Tiger Eye: Stone of Courage

Tiger’s eye, also called tigers eye and tiger eye, is a gemstone named after its appearance, which resembles the eye of the tiger as people remember it. The tiger eye stone is a yellow mineral characterized by chatoyancy, or iridescent luster. What gives the tigers eye stone this fibrous golden play of colors? What are the metaphysical properties attached to the tiger eye gemstone? Here we discuss the tiger eye rock, its properties, meaning and metaphysical benefits, as well as value and use in jewelry.

Tigers Eye Properties

What is a tiger eye stone? Tigers eye is member of the quartz group of minerals along with amethyst and chalcedony. The color of the tiger eye gemstone usually occurs from yellow to brown, though blue, green and black are naturally available, while red tiger eye stones are artificially produced through heat treatment. Like other quartz stones, the tigers eye stone is hard, with the hardness pegged at 7 in the Mohs scale.

Tiger's Eye

A raw tiger’s eye pebble
Source: Simon A. Eugster via Wikimedia Commons

Tigers eye is not quartz in its early beginning, but starts off as the fibrous mineral called crocidolite, also known as blue asbestos. Quartz crystal replaces the fibers of crocidolite, though other scientists now argue that quartz and crocidolite simultaneously grow in parallel fibers to make the tigers eye rock. Either way, this results in a parallel intergrowth of quartz crystals and traces of iron oxide, which gives the tigers eye gemstone its chatoyancy, or the golden luster that shifts with the angle of view or illumination.

Tiger Eye History

Tigers eye was first discovered in the early 1800s in South Africa. Thought to be a rare precious stone, the tiger eye stone entered the market at an extremely high price. A carat (1/5 gram) of the tiger eye gemstone sold for about $85. This was until another deposit of tigers eye was found in the western part of South Africa, wherefore the price of the tigers eye stone plummeted. By the 1900, the once highly valuable gem was considered only semiprecious.

Today, additional deposits of tigers eye have been found in several localities, including the United States, Australia, Brazil, India and Sri Lanka. The price of the tigers eye gemstone has accordingly been modest, though mostly due to the huge supply, without speaking ill of the beauty of the tiger eye stone, or the metaphysical properties attributed to it.

Tigers Eye Meaning

Tigers eye is a stone of courage. With its golden color, the tiger eye stone is a symbol of optimism, and is held to boost one’s courage, enhancing self-confidence. The tigers eye gemstone is believed to increase inner strength, thereby helping a person bring his ideas into reality.

Yet tigers eye is not homogenously yellow in color, but consists of parallel fibers of gold and black. The dark fibers in the tiger eye gemstone is attributed with the spiritual powers of the black onyx, making the tigers eye stone a grounding stone as well as a stone of courage.

Gemini Birthstone

Tiger is a birthstone for Gemini. To be specific, tiger eye is the talismanic stone, or stone used as talisman, for the zodiac sign Gemini. The tiger eye stone is believed quite helpful to the Gemini folk, on account that the gemstone grounds their often airy-fairy disposition, and gives them courage to face reality at the same time. For other birthstones for Gemini, see also Gemini Birthstones.

Tiger Eye Jewelry

Tigers eye is a popular choice of semiprecious stone in jewelry. The chatoyancy of the tiger eye stone sets it apart from other yellows stones made into ornaments. This chatoyant quality of tigers eye is best displayed by cutting the tiger eye gemstone into cabochons, where the cat’s eye effect of the tigers eye’s luster shines. These cabochons are then set in rings, necklaces and earrings.

Besides cabochons, the tigers eye stone is also cut into beads, which are then threaded together to make bracelets and beaded necklaces. Tiger eye’s natural beauty and affordability make it possible for the tigers eye gemstone to be worn lavishly around the neck, wrists and even ankles.

Tigers Eye Value

Though the price of tigers eye went as high as $85 a carat when it was first discovered, the tiger eye stone is a rather affordable stone, thanks to the discovery of its abundant sources. There’s no one price that accurately indicates the value of the tigers eye stone, however.

Tigers eye varies in color, pattern and luster, and the price of tiger eye stones varies with these qualities. Finer tiger eye gemstones displaying remarkable cat’s eye effect may find themselves set in fine jewelry, therefore commanding higher prices. As for the rest, like other semiprecious stones, the value of the tiger eye gemstone also rests with the quality of the jewelry’s craftsmanship.

Do you like tigers eye?

Also known as chatoyant quartz, tigers eye stands out from the rest of quartz minerals with its iridescent golden luster. The tiger eye stone is worn as a stone of courage and grounding stone at the same time. Do you like the tigers eye stone? Do you like wearing yellow stones in general? See also 33 Types of Yellow Gemstones for Jewelry.

Do you like to wear tigers eye jewelry?

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Published December 17, 2013Last updated July 1, 2016

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