Tiger Eye Beauty and Culture
What is tiger eye? Where does it come from? Why is it now a standard foundation in personal jewelry collections? When did it become so popular? How did nature create its dazzling beauty?
Tiger eye, tiger’s eye, red tiger eye, cherry tiger eye, hawk eye, falcon's eye or eye of the tiger is natural asbestos. Asbestos is a metamorphic mineral fiber that is considered part of the family called hydrous magnesium silicate. Tiger eye culture developed through ancient civilizations that recognized asbestos’s resistance to fire. The name is derived from its historical use in lamp wicks. Ancient Egyptians used asbestos for burial cloths to protect the dead during their journey to the afterlife.
During volcanic events, the fibrous asbestos is replaced by iron-bearing quartz called limonite. This is what creates the dazzling golden luminous eye of the tiger that provides such elegant beauty in tiger eye stone. Ancient Egyptians believed the beautiful tiger eye would bring good fortune and protect its bearer. They related this well-being to the sun which they worshiped as a god.
To this day, many people who study the chakra consider tiger eye a tool for health and well-being. The word chakra is Sanskrit for wheel or disk of life and signifies one of seven basic energy centers in the body. The wheel came from the chariot that carried the sun across the sky. The chakras and Kundalini came to be an integral part of yoga philosophy in the 7th century.
The beautiful semi-precious tiger eye gems that we enjoy are most commonly golden brown. Occasionally, the stone is blue/grey and is then called falcon’s eye or hawk eye. Red tiger eye is created through heat treatment and is also called cherry tiger eye. Most modern day tiger eye comes from Australia, China and South Africa. It has a hardness of 7.0 on the Moh’s hardness scale. In 1822, Friedrich Moh, a German mineralogist devised a practical way of comparing hardness or scratch resistance in minerals. The scale is based on a rating of one to ten, with ten being the highest. One of the reasons for the popularity of tiger eye is its durability. Buyers should beware of imitation glass or plastic beads called cathaystone which is manufactured and not natural. Visit http://tigereyejewels.com to access a basic resource for quality tiger eye jewelry.
Regardless of what tiger eye jewelry you wear for everyday or a special occasion, you add a special expression of beauty, elegance and sophistication to your life. This expression has developed through a great history and desire for cultural and human well-being.
Author: Janet K. Nelson, Nelson Enterprises, 7/2006