Tiger's Eye

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Tiger's eye is a unique and mysterious member of the quartz family. It ranges in color from rich, golden yellow to bronze and brown. Best seen when gems are cut en cabochon, tiger's eye displays an optical phenomenon known as chatoyancy. Unlike other chatoyant gems, tigers eye quartz is made up of quartz with intergrown fibers of amphibole that were altered to golden or rusty-brown limonite. When light hits the surface of this gem, a silky, wavy shimmer moves across the surface of the stone resembling the eye of a tiger. A related variety of quartz, called hawks eye, is blue due to unaltered inclusions of crocidolite.

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Tigers Eye Classification
Common Name Tigers Eye
Species Quartz
Tigers Eye Optical Properties
Transparency Semitranslucent - Opaque
Refractive Index 1.544-1.553
Tolerance:very constant
Birefringence 0.009
Optic Character Uniaxial
Optic Sign Positive
Polariscope Reaction Aggregate (AGG)
Fluorescence SWUV: Inert
LWUV: Inert
Pleochroism None
Tigers Eye Characteristic Physical Properties
Hardness 7
Streak Yellow-Brown
Specific Gravity 2.640-2.690 Typical:2.660
Toughness Good
Inclusions Tiger's-eye has a wavy fibrous structure. If the stone is dyed there will be dye concentrations along the fibers.
Luster Vitreous
Stability Good
Fracture Splintery
Cleavage None
Tigers Eye Chemistry & Crystallography
Chemical Name silicon dioxide (aka silica)
Chemical Formula SiO2
Crystal System Trigonal
Chemistry Classification Silicate

Tiger's Eye Colors

  • Green Tiger's Eye Green

Alternate Names

Hawk-Eye, Falcon's-Eye, Zebra Tiger's-Eye, Cat's-Eye

Countries of Origin

Tanzania, United Republic Of; Afghanistan; Unknown; China; Brazil; South Africa; Madagascar; Zambia; Kenya; Thailand; India; Indonesia

History

It's hard to be truly unique when you come from a large family. Tiger's-eye quartz pulls it off. First, it's a rich, golden yellow that's sometimes deep enough to be called bronze. Second, it has an optical property known as chatoyancy. Tiger's eye has intergrown fibers that, when hit with light, reflect a wavy, silky, shimmer that almost seems to flow across the gem. The eye of the tiger. Spectacular.

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More About Tiger's Eye

Quartz, in one form or another, is present in most rock formations. Gem-quality quartz is another matter. Although a stone that is often found in large crystals, gem-quality stones aren't found everywhere. Add a phenomenon like chatoyancy, and the stone becomes even rarer. Tiger's-eye quartz is often found in masculine jewelry, but not exclusively. It's a stone with universal appeal.

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Tim Matthews

Author

Tim Matthews

Tim Matthews is President and Chief Executive Officer of Jewelry Television® (JTV), as well as a member of the company's Board of Directors. He oversees and leads all aspects of the company's powerful omni-digital retail platform that uniquely specializes in fine jewelry and gemstones. His passion for business and gemstones has led him to become a recognized expert in the field of gemology. He is a life member of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain (Gem-A) and has earned Gem-A's highest degrees, the Gemmology (FGA) and Diamond (DGA) diplomas. He is also a Graduate Gemologist (GG) of the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and has also completed GIA's Graduate Diplomas in Diamonds, Colored Stones and Pearls. Under his leadership, JTV has become the leader in the sourcing and selling of color gemstones and jewelry.

This page was created on June 27, 2014.

This page was last edited on October 24, 2019.