Monday, April 23, 2012


As a kid, I always had a absorption for eyes—the sheen of them, the size and shape, and what they tell you about the creature they’re attached to. I drew them constantly. All sizes and shapes. I go back and look at some of my school notebooks and there are all sorts of eye pictures in the margins—human and animal. I still catch myself drawing them.

A curious young Bengal tiger, taken by Swamidu

The big cat’s eyes have a particular allure for me. Which probably explains my fascination for the gem called Tiger-Eye. The luster and shades of colors they come in is amazing.

Polished Tiger-eye gemstones in various colors.
Tiger-eye is in the quartz family. What makes them different from many quartz gemstones is they’re metamorphic—meaning they start out as one thing and through great heat and pressure become something different, something beautiful. They tend to be golden in color—all shades of amber and brown because of the iron oxide. As you can see from the picture, some do come in blue, green, and some rare reds (and they can be dyed other colors and there are simulated tiger-eye gems, too).

Tigers eye is one of the most popular chatoyant gemstone. In gemology, chatoyancy, or chatoyance is an optical reflectance effect seen in certain gemstones and the amount of color or luster depends upon the angle of light when being cut and shaped. Aquamarines, tourmalines, moonstone, and some beryl quartz are chatoyant gemstones.

Polished Tiger-eye gem-easy to
see the reason for the name. 
The word Chatoyant comes from the French word, chatoyer and means to shimmer like a cat's eyes. Chat is French for Cat.

Most Tiger-eye gems are found in South Africa but are also found in places like Australia and the US. 

One Tiger Eye meaning assures the correct use of power, courage, grace and the ability to see clearly without illusion. It was a stone carried by soldiers to enable them to see clearly in the heat of battle. Shamans and healers carry tiger-eye for grounding in metaphysical work and healing. 

In business, the Tiger-eye is supposed to draw the qualities of the tiger into the wearer—patience, focus, and determination. Tiger-eye is a popular gem for men’s jewelry and there are those in business who carry the gem as a talisman for clear thinking and insight in to the situations. 

Another Tiger Eye meaning was to restore peace and harmony to the wearer.

I don’t wear the Tiger’s Eye for it’s supposed mystical properties or what it represents. I wear it because it’s a beautiful gemstone when cut and polished properly, and placed in the right setting. Like a pendant. :-)