Eye Stone is a crystal with lovely bands of yellow-golden color through it. This is a powerful stone that aids harmony and balance, and helps you to release fear and anxiety. It stimulates taking action, and helps you to make decisions with discernment and understanding, and unclouded by your emotions.

Traditionally it was carried as an amulet against curses or ill-wishing, and is known to give you courage, self confidence and strength of will. It enhances creativity and is one of the stones that aid kundalini awakening. This natural crystal balances the brain, so it may be of benefit to help those who are suffering from mental disease or with personality disorders. It is a strong stone to aid you with all of the basic survival needs... and aids your ability to work through difficult times. It is known to aid the healing of broken bones, and it helps to enhance your strength when needed.

This is a stone that helps us to be more active, mentally as well as physically... and its major work is within the lower chakras. It will stimulate the base chakra, sacral chakra and the solar plexus chakra, where its energy has a very powerful effect.

Physical Characteristics

Color: Various shades of golden or honey yellow and various brown hues, typically roughly striped.

Luster: Silky sheen

Transparency: Subtranslucent to opaque.

Crystal System: Monoclinic

Cleavage: Very good

Fracture: Subconchoidal to irregular.

Hardness: 6.5 - 7

Specific Gravity: 2.69 - 2.9

Streak: Blue gray, gold brown, yellow.

Best Field Indicators: Fibrous and chatoyant.

Educational Videos

Mining Tigers Eye at Griquatown, South Africa

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