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: Chrysoberyl Cat's Eye Info

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.

Cat's Eye Chrysoberyl Gemstone
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 Color

Chrysoberyl cat's eye is typically found in shades of lemon and lime, ranging from greenish yellow to light honey. It can also occur in attractive shades of mint-green to darker brownish-green. Typically, lighter, golden colored stones are considered most desirable.

Chrysoberyl Cat's Eye Clarity and Luster

Chrysoberyl cat's eye is often translucent to opaque, owing to the presence of natural needle-like inclusions. However, in most cases, since the inclusions are responsible for the desirable cat's eye effect, the reduced level of transparency does not affect the stone's overall value. Cat's eye chrysoberyl typically has an attractive vitreous luster.

Chrysoberyl Cat's Eye Cut and Shape

Chrysoberyl cat's eye is always cut en cabochon in order to maximize the desirable chatoyancy. They are most often finished in oval, round or pear shapes, as these shapes tend to preserve the most rough carat weight. Calibrated gemstones are available, but will typically command higher premiums. Most cat's eye chrysoberyl gemstones are 'native cut' and often feature 'uneven bottoms'. For this gem type, uneven bottoms are quite acceptable, because in order to center the cat's eye, cuts necessitate unevenness.

Chrysoberyl Cat's Eye Treatment

Chrysoberyl cat's eye is not typically treated or enhanced in any way.

Chrysoberyl Cat's Eye Gemological Properties: Back to Top
Chemical Formula: BeAl2O4 Beryllium aluminum oxide
Crystal Structure: Orthorhombic; thick-tabled, intergrown triplets
Color: Golden yellow, green yellow, green, brownish, red, colorless
Hardness: 8.5 on the Mohs scale
Refractive Index: 1.746 to 1.763
Density: 3.70 to 7.78
Cleavage: Good
Transparency: Transparent to opaque
Double Refraction or Birefringence: 0.007 to 0.011
Luster: Vitreous
Fluorescence: Usually none; green: weak; dark-red

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

Chrysoberyl Cat's Eye: Varieties or Similar Gemstones: Back to Top
Natural Chrysoberyl Cat's Eye
Buy Chrysoberyl

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.

Most Popular Similar or Related Gemstones Varieties and Trade Names:

Transparent 'golden' chrysoberyl and color-change alexandrite are the most popular related gemstones.

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

Cat's eye alexandrite (cymophane alexandrite), pink alexandrite, yellow alexandrite (cymophane) and vanadium chrysoberyl are among the lesser-known related gemstones.

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.

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.
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

How to Clean your GemstonesChrysoberyl 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: October-12-2017
  • © 2005-2017 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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Size and Weight

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length x width x depth,
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Gem varieties vary in density, so carat weight is not a good indication of size

Note: 1ct = 0.2g

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