Cat's Eye Quartz Meaning and Properties

Cat's Eye Quartz History

Discovered in 1789 by renowned geologist Abraham Gottlob Werner, chrysoberyl is considered the original cat's eye gem, and is the only gem that can be traded as simply "cat's eye." All other varieties must be noted as cat's eye quartz or cat's eye apatite.

The Roman author, naturalist, natural philosopher and military commander of the early Roman Empire, Pliny, wrote nearly 2,000 years ago that quartz crystals formed from ice in dark clefts and caverns in the mountains. Cat's eye quartz has been used as gemstones and other religious objects for thousands of years and has always been thought to bring good fortune to the wearer. Cat's eye became popular at the end of the 19th century when it was given as an engagement token by the Duke of Connaught.

Cat's Eye Quartz Metaphysical Properties

Along with its striking appearance, cat's eye stone is also prized for its strong metaphysical powers and properties. Wearing cat's eye is believed to help ward off evil and acts as a talisman to protect against unforeseen danger. This stone is commonly known to bring wealth and prosperity and/or help people regain lost wealth.

Cat's eye quartz is also believed to help with disorders of the eye, recovery from post-traumatic conditions, healing cancer, increasing night vision, regulating blood sugar and promoting mobility. Cat's eye quartz is said to bring good judgement and provide deeper understanding. It is also believed to enhance intuition and to increase one's psychic abilities and powers of concentration.

Cat's Eye Quartz Geological Properties

Cat's eye quartz is a macrocrystalline variety of the mineral quartz, the most abundant single mineral on earth. The chatoyant or cat's eye effect visible in some quartz is usually due to the presence of asbestiform (fibrous) mineral inclusions or tube-like cavities in parallel orientation within the quartz.

The most famous and valuable cat's eye gemstone is chrysoberyl cat's eye. When the term cat's eye is used alone in the gem trade, it always refers to chrysoberyl cat's eye. All other types of cat's eye gems require an additional varietal designation, such as cat's eye quartz or cat's eye apatite. Chrysoberyl cat's eye is found in Sri Lanka, Brazil, India, China and Zimbabwe. Some other notable sources include India, Pakistan, Russia, Tanzania, Madagascar and the United States.

Cat's eye gemstones are distinguished by their special optical phenomena, known as chatoyancy, derived from the French saying for the eye of the cat ("oeil de chat"). This effect resembles the slit eye of a cat and is caused by the reflection of light by parallel fibers, needles or channels in the gemstone. Typically this gemstone should be cut into a sphere or oval shape, such as a cabochon, with the base parallel to the fibers for this effect to be fully displayed.

Mineral Information Quartz
Chemical Composition SiO2
Color Black to grey stone with silver-white streak
Hardness 7 (Mohs)
Specific Gravity 2.64 - 2.71
Refractive Index 1.544 - 1.553

Proper Care of Cat's Eye Quartz

Cat's eye quartz is durable enough (7 on the Mohs scale) to be cleaned using ultrasonic cleaners or steamers. Avoid the use of bleach and other harsh household cleaners and be sure to rinse your stones well to ensure all soapy residues are removed. Cat's eye quartz can scratch softer materials, so store them separately from other gems, especially soft stones such as pearl, turquoise or malachite.

To learn more about Cat's Eye Quartz and other gemstones, order your copy of Walter Schumann's revised and expanded edition of Gemstones of the World.

Designing with Cat's Eye Quartz

If you're looking to design ornamental jewelry that's mystical and unique, then cat's eye quartz is a perfect choice. Due to its hardness and durability, cat's eye chrysoberyl is especially popular for use in men's jewelry, particularly in the form of cabochon rings. Matched pairs are ideal for earrings, shirt studs and cuff links.

Mix cat's eye quartz faceted beads with other natural gemstones such as onyx, moonstone or blackstone for a beautiful result. Cat's eye quartz beads can also be combined with earth-tone crystals for a stunning display of natural and sparkly optical phenomena.

View design inspirations featuring Cat's Eye Quartz in the Gallery of Designs

Shop for Cat's Eye Quartz Items

**Please note that all metaphysical or healing properties listed are collected from various sources. This information is offered as a service and not meant to treat medical conditions. Fire Mountain Gems and Beads® does not guarantee the validity of any of these statements.

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