Tiger's Eye Stone - Characteristics and Cutting

The ancient Arabs and Greeks believed that tiger's eye gave clarity of thought, activated personal power, and integrated the spirit with the energy of the earth. This gem of unique beauty, even today, is widely used in order to promote spiritual and mystical benefits.

In jewelry, in addition to the beauty and mystery that surrounds it, the stone stands out for its versatility of application and affordable cost.

Tiger's Eye Stone
Tiger's Eye Stone

The tiger's eye is a gem widely used in jewelry, for its beauty, mysticism and versatility.

Furthermore, the price is very affordable. Traditionally, it is often used in jewelry to celebrate the ninth wedding anniversary as earrings, necklaces, rings, etc.

The tiger's eye associated with other stones in a jewel promotes rare beauty and originality.

It can be used in different design styles, from jewelry, innovative designs to classic jewelry. This shows the versatility of a gem with unique coloring and effects.

Tiger's eye belongs to the quartz family, formed from hawk's eye, a classic example of pseudomorphism (which is the internal alteration of the mineral, but the external appearance remains the same as that of another mineral).

Crocidolite, which is very dense and has a fibrous structure in the form of parallel wavy bands, undergoes a process of replacement with quartz.

During this process, iron, present in crocidolite, dissolves and stains the quartz, giving the gem colors ranging from yellow to reddish brown in bands, with a shine and silky appearance.

Tiger's Eye, Bull's Eye and Hawk's Eye Stones

When the iron level in crocidolite is high enough, the yellow color becomes visible to the tiger's eye body, where tiny particles of limonite are scattered between the quartz fibers.

It received this name due to the Chatoyanty or chatoiance effect (in Portuguese). This optical effect is caused by the fibrous inclusions in the mineral's body which, when structured in a single direction, produce a luminous band over the gem, giving the appearance of the shine of a cat's eye.

In French chat is cat.

Tiger Eye

gemological characteristics

  • Group: silicates
  • Mineral class: quartz
  • Crystal system: trigonal
  • Chemical formula: SiO
  • Hardness: 7 mohs
  • Density: 2,65
  • Fracture: non-existent
  • Color: yellow-brown
  • Trace color: white
  • Luster: Vitreous to silky
  • Fluorescence: absent
  • Fracture: chipped or conchoidal

Tiger's eye is composed of silicate, iron dioxide, sulfur, manganese and traces of chromium.


  • South America
  • Australia
  • USA
  • Canada
  • Namíbia
  • India
  • Myanmar

Warmer tones are more common, some rare stones may present blue (calls from Hawk Eye), this happens when pseudomorism is not complete.

The red ones are obtained through heat treatment. Some stones in green tones are rarely found.

Treatments are not widely used.

Cutting is mainly done on cabochons, which allow for a better visualization of the boring effect.

They have a silky sheen and the surface is smooth to the touch.

Rough Tiger's Eye Stone
Rough Tiger's Eye Stone

This cut gives the stone the look of a large animal's eye. Tiger's eye is often used with gold because the metal brings out the beautiful colors of the stone.

Marra mamba

The marra mamba tiger's eye is another one of Australia's greatest gemstone treasures.

It is found in a small warehouse in the Hamersley Ranges, located in northwest Australia.

The deposit is the only known source in the world for this richly colored stone.

Marra Mamba Tiger's Eye Stone
Marra Mamba Tiger's Eye Stone

The marra mamba tiger's eye occurs in isolated pockets in seams of blue crocidolite, they often feature beautiful intricate patterns of bright metallic hematite.

Marra Mamba is related to tiger iron, an altered rock composed of tiger's eye, red jasper and black hematite.

The marra mamba tends to have more of a coppery tinge than most tiger eyes, it has more hematite.

The best pieces have a general reddish color.

The marra mamba is unique, hard to find and very expensive when found.

It is named after the area where it formed millions of years ago in the large iron-rich geological formation of the Pilbara region.

The marra mamba tiger's eye is not sold wholesale. The mine owner in Australia sells only small quantities at a time, for a high price.

Types of cutting

As we have already said, the cut most used for the tiger's eye is the cabochon, in different shapes such as square, round, oval, etc., as you can see in the figure below.

Types of faceting of the Tiger's Eye stone
Types of faceting of the Tiger's Eye stone

The faceted shapes are rarer and used to give a special touch to the design of the pieces. Round shapes (spheres) and tiger's eye pebbles are often used in necklaces and earrings.

Therapeutic properties

Mystics believe that this gem is a giver of courage, self-confidence and determination. They say that the stone has a very great spiritual power in itself.

It helps those who use it to enter a vibrational range, where personal strength is combined with divine strength and, with that, the person performs and fulfills all his purposes. It positively strengthens the mental aspect, making the person believe in their strength and in their power to achieve.

They believe that the power of the stone is mental and not physical.

The male rosary, known in Tibet as Japa Mala, in the East as Masbaha and in Greece as Comboloi, is used by all religions for meditation, prayers and requests for help.

Treatments and imitations

Tiger's eye stones are typically not treated or reinforced.

In specific situations, dyeing and heating can be used to obtain reddish stones or various shades of brown.

In some rare cases, nitric acid can be used to lighten very dark colors.

When tiger's eye is cut and some of its host rock appears intact it is marketed as "tiger's eye matrix".

Tiger eye imitations can also be found and are generally composed of plastic resin, glass or ceramic.

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