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Hawk's Eye Gemstone Information

About Hawk's Eye - History and Introduction

Hawk's eye is a blue-gray to blue-green opaque gemstone variety of fibrous quartz. More specifically, it is a variety of macrocrystalline quartz. Hawk's eye is actually a pseudomorph of quartz. A pseudomorph is one mineral that changes into another mineral over time. In the case of hawk's eye, it began its life as crocidolite and was later transformed into quartz. Crocidolite is a fibrous blue mineral belonging to the riebeckite family of amphibole silicates. It is considered to be one of the several forms of asbestos. The transformation of hawk's eye begins as quartz slowly becomes embedded between the fibers of crocidolite, eventually completely replacing it while retaining the fibrous shape of the original mineral.

Hawk's eye is famed for its chatoyancy, reminiscent of the 'eye of a hawk'. It is closely related to tiger's eye and pietersite, both of which exhibit similar chatoyancy. Tiger's eye is actually formed from hawk's eye. As blue crocidolite is dissolved by quartz, traces of iron oxide remain; less iron tends to result in the blue color of crocidolite and if more iron is present, color tends to result in the brownish golden color of tiger's eye. Pietersite is any brecciated aggregate made up mostly of hawk's eye and tiger's eye. Pietersite has a rather chaotic swirling pattern because during its formation, materials that make up its composition are broken apart, swirled about and are then reformed and cemented together by quartz. Nowadays, the term 'pietersite' may be used to describe any brecciated form of hawk's eye or tiger's eye.

Hawk's Eye Gemstone
Hawk's Eye
Click to enlarge
Identifying Hawk's Eye Back to Top

Hawk's eye can be identified by a combination of its distinct composition, color and chatoyancy. Like all quartz, it has a silicon dioxide composition and relatively good hardness and durability (6.5 to 7 on the Mohs scale). Hawk's eye can be distinguished from tiger's eye by its bluish to blue-gray color. In some cases, bluish to bluish gray colors can only be seen as chatoyant flashes. Hawk's eye has a lower iron content than tiger's eye, which can help to distinguish the two similar materials. In fact, it is the oxidation of iron that turns hawk's eye into tiger's eye; iron turns the material browner.

Hawk's Eye; Origin and Sources Back to Top

Hawk's eye can be found in many locations around the world. Some of the most notable deposits and sources include Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, India, Korea, Myanmar (Burma), Namibia, South Africa, Spain and the United States (mostly Arizona and California). Thailand and the Northern Cape province of South Africa are the largest commercial suppliers of hawk's eye.

Buying Hawk's Eye and Determining Hawk's Eye Value Back to Top

Hawk's Eye Color

Hawk's eye is normally blue-gray to blue-green in color. Some materials may contain higher levels of oxidized iron, which results in a more bluish-brown color. Like tiger's eye, hawk's eye is typically multicolored with golden stripes or wavy patterns. Its chatoyancy can result in darker or lighter color tones depending on the viewing angle.

Hawk's Eye Clarity and Luster

Hawk's eye is an opaque fibrous aggregate. It exhibits an iridescence that enhances its silky luster, particularly when cut en cabochon. Hawk's eye chatoyancy or the 'bird's eye' effect can be seen as small rays of light reflecting off the surface of stones. With hawk's eye, the bird's eye effect can be seen even in plain, flat-cut stones.

Hawk's Eye Cut and Shape

Hawk's eye is almost always cut en cabochon in order to maximize the desirable chatoyant effects. In some cases, hawk's eye may be carved as an ornamental stone. Most stones are shaped as ovals, but other shapes may also be found, including pears, rounds and freeform shapes.

Hawk's Eye Treatment

Hawk's eye gemstones are not normally treated or enhanced in any way. Some darker and redder stones may have been dyed or heated to improve color, and in some rare cases, nitric acid can be used to lighten colors that are too dark. All reputable gemstone sellers declare any such enhancements. Imitation hawk's eye gemstones can be found; imitations are typically composed of artificial fiber-optic glass.

Hawk's Eye Gemological Properties: Back to Top
Chemical Formula: SiO2; Silicon dioxide
Crystal Structure: Trigonal / hexagonal; fibrous aggregate
Color: Blue-gray, blue-green, bluish brown
Hardness: 6.5 to 7 on the Mohs scale
Refractive Index: 1.534 to 1.540
Density: 2.58 to 2.64
Cleavage: None
Transparency: Opaque
Double Refraction or Birefringence: None
Luster: Silky
Fluorescence: None

Please refer to our Gemstone Glossary for details of gemology-related terms.

Hawk's Eye: Related or Similar Gemstones Back to Top
Pietersite Gemstone
Pietersite

Hawk's eye is one of the many types of macrocrystalline quartz. It is technically a pseudomorph of quartz that originally formed from fibrous crocidolite, one of several minerals which belong to the riebeckite family of amphibole silicates. Crocidolite is classified as a type of asbestos. As a type of quartz, there are many gemstone varieties that are similar or related to hawk's eye, including tiger's eye and pietersite. Tiger's eye is actually formed from hawk's eye, while pietersite is a rare type of gemstone composed mostly of hawk's eye and tiger's eye.

Tiger's eye is better known than hawk's eye and pietersite because it is much more common in occurrence. When tiger's eye is cut and finished with some of its host rock intact, it is traded as 'tiger's eye matrix'. There is another form of tiger's eye sometimes referred to as 'tiger's iron'. Tiger's iron is composed mostly of tiger's eye, along with red jasper and black hematite. It is often cut and finished with its matrix and traded as 'tiger's iron matrix'

Hawk's Eye Mythology, Metaphysical and Crystal Healing Back to Top

Hawk's eye belongs to the large family of quartz crystals. It is sometimes known as 'the falcon's eye', or as 'blue tiger's eye'. It is used for many metaphysical purposes. It is believed to help those with a fear of flying. It is thought to be good for sight and vision, enhancing our ability to focus. Physically, it is often used for problems with eyesight, but it is also helpful for sinus congestion, as well as spine and neck problems.

Hawk's eye is believed to be a stone of protection, often used by travelers. It can also be used to help protect against the negative energy of others. It is associated with the planet Jupiter and the astrological sign of Sagittarius. Its energy is known to help balance the brow chakra.

Disclaimer: Metaphysical and Alternative Crystal Healing Powers and Properties are not to be taken as confirmed advice. Traditional, Ceremonial and Mythological Gemstone Lore is collected from various resources and does not represent the sole opinion of SETT Co., Ltd. This information is not to replace the advice of your doctor. Should you have any medical conditions, please see a licensed medical practitioner. GemSelect does not guarantee any claims or statements of healing or astrological birthstone powers and cannot be held liable under any circumstances.
Hawk's Eye Gemstone and Jewelry Design Ideas Back to Top

Hawk's eye is actually quite rare, so it is not often seen in mainstream jewelry. Despite it being a rarer stone, when compared to tiger's eye, it is actually an affordable stone. It is also quite durable like other forms of quartz. Owing to its tribal look, it is often seen used in interesting pendants, or beaded necklaces. Hawk's eye gemstones can also be used for pretty much anything else imaginable, from earrings to rings and brooches. Many materials are carved into interesting floral cuts ideal for this type of jewelry design. Its attractive bluish-gray color makes it a popular gemstone for men's jewelry, particularly as cuff-links or tie-tacks.

Note: Buy colored gemstones by size and not by carat weight. Colored stones vary in size-to-weight ratio. Some stones are larger and others are smaller than diamonds by weight in comparison.

Hawk's Eye Gemstone Jewelry Care and Cleaning Back to Top

How to clean your gemstonesLike most quartz gemstones, hawk's eye is quite durable and resistant to wear and tear. However, it is sensitive to some acids, so cleaning should only done using only warm water and a mild soap or detergent. Avoid harsh chemicals and cleaners like bleach, ammonia or sulfuric acid. Also avoid the spraying of perfumes or hairspray on your hawk's eye gems. Ultrasonic cleaners and steamers are generally considered safe, but as with most gemstones, they are not recommended. Always remove any hawk's eye gems and jewelry before exercising, playing sports or performing any harsh household chores.

When storing hawk's eye gems, store them separately and away from other gems and jewelry. It is best to wrap stones individually using a soft cloth, or place them inside a fabric-lined jewelry box for extra protection.

  • First Published: April-18-2014
  • Last Updated: May-30-2014
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    Reproduction (text or graphics) without the express written consent of GemSelect.com (SETT Company Ltd.) is strictly prohibited.
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