Look into the eye of a magnificent tiger. That creature's animal magnetism gleams in this golden-yellow, deeply banded gemstone. Tigereye (also called "tiger's eye stone") is silicified crocidolite in quartz. When it's cut into shapes, that iridescent undulating luster (also called chatoyancy) is as hypnotic as the eye of tiger.
Lower levels of iron during the stone's formation can result in stones with a blue tinge. Maroon forms of tigereye are almost always dyed or heated to create or enhance that shade. Nitric acid is sometimes used to lighten or brighten specimens which are too dark.
The eye of the tiger gleams in iridescent splendor. It is more than the thrill of a fight--it is clear-sighted vision to see past survival.
Tigereye Metaphysical Properties
All you have to do to know the spiritual value of tigereye is think of its name. Tigereye promotes clear-eyed vision, helping us see ourselves and the world better. Like the great cat it's named for, this gemstone knows the importance of being attentive to the details. Tigereye is said to combine earth energy with light or sun energy, creating an intense stone that's also well-grounded. Tigereye is said to enhance psychic and empathic energies, while protecting its wearer with an unblinking eye. For that reason it's also commonly used to ease the eyes, through meditation, physical placement on closed lids or other methods. Tigereye is thought to remind you to stop, look and listen before you do any leaping.
Different colors are believed to have slightly different effects. Blue tigereye is thought to alleviate and release stress; gold tigereye is said to encourage attention to detail; finally, some practitioners apply red tigereye to overcome lethargy of the body, mind and/or spirit.
Tigereye Geological Properties
Tigereye is created when quartz forms over crocidolite--a material of fine, bundled fibers similar to asbestos. (Yes, really!) These are what create the stone's distinctive chatoyant effect. As the quartz layers over and replaces the crocidolite, the iron within it dissolves and stains the quartz, resulting in the golds and browns of standard tigereye. It is a pseudomorph of quartz: a form of quartz which has transformed from its original state.
Tigereye also occurs within or next to a matrix of metallic grey hematite and red jasper, creating the stone we call tiger iron.
Tigereye is found in a range of locations: South Africa, Namibia, Australia, India and Thailand. The deposits in South Africa are so extensive, they keep this stone very affordable.
Silicon dioxide, macrocrystalline quartz
Gold/yellow with brown; deep grey with black; red
1.544 - 1.553
Proper Care of Tigereye
As a form of quartz, tigereye is remarkably durable and resilient. However, it is sensitive to acids in some common household cleaners and solvents. Avoid bleach, ammonia and sulfuric acid. Ultrasonic and steam cleaners are generally safe for quartzes--even pseudomorph quartzes--although caution should be used with the steamers due to possibilities of color shifts by heating. Warm water and a mild soap are safe to use. A soft cloth is recommended, although quartz's higher hardness does help it resist minor scratching.
To learn more about tigereye and other gemstones, order your copy of Walter Schumann's revised and expanded edition of Gemstones of the World.
Designing with Tigereye
Tigereye is usually cut in large, smooth shapes (cabochons and flat ovals are popular) in order to enhance the appearance of the cat's eye effect. It's a popular stone in designs for masculine, feminine and unisex jewelry. The golden color tones of standard tigereye work surprisingly well in silver settings, the red is gorgeous with both gold and silver and the blue looks stunning in copper. In addition, don't overlook the deep grey/black form of tigereye. It has the sleek power and beauty of a black panther--like tiny bits of dynamite with a tiger inside them. That's one powerful combination!
**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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