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>> Group(s) : chrysoberyls, oxides
See the pictures :

Known since antiquity as a "golden beryl", its name derived from the Greek "khrusos" for gold.
Two popular varieties are appreciated gems: the golden yellow variety and the red / green which is called alexandrite.
Most chrysoberyls are golden - yellow to brown - green going through yellow - green.
The green-blue and red variety is called alexandrite (see alexandrite). A blue-green variety was discovered in Tanzania .
The variety called "cat’s eye", was rarely named cymophane (Greek for "reflection of the ring"), they are microscopic tubelike cavities in the crystal producing a silvery white band of light that seems to move in a stone cut cabochon and resembling the pupil of a cat’s eye.
It was very sought in the nineteenth century, for one of 313 carats had been offered to Queen Victoria by the King of Kandy in Ceylon. The name "cat’s eye" without specifying the name of the gem is reserved only to chrysoberyl.

Exploited sites

It is found in granitic pegmatites, micaceous schists in Burma, Brazil, Madagascar, Russia, Rhodesia, Sri Lanka.
Deposits of cat's eye: we find them in Sri Lanka, Brazil, China, India, Zimbabwe.

See pictures of the mines / other pictures

Use in jewelry

It is cut in degrees, brilliant-cut or Indian cut. This is a very appreciated gem often confused by miners with beryl or spinel in the alluvium. Its hardness and brilliance fully meet the criteria of a jewelry stone.
Known as the "jargon", it was widely used in the eighteenth century throughout Southern Europe, many jewels contain many of these stones, cut very flat with a square or trapezoidal shape.
Cat's eye is the 18th wedding anniversary stone.
The alexandrite is an alternate birthstone for june.

Daily care and precautions

Very resistant gem, of a high hardness and low maintenance. Water wash with dish soap, rinse with water then with alcohol.

Looking alike stones

andalusite , apatite , beryl , brazilianite , citrine , hiddenite , peridot , sapphire , topaz , tourmaline , zircon

Historical healing properties

This gemstone would influence on the solar plexus chakra having a beneficial effect on the digestive system and kidneys. It would lead to philosophical thoughtfulness.
Cat's eye: it would be a regulator of liver, gallbladder, pancreas, intestines. Supposedly it has the power to promote night vision. It would give energy, relaxation, audacity and therefore it should be helpful to athletes.

Imitations and treatments

The cat's eye can be synthesized, it can be confused with shimmering quartz or prehnite, apatite or green albite. In the 1990s, some brown "cat’s eye" chrysoberyls, were obtained by irradiation and were radioactive, their sale is strictly forbidden.

Historical stones and related legends

A green 45 carats chrysoberyl in the British Museum is called “Hope “(unrelated to the diamond of the same name).

Chemical characteristics

alluminium and beryllium oxide

Physical characteristics

Main color : yellow

Other colors : brown, red, green

all shades of yellow: from golden yellow to yellow-green and yellow-brown. Also green and red for the alexandrite

Color of streak : white

Luster : vitreous

Hardness : 8.5

Density : 3.70 to 3.80

Cleavage : indistinct

Fracture : conchoidal

Optical properties

Transparency : transparent, translucent

The cat’s eye ( cymophane ) is a type opaque to translucent with the phenomenon of chatoyancy.

Refractive Index : 1.746 - 1.763

Double refraction : 0.007

Weak, biaxial (+)

visible double refraction : no

Dispersion : 0.015 (0.011)

Pleochroism : very weak

Number of colors : 3

Red - yellow, yellow - green, green

Absorption spectrum : 445

Fluorescence : none


Cyclic twins going round

Other informations

Astrological sign : Aries, Scorpio, Capricorn

Month : june

  • Aries Aries
  • Scorpio Scorpio
  • Capricorn Capricorn

The cat's eye for the Lions. It promotes intuition and self-control.