Thursday, October 7, 2010

Tigers Eye vs. Fiber Optic Stones

I think these stones are just beautiful. Especially when there is a bin of loose silky, soft, shiny tigers eye I can run my hands through. I came across some black beads that resembled tigers eye but were called fiber optic. I thought how strange. So I did a little searching online to see if tigers eye can come in a variety of colors or just the typical golden brown that you see so often.

Tigers eye is a member of the quartz family and is considered semi-precious.  True tigers eye in it's natural state is the golden variety we are so accustomed to. On some occasions due to the wonders of nature (for the scientists out there - fibers of the mineral crocidolite are replaced by insufficient silica), tigers eye can be blue and is known as Hawk's eye in that case (see pendant image).When you see a red toned tigers eye, it has been gently heated.  The best tigers eye is cut 'en cabochon'. Tigers eye can be found in South Africa and East Asia and are known to ward off evil and promote clear thinking. This stone is of the mind, not the body and would be great to use for meditation. Are you a Pisces, Gemini or Capricorn or a November birthday? This is your stone.


In order to get the variety of tigers eye colors you see at your favorite 'bead heaven', they have gone through a fiber optic process and then dyed. That's right, the run of the mill fiber optic quartz cable wire for instance. If you find a yellow or orange tigers eye bead strand, most likely it's not a true tigers eye, but that of fiber optic. Regardless, they're still beautiful in all their fabulous colors. Since they are synthetic, they are less expensive.



For the rock tumblers out there. Below is an image of a rough cut tigers eye specimen. Tigers eye is a 7 on the Mohs hardness scale. A rough cut of this stone can be easily tumbled with other quartz, agates and jasper stones. Beginner tumbler? This is a good stone to start out with. It will reach it's silky shine easily.


I enjoyed learning about Tigers Eye. I took it fore granted when I'd twist and turn it. Nature is truly a beautiful, mysterious thing. 


Sources: Wikipedia, crystal-cure.com, geology.com
Rough tiger’s eye. © iStockphoto / Robert Ellis.
Brown tiger’s eye beads. © iStockphoto / Sohfian Mohamed Kamari.
Hawk's Eye - jegem.com

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