Cats-Eyes, Tigers-Eyes, And Stars

e you ever, while looking through a bunch of polished stones, suddenly notice a streak of lightning flash over one, and then it was gone? Then, you try to find it again, and it is just nowhere to be found. While you are frantically trying to find it, do you wonder what creates that streak of light? Here, I will tell you the sources of lightning for Cats-eyes, Tiger-eyes, and star Sapphires, which are all essentially the same.

Cats-eye: When you get a shiny piece of wire, and move it around, there is only one point where the light is reflected, and this point moves around as you move the wire. Let’s say you put it flat on a table. There is still a point where the light is reflected (let’s call it the point of reflection). Now, you put another piece of wire exactly next to it, and the point of reflection on that wire is right next to the first one! Now, put ten more pieces of wire along the first two, and you have line of light seeming to flash along the wires. In stone, much of their crystal makeup is fibrous, so the fibers do the same thing the wires do, only the fibers are much thinner, making a more uniform line of light.

Tiger-eye: A long time ago, there was some Crocidolite (a blue, very fibrous stone) that became completely buried. As the inividual fibers broke down, they would be replaced by Silicon Dioxide, or Chalcedony. Because the fibers are randomly zig-zagged, there are many points of reflection, and so there are many streaks of lightning all over the stone.

Star Sapphire: Ooookay, here is the complicated one. First, we have tiny Chrysoberyl crystal, twinned in several directions and very fibrous (photo below). Then we have the larger in diameter Sapphire, growing from underneath the Chrysoberyl. Over time, the Sapphire grows around the Chrysoberyl, then over on top, so the Chrysoberyl is now completely encased in Sapphire. Now, along come some miners who mine the Sapphire and sell it to a lapidary, who notices the Chrysoberyl fibers and cabs the Sapphire so that the Chrysoberyl is exactly in the center of the Cab. This is so that the light goes through the transparent Sapphire and reflects off the individual Chrysoberyl fibers, creating a Six-rayed star of light.



When you walk past someone with a regular Sapphire, just a grey cab, or a brown stone, you don’t really notice, but when you walk past someone with a flash of lightning across their chest you are going to gasp. If you are going to a party, wear the brightest possible Cats-eye. You are sure to get heads turning.










1 thought on “Cats-Eyes, Tigers-Eyes, And Stars

  1. The Right Thing

    that is awesome! One of these days I’m going to a jewelry store and ask those questions :)opa


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