Tiger’s eye is a very popular stone.
It has beautiful banding that looks three dimensional and seems to dance in the light.
Commonly used in jewelry and decorative pieces, it has also been used in many different cultures as talismans for protection, luck, and bravery.
If you are on the lookout for this gorgeous stone, you want to make sure that what you find is actually a genuine tiger’s eye.
How To Tell if Tiger Eye Stone Is Real
What Is Tiger Eye Stone?
Tiger’s eye is a relatively rare stone.
It is found most commonly in South Africa, although it has been known to make appearances in Mexico, Australia, India, and the U.S.
It is primarily an amber stone with banding of dark brown and golden yellow.
When polished, it displays prominent striations reminiscent of a cat’s eye that appears to move in the light.
It is actually composed of asbestos that is altered by iron oxide inside and then replaced by silica, all inside of quartz.
This contamination is what creates the cat’s eye look.
It has come to be an incredibly popular stone, especially for jewelry.
Identifying tiger’s eye
Tiger’s eye is a very unique stone that is generally pretty easy to identify.
However, it can be confused with other stones that may be synthetic or dyed, so here are some simple ways to ensure that what you have is, indeed, tiger’s eye.
What color is it?
As stated above, tiger’s eye is generally mostly an amber color with dark brown and golden banding.
However, the color can vary in some cases.
Tiger’s eye can range from dark brown to light brown, usually with a reddish tint.
This is due to the high amount of iron oxide, which produces that rusty, reddish-brown color.
Does it have the “cat’s eye”?
The most distinctive feature of a tiger’s eye is the “cat’s eye”, which is a unique banding that mimics the vertical pupil in a cat’s eye; hence, the name “tiger’s eye”.
This cat’s eye look is also called a chatoyancy.
The chatoyancy produces a very unusual transparent look, even though the stone is opaque.
This is why the banding seems to move or dance when moved under a light.
However, if you have a raw piece of tiger’s eye, the chatoyancy may not be very prominent.
You can check the chatoyancy by shining a light underneath it, which will cause the banding to shine through.
How is the luster?
“Luster” refers to how light is reflected off a stone.
When polished correctly, tiger’s eye has a very unique, silky luster, thanks to the silica inclusions; it should almost have a glass-like shine.
When directly under a light, the luster should turn to a silvery gloss.
In order to best polish the stone, it must be cut and cleaned in the direction of the fibers.
If it is incorrectly cleaned or polished and when in its raw form, the luster is very dull.
This is why it can be difficult to determine whether or not it’s a tiger’s eye when it is just pulled out of the earth.
What is the hardness?
The MOHS scale helps you determine the hardness of a stone.
The scale goes from one to ten, so the lower a stone is on the scale, the softer it is, and vice versa.
Since tiger’s eye is a type of quartz, it is a seven on the MOHS hardness scale.
Luckily, it is very easy to test a stone’s hardness.
A material will not be scratched by anything lower on the scale, but it will be scratched by something higher on the scale.
A simple way to test with any kind of quartz is to see if it’ll scratch glass, since glass is lower on the MOHS scale.
Then, you can see if something higher up on the hardness scale is able to scratch the tiger’s eye.
An emery board (or nail file) is higher up, so if that scratches your stone, then there’s a good chance that it’s a genuine tiger’s eye.
Is it magnetic?
This can seem like a strange test, considering that gemstones are not typically magnetic.
However, one of the inclusions in tiger’s eye is hematite, which is the iron oxide present in the stone.
Since iron is magnetic, tiger’s eye often is, as well.
Of course, its magnetic strength depends on how much hematite is in the stone, so the attraction can vary.
But, all tiger’s eye has at least some magnetic response, so if nothing happens when held up to a magnet, your tiger’s eye may not be genuine.
Remember, it’s always important to identify your stone
Tiger’s eye stones are rare, unique, and beautiful, which means that they are generally pretty expensive.
Because of this, you want to ensure that your tiger’s eye is genuine and not a different stone.
Despite its uniqueness, there are other stones that can sometimes be confused with tiger’s eye, such as the hawk’s eye stone.
Hawk’s eye is actually a precursor to tiger’s eye, which retains its cobalt-blue color.
It is equally as beautiful and also has the cat’s eye banding, but the asbestos has not fully oxidized, which keeps it blue instead of reddish brown.
Some other chatoyant stones are chrysoberyl and apatite.
So, you can’t just rely on the cat’s eye feature to ensure that you have a tiger’s eye; you must also look at the color.
You should also be sure that what you have is tiger’s eye so that you can care for it properly.
Although quartz-based stones are pretty hard and not easily damaged, it is important to understand proper care so that your stone can keep its beauty and luster.
Cleaning your tiger’s eye can be done with warm water with or without dissolved sea salt and a soft washcloth.
Avoid using anything abrasive like steel wool, or even the backside of a sponge.
You can also purchase a stone polishing kit to help you keep your stone as lustrous as possible.
Tiger’s eye is very special.
You always want to ensure that what you have is genuine, so that you can provide proper care to this ancient and beautiful stone.
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