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.

Tiger's Eye Polished
Tigers Eye Classification
Common Name Tigers Eye
Species Quartz
Tigers Eye Optical Properties
Transparency Semitranslucent - Opaque
Dispersion Strength: None
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 Silky
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
  • Brown Tiger's Eye Brown
  • Gray Tiger's Eye Gray
  • Bi-color Tiger's Eye Bi-color
  • Black Tiger's Eye Black
  • Blue Tiger's Eye Blue
  • Brown Tiger's Eye Brown
  • Multi-color Tiger's Eye Multi-color
  • Orange Tiger's Eye Orange
  • Pink Tiger's Eye Pink
  • Purple Tiger's Eye Purple
  • Red Tiger's Eye Red
  • Yellow Tiger's Eye Yellow

Alternate Names

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

Countries of Origin

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

Care

Normal care for untreated stones. Avoid sudden temperature changes, chemicals, steam and ultrasonic cleaners for dyed stones.

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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Species/Variety

Hawk's-Eye Quartz

Hawks eye quartz is grayish blue in color due to the presence of crocidolite fibers which are intergrown with quartz producing a wavy, chatoyant shimmer. The word chatoyant comes from the French word chatoyer, meaning to shine like a cat's eyes. When the fibers of crocidolite oxidize (a form of alteration due to contact with air), they turn golden brown, producing the related quartz variety, tigers eye.

Hawk's-Eye Quartz Tiger's Eye
Hawk's-Eye Quartz Classification
Common Name Hawk's-Eye Quartz
Hawk's-Eye Quartz Optical Properties
Pleochroism None
Hawk's-Eye Quartz Characteristic Physical properties
Specific Gravity 2.60
Toughness Good
Inclusions The cat's-eye of the stone will be the same color as the body of the stone and will be easy to see. Hawk's-eye quartz has a wavy, parallel, fibrous structure and the cat's-eye will have a wavy appearance.
Stability Good

Enhancement

Dyed Tiger's-Eye

Tiger’s-eye is brownish yellow or brown in its natural state. The material can be dyed any color. When you see an unnatural color, it is safe to assume that the stone has been dyed.

Dyed Tiger's-Eye Tiger's Eye
Dyed Tiger's-Eye Classification
Common Name Dyed Tiger's-Eye
Dyed Tiger's-Eye Optical Properties
Pleochroism None
Dyed Tiger's-Eye Characteristic Physical properties
Specific Gravity 2.60
Toughness Good
Inclusions Dye concentrations along fibrous structure.
Stability Good

Bleached Tiger's-Eye

Tiger’s-Eye can be treated with hydrochloric or oxalic acid to bleach the material to create a pale translucent yellow color. When cut it as a cabochon it can simulate cat’s-eye chrysoberyl.

Bleached Tiger's-Eye Tiger's Eye
Bleached Tiger's-Eye Classification
Common Name Bleached Tiger's-Eye
Bleached Tiger's-Eye Optical Properties
Pleochroism None
Bleached Tiger's-Eye Characteristic Physical properties
Specific Gravity 2.60
Toughness Good
Stability Good

Red Tiger's-Eye

Reddish brown tiger’s-eye is produced by heat treating.

Red Tiger's-Eye Tiger's Eye
Red Tiger's-Eye Classification
Common Name Red Tiger's-Eye
Red Tiger's-Eye Optical Properties
Pleochroism None
Red Tiger's-Eye Characteristic Physical properties
Specific Gravity 2.60
Toughness Good
Stability Good
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.