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Cat’s Eyes

Cat's Eyes

 Cat’s eye is also known as “chrysoberyl cat’s eye,” or cymophane, from the Greek – waving light.  All other cat’s eye is designated with a different name.  Cat’s eye forms fine parallel inclusions that produce a silver-white line that appears as a moving light ray in a cabochon cut stone; resembling the pupil of a cat.  The most valuable examples of cymophane or cat’s-eye tend to show a thinner line of light. It is most prized when golden yellow-brown.

Cat’s-eye occurs in granitic rocks and pegmatites, and in mica schists. It is also frequently found in alluvial sands and gravels. Chrystoberyl cat’s eyes are not to be confused with quartz cat’s-eyes; they are greenish yellow, or yellow, often with a cold, grayish tone. Other stones showing chatoyancy should be called “tourmaline cat’s-eye, “ruby cat’s-eye and so forth. In ancient times Hindus believed that a cat’s eye guarded its owner’s health and provided assurance against poverty.

Deposits of chrysoberyl cat’s eye are found in the Ural Mountains of Russia, Sri Lanka and Brazil, as well as in China, southern India, and Zimbabwe. It is found in the United States but there are no major sources.

It is often confused with quartz cat’s eye, and prehnite cat’s eye.  Synthetic chrysoberyl cat’s eye and doublets are also known.

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