Virtually all of the Tiger’s Eye on the market is mined in South Africa, regardless of whether it’s gold, red or blue (Hawk’s Eye). Cat’s Eye Quartz is a grey Tiger’s Eye found in Zimbabwe. Tiger Iron is a rock found in Australia that combines Gold Tiger’s Eye with Red Jasper and silver Hematite.
What is Tiger’s Eye?
Tiger’s Eye is a rare Silicate mineral. Silicate minerals form the largest family of minerals, including more than 25% of all known minerals and 40% of all common minerals. In addition to being a major part of the Earth’s crust, Silicate minerals have also been found on the moon and in meteorites. Silicates are minerals which contain the elements Silicon (a light gray shiny metal) and Oxygen (a colorless gas). Together, these two elements form a tetrahedron – a shape similar to a pyramid – with a Silicon atom in the center and Oxygen atoms at each of the four corners. These tetrahedra connect with other chemical structures, in six different ways, to form various minerals and rocks. There are six main groups of Silicate minerals, and these main groups are further subdivided into secondary subdivisions, such as Quartz and Feldspar. Tiger’s Eye is a semi-precious variety of Quartz that exhibits chatoyancy, or a vertical luminescent band. Most Tiger’s Eye is golden-brown, but it can also be red, blue or gray.
Tiger’s Eye is formed when Quartz replaces the mineral Crocidolite (blue asbestos). As the Crocidolite decomposes, Iron is exposed and oxidized which transforms it into limonite. Tiger’s Eye is essentially limonite fibers embedded in Quartz. Early in the process the stone is still grey or blue and may be called Cat’s Eye, Hawk’s Eye or Blue Tiger’s Eye). As the process continues, the blue is gradually replaced by gold, and the stone is then called Gold Tiger’s Eye. If the Gold Tiger’s Eye is then heated, either by natural causes or artificially by humans, the stone’s color may become red, at which point it is called Red Tiger’s Eye.
How is Tiger’s Eye mined?
Tiger’s Eye is mined from primary deposits, which are located in metamorphic rock. Tiger’s Eye is mined in an open pit setting, since Tiger’s Eye is found directly under the soil. Tiger’s Eye is the principal stone mined in the larger deposits in South Africa and Western Australia. In smaller deposits, the main purpose of a mine is more likely to be asbestos and Iron.
Is Tiger’s Eye natural?
All gold and blue Tiger’s Eye and grey Cat’s Eye is natural, enhanced only by cutting and polishing. Much of the Red Tiger’s Eye has been heat-treated to bring out a more vibrant color
Julie Abouzelof is the owner of Moonrise Crystals and an advocate for responsibly sourced gems and minerals. Her first career was in education teaching history, geology and anthropology, as well as working with special-needs students. She is now a heart-centered entrepreneur who encourages mindfulness and positive action to heal ourselves and the world. Julie lives in Hawaii with her lover and a little parrot named Darwin.