The Fascinating Chatoyancy of Cat’s Eye Chrysoberyl
Cat’s eye chrysoberyl is a true wonder of nature. Not only does it come in a range of beautiful colors, including honey yellow, green, brown and gray, its silky luster and unique inclusions (or birthmarks) give it a distinctive appearance that cannot be imitated by any other gemstone. But it’s the mesmerizing “cat’s eye effect” that makes cat’s eye chrysoberyl truly extraordinary.
This cat’s eye effect is a mysterious optical phenomenon otherwise known as chatoyancy. Chatoyancy is caused when light reflects from parallel, needle-like inclusions, known as rutile, within the gemstone. These reflections create a thin, luminous band of light across the surface of the gemstone, much like a cat’s narrow pupil. When the stone is rotated, the cat’s eye appears to glide over the surface for a striking and unforgettable effect.
Not only is cat’s eye chrysoberyl beautiful and mystifying, but it’s also incredibly durable, ranking an 8.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness. Its excellent toughness and resistance to wear make it an ideal gemstone for jewelry, especially for rings and bracelets that are exposed to frequent wear and tear.
This stunning gemstone is found in various locations throughout the world, including Brazil, Sri Lanka, India and Madagascar. However, it’s a rare gemstone that’s highly sought after by collectors and jewelry enthusiasts alike.
The discovery of cat’s eye chrysoberyl can be traced back to ancient times. It was first mentioned in Indian literature over 2,000 years ago, where it was referred to as “vaidurya.” The Greeks and Romans also valued cat’s eye chrysoberyl and used it for signet rings and intaglios.
In addition to its aesthetic and historical significance, cat’s eye chrysoberyl has special meanings and symbolism. It’s believed to bring good luck, prosperity and protect the wearer from evil. In Hindu mythology, it’s associated with the planet Ketu and is believed to enhance intuition and spiritual awareness.
Several famous cat’s eye chrysoberyl stones have made their mark in history. One of the most notable is the “Bhagat” cat’s eye chrysoberyl, a stunning 38.19-carat gemstone that sold for a whopping $2.5 million at a Christie's auction in 2013, making it one of the most expensive cat’s eye chrysoberyls ever sold. The stone is set in a platinum and diamond ring and is surrounded by pear-shaped diamonds.
Another is the “Tiger’s Eye Brooch.” This brooch, made by the French jeweler Cartier in the 1920s, features a large cat’s eye chrysoberyl in the center, surrounded by carved black onyx and diamonds. The brooch was designed to resemble a tiger and is now housed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
Also created by Cartier is the “Cartier Panther Ring.” This iconic ring, created in the 1940s, features a 152.35-carat cat’s eye chrysoberyl as the centerpiece. The stone is set in yellow gold and surrounded by diamonds to create the appearance of a panther’s head.
Finally, there’s the “Imperial Cat’s Eye Tiara.” This tiara, made by Cartier for Queen Elizabeth II, features a large cat’s eye chrysoberyl in the center, surrounded by diamonds and pearls. The tiara was given to the Queen by the Sultan of Oman in 1979 and is now part of the Royal Collection.
When it comes to jewelry, cat’s eye chrysoberyl is typically cut into cabochons, which showcase the stone’s chatoyancy to its full effect. It’s also commonly cut into ovals, rounds and cushion shapes, and can range from 1 to 10 carats in weight. The price per carat varies depending on the size, quality and origin of the stone, but can range from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars for a high-quality, large stone.
Today, cat’s eye chrysoberyl and cat’s eye chrysoberyl jewelry can be found in specialty jewelry stores and online retailers. It’s a unique and rare gemstone that adds a touch of mystery and intrigue to any jewelry collection.
In conclusion, cat’s eye chrysoberyl is a truly remarkable gemstone that’s captivated people for centuries. Its stunning beauty, special qualities and rich history make it an enduring symbol of mystery, prosperity and spiritual awareness. Whether you’re a collector, a jewelry enthusiast or someone looking for a unique and meaningful piece of jewelry, cat’s eye chrysoberyl is a gemstone that’s sure to leave a lasting impression.