Posted on by Nevil Agrawal

Contrary to the belief, cat's eye is not the name of any gemstone, but it is an effect. Cat’s eye gemstones are popular for a unique optical phenomenon they display. The beauty of this gem and the reason many people desire it is the band of light that moves when –

  • it is turned under a light
  • the position of the light source is changed
  • the observer moves their head to view the stone from a different angle

This effect occurs when a band of light is reflected from a series of thin inclusions that are parallel to each other. Here is a buying guide that will tell you everything you need to know about cat’s eye and how to identify a real one.


What is the meaning of cat’s eye gemstone?


The phenomenon known as "chatoyance", in which a band of reflected light moves just beneath the surface of a cabochon-cut gemstone gives the gem its name. The word "chatoyance" has its origins from the French word "chatoyer." It means "to shine like a cat's eye." This analogy matches the way a cat's pupils narrow to a thin slit in the presence of bright light .


cat's eye cabochons




Cat’s eye is most prominent in the Chrysoberyl family, and tiger's-eye is the chatoyant gem most widely used in jewelry. When the name “cat’s eye” appears alone, the speaker is referring to a cat's-eye chrysoberyl, and only chrysoberyl can be traded simply as “cat’s eye.” Cat's eye has been used as gemstones and in other religious objects for thousands of years because it is believed to bring good fortune to the wearer. It gained popularity at the end of the 19th century when it was given as an engagement gift by the Duke of Connaught.


Where is it found?


Chrysoberyl cat's eye is largely found in Sri Lanka, Brazil, India, China and Zimbabwe. It is found scarcely in Pakistan, Russia, Tanzania, Madagascar and the United States.


Varieties of Cat’s Eye Gem


All 5 varieties of this gem are prized jewelry stones. The available varieties and their properties are

Cat’s eye chrysoberyl: It is also known as cymophane, which comes from a Greek word meaning “appearing like a wave,” referring to the opalescent, hazy appearance of the surface of some crystals. The eye of a chatoyant chrysoberyl is the sharpest of any cat’s eye gemstone. Fine silk inclusions cause this effect. Alexandrites and cat’s eye chrysoberyls are quite rare and highly collectible due to their exotic, phenomenal qualities.


cat's eye gemstone


  • Cat’s eye apatite: A group of phosphate minerals with similar chemical compositions and physical properties are called apatite. Specimens with excellent clarity and color are often shaped as faceted gemstones and those with good color and translucence are cut as cabochons.
  • Cat’s eye aquamarine: Rare translucent aquamarines produce cat's-eyes, although the eyes are generally not very strong.
  • Cat’s eye moonstone: Moonstone is the popular name given to gem-quality feldspar. The name comes from the floating light that resembles the glow of the moon through a thin cloud cover.
  • Cat’s eye tourmaline: Tourmaline stones share a common crystal structure and physical properties but differ in their chemical composition. Due to the wide range of compositions and color zoning within crystals, tourmaline occurs in more colors and combinations than any other mineral group.

The 3 C’s of Cat’s Eye:


  • Color 

The cat's eye effect is frequently available in apatite, in golden color and is reminiscent of chrysoberyl. It also comes in colors like green, pink, blue, yellow, violet and colorless. Highly developed chatoyance in some gems can make the stone look like it’s divided into two color zones or two different materials. “Milk and honey” is a commonly used term to describe this effect. The desirable colors of cat’s eye are honey and golden green.


  • Cut 

Gemstones like chrysoberyl, apatite, or moonstone are commonly cut en cabochons to display the cat’s eye phenomenon brilliantly. So always make sure you buy the one that shows a sharp, unwavering silvery line that is visible from girdle-to-girdle.


  • Clarity 

Cat’s eye chrysoberyl is opaque to semi-transparent and contains minute parallel inclusions. The alexandrite variety occurs transparent to semi-transparent, and its color appears different depending on the light it is viewed in.


Cat’s Eye Treatments


  • Heat Treatments

Heat treatment is performed on cat’s eye to rid the stone of any impurities a mined stone naturally contains, like inclusions which can prove harmful to the stone. When the stone is heated to a very high temperature, the inclusions reform themselves and improve the color. Heat treatment improves the clarity and overall appearance of the stone.


  • Color Treatment

The cat’s eye stone can be found in many colors. Upon discovery, it looks dull and unattractive, hence enhancing the color properties of this stone by performing several color treatments can increase its value. Dyes, oils, or radiation treatments can enhance the colors of cat’s eye.


cat's eye rondelles


How to clean Cat’s Eye?


Cat's eye can be cleaned using ultrasonic cleaners or steamers. Bleach and other harsh household cleaners should be avoided while cleaning and be sure to rinse your stones well to prevent any soapy residues.


Healing and Metaphysical properties of Cat’s Eye:


  • Cat's eye gemstones are believed to make the wearer wealthy and help them find joy in matters related to children.
  • It is considered to be a very quick-acting gemstone, so it’s best to use it after a trial period.
  • Users must be wary of dull stones that could signify bad health. Spotted stones show trouble with foes.
  • It is even said to improve happiness, stamina and radiance.
  • Chrysoberyl cat’s eye (Lehsunia in Hindi) stone is associated with shadow planet ‘Ketu’ as per Indian Vedic astrology.
  • Cat’s Eye stone also helps achieve a higher level of knowledge, peace and spirituality.
  • Cat's eye quartz is believed to help with disorders of the eye, healing cancer, recovery from post-traumatic conditions, increasing night vision, regulating blood sugar and promoting mobility.
cat's eye beads


How to identify cat’s eye stone?


High-quality cat's-eye gems meet the following criteria:

●  The eye must be clearly visible

●  The eye symmetrically bisects the cabochon

●  The sharp contrast between the stone's body color and eye

●  The eye moves smoothly as the stone is turned

A stone that features all of the above criteria and has an exceptional bodycolor is considered a fantastic cat's-eye gem. A desirable bodycolor is of utmost importance.


cat's eye stone


Where should you buy cat’s eye stone?


At GemsforJewels, we offer cat’s eye gemstone in a number of beautiful shades. Buy these stones loose, as cabochons, connectors, or even as ; there are many varieties to choose from. You also have different shapes to pick from, and your options include round, oval, pear and teardrop shapes. Cat’s eye set in rings, necklaces, and earrings will be loved by your customers.