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Tiger Eye stock photo ralph mayhew

What Are Tiger Eye Beads?

Tiger eye, also known as Tiger’s eye, is a fashionable, silky, gold and brown gemstone. It’s not hard to see how it got its name. The gold stripes running through the stone bring to mind the stripes and power of a wild tiger. Beads and cabochons are specially cut to show off these distinctive stripes and enhance their chatoyancy.  Because it’s also versatile, beautiful, and relatively inexpensive, a tiger eye gemstone is a perfect (and practical!) material for custom jewelry.

What is Chatoyancy?

Chatoyancy, also known as the cat eye effect, comes from the french oeil-de-chat (chat meaning cat, and oeil meaning eye). It’s a beautiful, shimmering, optical effect that can be seen when the gemstone twists and turns. Many stones from the quartz family, such as tiger’s eye or hawk’s eye, have this unique optical effect.

Tiger eye gemstone

What are Tiger Eye Beads Made Of?

Tiger eye is a specific kind of quartz known for its distinctive striped pattern and silky, golden, yellow and brown hue. The quartz family includes other gemstones such as amethyst, aventurine, citrine, quartz cat’s eye, and rose quartz.  The stone has a Mohs hardness of around 7, which means it’s a moderately hard mineral that can withstand daily wear and tear.

While some stones can have small streaks of orange and red in them, any fully red tiger eye beads and cabochons have been heat treated to achieve their beautiful colour. Other colours, such as green and bright blue, are achieved through colour enhancing treatments. Another type of chatoyant stone in the quartz family is Hawk’s eye. Hawk’s eye is rarer than its cousin, tiger eye, and has a striking natural dark blue and black colour.

Tiger eye deposits are found all around the world, notably in South Africa, Australia, India, Myanman, Namibia, and California. But don’t confuse tiger eye stones with their look-alike,  Arizona tiger eye. The latter, Arizona Pietersite, has the same cat eye effect, but is made of serpentine instead of quartz.

What is the Meaning of a Tiger Eye Gemstone?

Tiger eye, like the jungle cat it takes its name from, is a stone of protection, strength, and personal power. If you need aid in confident decision making, staying grounded, or tapping into your creativity, the energy of a tiger eye helps clear your mind and balance your emotions. If you need to bolster your personal power or inner vitality, the protective energy of the tiger eye will defend you from fear and negative energy.  

Tiger Eye Jewelry

Tiger eye gemstone jewelry

Since tiger eye is an inexpensive and hardy material, it’s perfect to use in your handmade jewelry! Depending on stock, Iguana Beads has  faceted, polished, and matte tiger eye beads in red, green, blue, and their natural gold. It also comes in polished cabochon stones which are perfect to wrap in parawire for a pendant. 

But if you don’t have space for any more jewelry, Iguana Beads  also sells tumbled gold and red tiger eye stones for your personal use. 



Our Jewelry Expert: 


Pearl Blay a.k.a. THE BEADING GEM brings you the best in Handmade Jewelry! She’s passionate about sharing all she’s learned about being a jewelry artisan. Keep an eye out for her! Whenever possible, Pearl regularly teaches classes here at Iguana Beads.

Edited February 2021 by Sophie Dallaire

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