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Cat's Eye Aquamarine Gemstone Information

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About Cat's Eye Aquamarine - History and Introduction

Cat's eye aquamarine is a variety of green-blue beryl which exhibits a rare phenomenon known as cat's eye chatoyancy. Cat's eye chatoyancy is an optical trait distinguished by a reflection of light that resembles the slit-eye of a cat. The unique reflection is caused by light reflected off parallel inclusions, typically composed of rutile needles, fibers or channels. This phenomenon is exceptionally rare and occurs only in a handful of different gems, such as chrysoberyl, apatite, moonstone and tourmaline. Cat's eye gemstones are best viewed under direct light. As the stone is rotated, a 'slit-eye-of-a-cat' reflection will appear to glide across the surface of the stone. Some aquamarine specimens may even reflect an asterism effect, known in the trade as 'star aquamarine'; they are exceptionally rare and extremely valuable. All varieties of aquamarine are birthstones for the month of March.

Cat's eye aquamarine belongs to the beryl group of gemstones and minerals (beryllium aluminum silicates). The beryl family is most famous for chromium-rich green emerald. Cat's eye aquamarine owes its color to iron impurities formed within colorless beryl crystal. All beryls possess excellent hardness and durability. Cat's eye aquamarine is always cut en cabochon in order to maximize its desirable chatoyancy effects. Though intensity of color is typically the most valuable trait for colored gemstones, when it comes to cat's eyes, the distinction of the 'eye' is considered most valuable. Specimens with clear, well-centered and well-defined eyes will always demand the highest prices.

Cat's Eye Aquamarine Gemstone

Identifying Cat's Eye Aquamarine

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Cat's eye aquamarine is easily distinguished from other aquamarine gems by the presence of chatoyancy. Typically, all aquamarine gems can be identified by their unique sea-blue color. Cat's eye aquamarine is quite hard and its vitreous luster can be difficult to replicate. All beryl gemstones, including cat's eye aquamarine, will typically exhibit long, rod-like inclusions. The presence of these inclusions can help identify cat's eye aquamarine from other similar materials. Cat's eye aquamarine can also be identified by the presence of iron and its distinct six-sided crystal structure. Other green-blue stones are typically much softer, and since very few gems tend to occur with chatoyancy, there are not many possibilities for confusion.

Cat's Eye Aquamarine Origin and Gemstone Sources

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Cat's eye aquamarine is exceptionally rare. It occurs in the same mines that other aquamarine stones are found. The leading producer of gemstone-quality material is Brazil. Other sources include Australia, Myanmar (Burma), China, India, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Zambia, Zimbabwe and the USA. Recently, Karur, India has become a recognized supplier of fine aquamarine.

Buying Cat's Eye Aquamarine and Determining Cat's Eye Aquamarine Gemstone Value

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Cat's Eye Aquamarine Color

Cat's eye aquamarine occurs in a variety of pastel green-blue colors, ranging from light-blue to dark-blue and blue-green to green-blue. Blue is generally more favorable than green, but unlike most other gems, cat's eye aquamarine does not diminish in value because of less favorable color. When it comes to cat's eye aquamarine, the distinction of the 'eye' is considered most valuable. Specimens with clear, well-centered and well-defined eyes demand the highest prices.

Cat's Eye Aquamarine Clarity and Luster

Aquamarine occurs transparent to translucent, but lower grade material may appear opaque. Cat's eye aquamarine is typically included and eye-clean specimens are extremely rare. Most inclusions appear as long, hollow rods, a hallmark of beryl gemstones. Cat's eye aquamarine has an extremely attractive vitreous (glass-like) luster.

Cat's Eye Aquamarine Cut and Shape

Cat's eye aquamarine is always cut en cabochon, most often in ovals, since these ovals tend to preserve the most carat weight. Round and pear shapes are very rare, especially in larger sizes, and like most gems, calibrated sizes will command a higher price-per-carat.

Cat's Eye Aquamarine Treatment

Cat's eye aquamarine can be heated to improve color, typically to reduce green and yellowish tones. Heating is done at relatively low temperatures (approximately 725-850F or 400-450C). Heating at higher temperatures can result in unfavorable color change. Though heating is common, many cat's eye aquamarine gemstones are completely untreated. In fact, only the darker, heavily included stones are heated.

Cat's Eye Aquamarine Gemological Properties:

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Chemical Formula: Al2Be3Si6O18, Aluminum beryllium silicate
Crystal Structure: Hexagonal, hexagonal prisms
Color: Light-blue to dark-blue, blue-green
Hardness: 7.5 - 8 on the Mohs scale
Refractive Index: 1.564 - 1.596
Density: 2.68 - 2.74
Cleavage: Indistinct
Transparency: Transparent to opaque
Double Refraction or Bifringence: -0.004 to -0.005
Luster: Vitreous
Fluorescence: None

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

Cat's Eye Aquamarine: Varieties or Similar Gemstones:

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Pink Salmon Morganite
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Cat's eye aquamarine is a specific variety of aquamarine, defined as the green-blue chatoyant variety of beryl. Since cat's eye aquamarine is a beryl, there are many closely related gemstone varieties. Beryl can occur in a variety of colors and each color variety is identified by its own unique trade name. Other beryl gemstones include green-blue aquamarine, pink morganite, red bixbite, goshenite and heliodor (golden beryl). Some beryls are very common, while others are considered extremely rare. Cat's eye aquamarine is considered to be one of the rarer beryl gems and top grade specimens are extremely valuable. There are also a few unrelated gems with similar colors that can be confused with aquamarine, such as larimar, amazonite, tourmaline, spinel and sapphire. But of these gems, only tourmaline, spinel and sapphire are known to occur with chatoyancy or asterism effects.

Most Popular Similar or Related Gemstone Varieties and Trade Names:

Emerald, precious beryl or golden beryl, aquamarine and morganite are the most popular closely related gemstones.

Lesser-Known Similar or Related Gemstone Varieties and Trade Names:

Star aquamarine, bixbite (red beryl), heliodor (golden beryl), green beryl and goshenite (colorless beryl) are the lesser-known closely related gemstones.

Cat's Eye Aquamarine Gemstone Mythology, Metaphysical and Healing Powers

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According to legend, aquamarine originated in the treasure chests of mystical mermaids. Legends say that aquamarines were the prized possessions of many mermaids, and they would help protect sailors from the dangers of sea, including warding off the symptoms of sea-sickness. Since ancient times, cat's eye aquamarine, along with other varieties of aquamarine, have been regarded as a 'sailor's lucky stone'.

Cat's eye aquamarine owes its name to the Latin word for 'seawater'. The sea-blue stone has a long tradition of being one of the favored gemstone for seamen. Aquamarine has a place in many cultures, including Ancient Greek and Roman culture; they also knew aquamarine to be a 'sailor's gem', and believed it would help ensure safe and prosperous travels across stormy seas. It was often used to help sailors ensure safe and prosperous travels across the stormy waters.

Cat's eye aquamarine is the planetary stone for Neptune and it is also an official birthstone for March. The healing powers of gems has been mentioned for centuries by healers, shamans and medicine men. Whether it's based on fact or is simply a placebo effect, it truly doesn't matter, as long as it helps those who believe. The best practice is to wear the gemstone in direct contact with the skin, especially near the injured part of the body. Physically, cat's eye aquamarine is thought to alleviate the symptoms of arthritis, eye inflammation, sore throat and also reduce unsightly varicose veins.

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 is not 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.

Cat's Eye Aquamarine Gemstone and Jewelry Design Ideas

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Cat's eye aquamarine is an especially decorative gem, featuring soft and attractive colors that can accent almost every skin tone and eye color. The softness of aquamarine is why it remains an all-time favorite gem for women all over the world. Although cat's eye aquamarine gemstones are extremely rare, they remain moderately priced. They most likely won't be found in local jewelry stores, so online gemstone suppliers may be the only place to find a good selection of shapes and colors.

Cat's eye aquamarine possesses excellent durability and hardness, which qualifies it for any type of jewelry application, including gemstone cabochon rings. Emerald, the green sister of aquamarine, is usually treated with resin or oil to fill fractures and to improve stability and color, but cat's eye aquamarine typically requires no special treatments or enhancements. In fact, it's absolutely ideal for jewelry setting in a natural untreated state. Many jewelry designs use unprocessed rough crystal in their jewelry. The unique six-sided hexagon crystal structure is ideal for those who love crystal pendants.

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 diamond by weight in comparison.

Cat's Eye Aquamarine Gemstone and Jewelry Care and Cleaning

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How to clean your gemstonesAquamarine is one of the more durable types of gemstone, but that doesn't mean it doesn't require cleaning and care. Avoid wearing aquamarine jewelry when working around harsh chemicals and always remove gems and jewelry before playing sports, exercising or doing any household chores. To prevent scratches, always store aquamarine gemstones separately from other types of gems and jewelry.

When cleaning, you can use warm soapy water and a soft cloth. Avoid bleach and other harsh cleaners. Use only a mild soap or detergent if needed. Be sure to rinse your stones well to ensure all soapy residue is removed. Wrap your stones in a soft cloth when storing them for extended periods of time. It is best to keep them in a fabric-lined jewelry box when your gems are not being worn.

  • First Published: September-05-2013
  • Last Updated: January-07-2019
  • © 2005-2019 GemSelect.com all rights reserved.
    Reproduction (text or graphics) without the express written consent of GemSelect.com (SETT Company Ltd.) is strictly prohibited.
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Gems are always measured in Millimeter (mm)

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