Cat’s Eye is a commercial name of Cymophane, a variety of Chrysoberyl. Its name derived from the French word “chatoyancy,” that means a “cat’s eye.” This name is due to the feature of this gem is capable of changing its brilliance similar to cat’s eye in the darkness. However, the name “Chrysoberyl” is derived from the Greek word that means “Golden Beryl.” Jewelers also call this stone “Oriental Chrysolite.”
It’s worth noting that Chrysoberyl is a very durable gem. Its hardness is 8,5/10, according to the Mohs Scale of Hardness. It usually meets from transparent to opaque. As a result, the best specimens of Cat’s Eye are next to Sapphire and Ruby in their hardness and near to the Diamond in their brilliance.
The story says that Cat’s Eye got in Europe when Duke of Connaught presented to his bride a ring with a curious Oriental stone. This specimen possessed a unique brilliance similar to an eye of an animal. From now on, Cat’s Eye rapidly came in vogue, and each noble person wore it as a jewel. This gem was unknown in Europe before 1815. But it was famous in the Oriental countries, nonetheless. The Largest specimen known in the records was embedded into the crown of the King of Kandy (a region in Ceylon in modern Sri Lanka). Its weight was about 100 karats.
There are three varieties of Chrysoberyl,
- Ordinary Chrysoberyl (Oriental Chrysolite);
- Cat’s Eye or Cymophane (principally from in Sri Lanka);
- Alexandrite, the most valuable variety (Russian Chrysoberyl).
The Principal feature of Cymophane is its chatoyancy. You may observe this phenomenon with every turn of this gemstone. This stone is unique thanks to the greater curvature of its surface and numerous of cavities inside it. However, there is the inferior variety of this stone. It is the so-called “Quartz Cat’s Eye.” So you can purchase this fake taking it for the “genuine Cat’s Eye.” However, it’s easy to distinguish both stones using these qualities.
- The hardness of Quartz Cat’s Eye is 6-7/10
- Specific Gravity is 2,6
At the same time,
- The hardness of natural Cat’s Eye is 8,5/10;
- Specific Gravity is 3,5 – 3,8.
The principal mines of Cat’s Eye are in Brazil (more precisely, in the Minas Novas district). In this spot, the specimens of Cat’s Eye occur in abundance. However, the first specimens of Cat’s Eye were discovered in Ceylon (modern Sri Lanka), in the Sapphire mines located in Suffragan district. The deposits of this stone also meet in in the Ural Mountains, Russia. These mines also contain a rare, precious variety of Chrysoberyl called Alexandrite (in honor of Russian Tsar).
Magical Properties & Superstitions
The ancients of India and Sri Lanka praised this gem very high. It was a symbol of fortune due to a belief in the good spirits inhabits inside each specimen. According to Oriental legends, Cat’s Eye serves as a mascot against poverty, and therefore, is capable of bringing wealth and prosperity.
Thanks for image to Cliff