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. :-)



Most interesting to read. An excellent write,


Tonya Kappes said...

I have been a jewelry maker for years! (hence my novel, Carpe Bead 'em) I have used Tiger's eye so many times, but NEVER knew all of this! Thanks so much, Sia!

Jo said...

I didn't know of this either, not really that familiar with the stone. Interesting about aquamarines being chatoyant, I have an aquamarine.

~Sia McKye~ said...


Maybe the combo of handling a stone reputed to bring clear thinking and peace was a drawing force.

My sister makes jewelry too. In fact, she made me a lovely set of dangle earrings and matching bracelet this past week with wrapped wire with milky spring green glass beads. She's also made me several unusual pendants. I like unusual.

One of these days I'll show more of her work here.

Unknown said...

Love that it restores peace and harmony to wearer.

Kat Sheridan said...

I love tiger's eye, although I think I only have one loose in my jewelry box, not in jewelry. My aunt gave it to me when I was little because I liked the way it shimmered. I do have several tourmalines. My favorites are my spruce (green) tourmaline and my black tourmaline. Love them.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Johanna, I will tell you, there is something about holding one that fits in the palm (Pictured above). It warms and is silky feeling. I'm tactile and love the feel of things.

I've been considering getting a small basket of different gemstones for my office. Colorful, to please the eyes, different textures, can be handled while thinking.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Kat, I love the look of tourmaline too. There are some gorgeous greens. I haven't seen a black one. I'll have to look it up.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

It really does look like the eye of a tiger.
Crap, now I have that Survivor song in my head!

Mark Koopmans said...

Aloha Sia,

Just wanted to pop by and say thanks so very much for the comments - and thanks also for what you did to help the kids (and adults.)

Appreciate ye, and I'm a new follower... congrats on breaking 300 :)

Carol Kilgore said...

I like eyes, too. They're the first things I notice about people; the second is their hands. I love learning about gemstones :)

~Sia McKye~ said...

Mark, thank you. I do what I can to shine a bright light. Not as active in the counseling end as I was before my son was born. It's amazing how many teens--probably due, in part to having one--end up talking to me about experiences. Some break my heart. I do what I can and when the trust level is right, connect them with someone who can help.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Same here Carol. Eyes tell you much about a person or an animal. Even the lack of facial expression can be offset by what's in a person's eyes.

For sure, that's true with animals.

Gemstones are interesting.

Diane Kelly said...

I always liked "cats eye" marbles when I was young. Interesting about the significance behind the tiger-eye gems. I have a good friend who makes jewelry and tells me a lot about the stones in the pieces she makes for me. Cool stuff!

Elle J Rossi said...

It is so beautiful. I love the possibility that it can restore peace and harmony. If only it were that easy. I may have to find me a pendant just in case it's true!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Sia .. the eyes of the cat or salamander .. are just amazing; while semi precious or precious (obviously!) are just so gorgeous polished up and ready to put on .. I got a few when I was out in South Africa .. I just love looking at the varieties ..

And tiger - for mean William Blake's poem did it ..

Cheers Hilary

1Mistical said...

I happened upon your blog and it was very interesting. My parents are lapidarists by hobby and it can be quite addictive. To see this rough and usually ugly chunck or rock that you transform into a beautiful stone is amazing. One silly question though where did the oicture of the woman with the contact come from. I have been looking for contacts like that for halloween, they're perfect!

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