What Is Cat’s Eye Jewelry?

Have you ever seen a gorgeous honey-colored gemstone that seemed to mimic the eye of a cat? Perhaps you have seen a gorgeous darker stone with a surprising straight flash running through it. At the root of this appearance is chatoyancy, which is a fancy term that denotes the reflection of the light as a single ray. Sometimes the gemstone seems to change coloration depending on the viewpoint of the buyer. This type of phenomenon is called an alexandrite cat’s eye. Skilled gemstone cutters enhance this look with a cabochon cut.
While it is true that there are some gemstones that have a structure giving rise to the mineral rutile associated with the cat’s eye phenomenon, the stones most commonly described with this term are in the chrysoberyl group. This gemstone contains a combination of beryllium and aluminum oxide.
Other stones that feature varying degrees of chatoyancy include apatite, quartz and tourmaline. It is interesting to note that many jewelers refer to a chrysoberyl showcasing the cat’s eye simply by the latter terminology. If it is a different stone, they usually call it a quartz cat’s eye or tourmaline cat’s eye, depending on the type.
In addition to being an optical phenomenon in a gemstone, cat’s eye jewelry has also captured the imagination of the folklorist and alternative healer. Indian mythology teaches that cat’s eye jewelry is associated with Ketu, which is known as a shadow planet that denotes the intersection of the sun and moon as well as a demon that was vanquished by Vishnu.
Believers are convinced that wearing this type of gemstone has the power to increase intelligence as well as innate wisdom. Stones featuring pronounced straight chatoyancy are also considered to be magnets for wealth but repellents for physical and mental weaknesses. To fully realize the positive effects of the stone, it should be worn set in a ring or bracelet. Wearing it as a pendant is insufficient. These stones should be worn on Thursday and Friday evenings.
Although this type of gemstone is popular for ladies’ rings as well as for use in alternative healings, men in particular are eager consumers of this gem. Properly cut and set, cat’s eye stone can be seen in signet rings, cuff links and tie pins. Men who enjoy Victorian-style jewelry pieces appreciate the added charm that chatoyancy provides.
Buyers should be aware that it is possible to imitate the cat’s eye look in the lab. Although reputable jewelers will label stones that are not mined but treated as being synthetic or lab produced, buyers choosing private auctions or other venues must rely on their understanding of gemology to spot the fakes.
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