Lionskin, also called honey stone, is a very interesting stone that is related to both tiger’s eye and quartz.
It is found almost exclusively as tumbled stones used for spiritual practices, but sometimes can be used for jewelry and sculptures.
It is not a very widely known stone, which makes it unique and rare in most places.
Since it is rather difficult to find, here are some tips on identifying it.
Lionskin Stone (Explained)
What is Lionskin Stone?
Lionskin stone is created when tiger’s eye and quartz fuse into a single stone.
This creates a very interesting stone that has the cats eye, or chatoyancy, of tiger’s eye, and the glisten of quartz.
It has coloring and markings reminiscent of a lion’s, which is why it’s called lionskin.
Recently, lionskin has been mistaken as a type of jasper, commonly called “lion skin jasper”, but this is a misnomer as it has no structural similarity to jasper.
However, it is easy to mistake lionskin for brown jasper, as they can sometimes have similar markings.
It is only found in a few mines of South Africa and Namibia, which is why it is such a rare stone.
Because of its rarity, genuine, unaltered lionskin stone tends to be fairly expensive.
Identifying Lionskin Stone
Lionskin is very valuable, so you want to ensure that what you have is genuine.
Use these pointers to help in identifying your lionskin.
Identify the colors
Because lionskin is partly tiger’s eye, it has similar coloring.
It generally is an amber hue with lighter and darker brown streaks.
Sometimes it has a reddish tint to it, as well.
The color is from the formation of tiger’s eye when silica replaces the crocidolite minerals.
It creates fibers that parallel each other, and that is how the chatoyancy is formed.
Then, it fuses with quartz to create lionskin.
Like tiger’s eye, lionskin retains the characteristic optical movement when held under light.
If you tilt the stone back and forth, you’ll notice the colors seem to pop out of the stone and move.
Identify the luster
“Luster” refers to how light is reflected off a stone.
Lionskin is a very unique crystal because, even though it looks like tiger’s eye, it has the luster of quartz.
When you hold the lionskin stone under light, it will reflect the light beautifully, similarly to a piece of quartz.
This is unusual when it comes to a stone that is not pure crystal, and is partially why lionskin is so desirable.
Identify the hardness
The MOHS hardness scale will help you find the hardness of a stone.
The lower it is on the MOHS scale, the softer the stone is, and vice versa.
Since both quartz and lionskin are between a six and a half to seven on the MOHS scale, lionskin is, as well.
This is easily tested by attempting to scratch something lower on the scale with the stone.
Glass is usually around a five to six, so try to scratch the glass with the lionskin.
If you are successful, then chances are that your stone is of the right hardness.
If you want to be absolutely sure, try to scratch the stone with something higher on the scale, like a drillbit.
This will help you to get the most accurate hardness reading.
Identify the clarity
When in reference to a stone, clarity means just what it sounds – how clear a stone is.
Although quartz generally has very high clarity, tiger’s eye is not clear at all.
Lionskin errs on the side of the tiger’s eye in this regard, so it is not clear like a quartz.
Ensure that it’s not altered
It has become common for vendors to treat and alter the stones to make them look more attractive.
This, obviously, creates stones that are not natural, and, therefore, not genuine.
Look out for stones that have colors that are a little too bold, or markings that are too perfect.
Oftentimes dyes are easy to spot because they look just like what they are: fake.
An easy way to recognize dyes is to look for the spiderweb effect.
Oftentimes, people will treat the stone or crystal with heat so that it gains tiny cracks on the inside.
Then, they inject the dye, which fills up the cracks, making the dye look like a spiderweb stretching through the stone.
Have a keen eye so that you don’t get swindled into paying extra for an expensive stone’s imposter.
Similar stones to watch out for
Although lionskin is a very unique stone, it is often confused with tiger’s eye, since they look so much alike.
While confusion of these two stones is very understandable, there are some ways to tell them apart.
The first is by the luster.
While tiger’s eye has beautiful displays under light, the luster is not quite as bright as lionskin.
This is easy to see if you are able to hold these two stones side by side.
Another way that’s relatively easy to spot is the coloring; while tiger’s eye is a clear amber with parallel banding, lionskin tends to have more random-looking discoloration.
It does not have the geometrical lines that tiger’s eye has, instead having swirls and dappling of other colors.
Brown jasper is another stone that can be confused with lionskin.
It has similar coloring and design, but it has less luster and tends to be more tan instead of amber.
Lionskin in history
Lionskin has been used throughout African history as talismans and protective stones.
Along with tiger’s eye, lionskin was thought to be effective in protection and bravery during battles and mental clarity and positive energy when off the battlefield.
This stone is known as very powerful in many different cultures.
How to care for lionskin
Since lionskin is such a durable stone, it is simple to clean.
You can also just rinse it off, but be sure to use a soft washcloth to dry it.
Keep it away from softer stones, as it is a very hard stone and can easily scratch them.
Lionskin is a very interesting and unique stone.
Its uncommon features are what make it the coveted stone that it is.
If you come across one, let its history enrich your experience with it.
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