I absolutely love working with Tiger’s eye. Given its rating on the Mohs scale of hardness, 6.5-7, Tiger’s eye has the perfect balance of durability and softness. I have transformed slabs of tiger’s eye into cabochons, earrings, necklaces, rings, and even household coasters. And the love for this stone can be traced back thousands of years! It was useful in ancient Rome as its reflectiveness aided in defeating opponents in battle. Additionally, the ancient Egyptians were said to have used this stone as the eyes for their deity statues.
What does tiger’s eye look like? You will know it when you see it! It’s an easy rock to identify because of its golden brown or brownish-gold color. Because of the iron content, some tiger’s eye will also contain some blue or bluish colors. Given its multicolored appearance, Tiger’s eye usually has brown, black or golden stripes with some wavy patterns. Because of its chatoyancy, some pieces can be darker or lighter given the viewing angle. This is what gives tiger’s eye its chatoyancy characteristic. Tiger’s eye also has a silky luster and an opaque transparency.
What are some other forms of tiger’s eye? Tiger iron is made up of tiger’s eye, red jasper and black hematite. Tiger’s iron almost appears like a scenic painting with the wavy stripes of these different materials. One very rare type of tiger iron, Marra Mamba, is found in the Mount Brockman area of Australia and is composed of red, green, yellow, and blue colors. Due to over-mining in this area, Marra Mamba is considered rare. If you happen to purchase or find some Marra Mamba, consider yourself a lucky rockhound!
My love for tiger’s eye would be incomplete with talking about pietersite. The origins of pietersite are said to be traced back to 1962 when Sid Pieters found some in Namibia, Africa. Given that pietersite has only been found in Naimbia and the Hunan state in China, there is some confusion about what exactly is pietersite. Pietersite from both locations does exhibit chatoyancy (like Tiger’s Eye), but what makes it strikingly different from tiger’s eye is that pietersite is composed of more swirls and circular patterns whereas tiger’s eye has continuous structured bands or fibers.