Chrysoberyl Cat's Eye Gemstone Information
About Chrysoberyl Cat's Eye - History and Introduction
Chrysoberyl cat's eye is a gemstone quality variety of beryllium aluminum oxide which exhibits a rare optical trait known as 'chatoyancy'. Chatoyancy is the unique ability to reflect light in a way that resembles the slit eye of a cat, hence the name 'cat's eye'. Chrysoberyl is considered the 'original' cat's eye gem, and is in fact the only gem that can be traded as simply 'cat's eye'; all other varieties must be traded using very specific names, such as 'cat's eye quartz' or 'cat's eye apatite'. Unlike most other cat's eyes, chrysoberyl can exhibit very sharp and distinct eyes under almost any kind of light, which makes it extremely attractive and desirable, especially combined with its superior level of hardness and durability.
The chrysoberyl species was first discovered in 1789 by renowned geologist, Abraham Gottlob Werner. For many years, it was referred to as simply 'chrysolite', but today, the term is no longer commonly used. Despite its descriptive name, chrysoberyl is not actually a beryl, which is aluminum beryllium silicate, whereas chrysoberyl is beryllium aluminum oxide. Some forms of chrysoberyl may exhibit the unique ability to change color under different lighting sources; these are known in the trade as 'alexandrite'. Color change chrysoberyl is considered to be one of rarest and most valuable gems today.
Identifying Chrysoberyl Cat's Eye Back to Top
Most gemstones have a unique crystalline structure that is useful for identifying minerals and materials. Chrysoberyl belongs to the orthorhombic crystal system, forming as tabular crystals and slender prisms. Crystal twins and triplets are quite common. Cat's eye chrysoberyl is colored by iron, while color change chrysoberyl (alexandrite) is colored by chromium. Through spectroscopic analysis, cat's eye chrysoberyl can be easily identified from similar materials. Rare chrysoberyl specimens that exhibit color change and chatoyancy ability are traded and identified as 'cat's eye alexandrite'.
Chrysoberyl Cat's Eye Origin and Gemstone Sources Back to Top
Chrysoberyl is a very rare mineral and gemstone quality deposits of cat's eye are even rarer. Most chrysoberyl cat's eye is sourced from Brazil, China, India, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe. Some other notable sources include Burma (Myanmar), India, Tanzania, Madagascar, Pakistan, Russia and the United States.
Buying Chrysoberyl Cat's Eye and Determining Chrysoberyl Cat's Eye Gemstone Value Back to Top
Chrysoberyl Cat's Eye Gemological Properties: Back to Top
Please refer to our Gemstone Glossary for details of gemology-related terms.
Chrysoberyl Cat's Eye: Varieties or Similar Gemstones: Back to Top
Chrysoberyl cat's eye is one variety of the chrysoberyl gemstone family. Golden chrysoberyl is more common than cat's eye, while chromium-rich alexandrite is considered the rarest and most valuable member of the chrysoberyl group. In addition, chrysoberyl has several mineral associations, including muscovite, biotite, microcline and albite. There are a few closely related gems, and various gems that can cause confusion, such as other cat's eye gemstones, including cat's eye tourmaline and cat's eye apatite.
Chrysoberyl Cat's Eye Gemstone Mythology, Metaphysical and Alternative Crystal Healing Powers Back to Top
In the world of gems and crystal healing lore, chrysoberyl cat's eye can be a stone of discipline and self-control, thought to increase concentration and learning ability, whilst enhancing the desire for excellence. Chrysoberyl cat's eye can also help increase self-confidence and bring peace of mind, as well as enhance creativity, imagination and intuition. Chrysoberyl cat's eye can bridge the gap between the physical and spiritual world. It carries a strong and warm healing energy and is associated with the crown chakra.
Since ancient times, all forms of chrysoberyl have been regarded as stones of protection. Additionally, owing to their attractive golden color, they're often associated with money and wealth.
Chrysoberyl Cat's Eye Gemstone and Jewelry Design Ideas Back to Top
Cat's eye chrysoberyl is especially popular for use in men's jewelry, particularly in the form of cabochon rings. Owing to its superior hardness and durability, it is a favorite for many fine jewelers and jewelry designers around the world. Its highly desirable golden color is suited to both men and women. Matched pairs are ideal for earrings, shirt studs and cuff-links.
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 Chrysoberyl Gemstone and Jewelry Care and Cleaning Back to Top
Chrysoberyl cat's eye is durable enough to be cleaned using ultrasonic cleaners or steamers, but care should always be taken. Chrysoberyl is considered to be extremely hard and durable, but it can be easily scratched by harder gems, such as sapphire and diamond. For maintenance, wipe your gemstones using a soft cloth and plain soapy water; avoid bleach and other harsh household cleaners. Be sure to rinse well to remove all soapy residue.
Always remove gems and jewelry before exercising, playing sports or performing household chores. When removing jewelry, do not pull from the stone, because doing so will weaken the metal or prongs, which can lead to a lost stone. When storing your chrysoberyl gems and jewelry, it is best to store them separately and away from other gemstones. If possible, wrap them in a soft cloth and place them inside a fabric-lined jewelry box for added protection.
- First Published: November-29-2013
- Last Updated: September-18-2017
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