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Tiger's Eye

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About Tiger's EyeHide

Crystal System:
Common name for a variety of quartz which is chatoyant because of subparallel intergrowth of quartz crystals and altered amphibole fibres that mostly turned into limonite. Much used as an ornamental and lapidary rock.
See also Tiger Iron.

Crocidolite is a blue fibrous asbestiform sodic amphibole, which occurs in the iron formations of the Transvaal Supergroup in the Griqualand West region of the Northern Cape. Pseudocrocidolite is a chatoyant golden-yellow fibrous quartz with included subparallel altered crocidolite fibers, known popularly as tiger’s eye, commonly interpreted as quartz pseudomorphous after crocidolite. Both minerals were originally collected along the Orange River by German naturalist Martin Hinrich Lichtenstein (1780-1857) in 1803 [Lichtenstien 1811-12], and first described scientifically by the German chemist Martin Heinrich Klaproth (1743-1817) in 1811 [Klaproth at pp. 72-74 and pp.75-76].

A new interpretation of the origin of tiger's eye was recently given by Heaney and Fisher (2003): "Tiger's-eye is an attractive and popular gemstone that is ubiquitous in stores that cater to rock and mineral collectors. For more than a century, textbooks and museum displays have identified the material as an archetype of pseudomorphism, i.e., the replacement of one mineral by another with the retention of the earlier mineral's shape. Our study has revealed that the textures responsible for the shimmer of tiger's-eye do not represent pseudomorphic substitution of quartz after preexisting crocidolite asbestos. Rather, we argue that tiger's-eye classically exemplifies synchronous mineral growth through a crack-seal vein-filling process."

Lichtenstein’s original type specimens, with labels in Klaproth’s handwriting, are still preserved in the mineralogical collection of the Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin. Although the type specimens were collected by Lichtenstein in 1803, the original discovery of tiger’s eye (pseudocrocidolite) was made by the French traveller and ornithologist Francois Levaillant in 1784.

In Levaillant’s account of his second voyage into the interior of South Africa [Levaillant 1796], he describes arriving at a large river (the Orange), and finding pebbles along the beach on its banks:-

“I also saw one extraordinary stone, to which I cannot yet give a name. It is as large as a nutmeg, has a varying splendor like the opal or cat’s eye, but is of a browner hue, with a gold-coloured belt. It strikes fire with steel. Since my return to Europe, I have sought for such in vain in cabinets and among traders, but I have been able no where to meet with one. Neither the naturalist nor the jeweler knows it. This stone at present is in Holland, in the possession of one of my friends, Raye de Breukelward, and constitutes a part of his valuable collection.” [at p.208].

Visit gemdat.org for gemological information about Tiger's Eye.

Physical Properties of Tiger's EyeHide


Crystallography of Tiger's EyeHide

Crystal System:

Synonyms of Tiger's EyeHide

Other Language Names for Tiger's EyeHide


Varieties of Tiger's EyeHide

Blue Tiger's EyeTiger's eye in which the included crocidolite fibers have not been altered to limonite.
Falcon's EyeTrade name for a blue variety of Tiger's Eye (in fact unreplaced crocidolite). The blue colour is caused by Fe2+ compared to Fe3+ in the (oxidised) yellow/brown Tiger's Eye.

Common AssociatesHide

Associated Minerals Based on Photo Data:
4 photos of Tiger's Eye associated with HematiteFe2O3
3 photos of Tiger's Eye associated with Crocidolite◻[Na2][Z2+3Fe3+2]Si8O22(OH,F,Cl)2
2 photos of Tiger's Eye associated with QuartzSiO2
2 photos of Tiger's Eye associated with Jasper
1 photo of Tiger's Eye associated with Rose QuartzSiO2
1 photo of Tiger's Eye associated with Petrified Wood
1 photo of Tiger's Eye associated with Obsidian
1 photo of Tiger's Eye associated with ChrysotileMg3(Si2O5)(OH)4
1 photo of Tiger's Eye associated with Tiger Iron
1 photo of Tiger's Eye associated with Chert

Other InformationHide

Health Risks:
No information on health risks for this material has been entered into the database. You should always treat mineral specimens with care.

References for Tiger's EyeHide

Reference List:
Sort by Year (asc) | by Year (desc) | by Author (A-Z) | by Author (Z-A)
Heaney, P.J., Fisher, D.M. (2003) New interpretation of the origin of tiger's-eye. Geology, 31, 323-326.
Lichtenstein, H. (1811-12) Reisen im Südlichen Afrika in den Jahren 1803, 1804, 1805 und 1806. 2 vols., C. Salfeld, Berlin.
Klaproth, M.H. (1811) Chemische Untersuchung des Blau-Eisensteins, vom Cap der güten Hoffnung. Gesell. Naturforsch. Freunde Berlin Magazin, 5, 72-74 and 75-76.
Levaillant, F. (1796) New Travels into the Interior Parts of Africa, by way of the Cape of Good Hope, in the years 1783, 84 and 85. Volume 3, C.G. and J. Robinson, London, 383 pp.
Master, S. (2018) The discovery and description of crocidolite and pseudocrocidolite (tiger’s eye) from the Northern Cape (1784 - 1811). Geocongress 2018. Geological Society of South Africa Biannual congress, University of Johannesburg 18-20 July, 2018. Abstract, page 93.

Internet Links for Tiger's EyeHide

Localities for Tiger's EyeHide

This map shows a selection of localities that have latitude and longitude coordinates recorded. Click on the symbol to view information about a locality. The symbol next to localities in the list can be used to jump to that position on the map.

Locality ListHide

- This locality has map coordinates listed. - This locality has estimated coordinates. ⓘ - Click for further information on this occurrence. ? - Indicates mineral may be doubtful at this locality. - Good crystals or important locality for species. - World class for species or very significant. (TL) - Type Locality for a valid mineral species. (FRL) - First Recorded Locality for everything else (eg varieties). Struck out - Mineral was erroneously reported from this locality. Faded * - Never found at this locality but inferred to have existed at some point in the past (eg from pseudomorphs.)

All localities listed without proper references should be considered as questionable.
  • New South Wales
    • Vernon Co.
      • Walcha
Matthew Goodwin
  • Western Australia
    • Ashburton Shire
      • Mount Brockman
Kim Macdonald
      • Wittenoom
        • Wittenoom Gorge
self-collected samples from south end of W Gorge in 2006-2007
    • East Pilbara Shire
      • Weeli Wolli Creek Area
        • Mining Area C (Northern Flank; Packsaddle)
J M Bennett Collection
    • Port Hedland Shire
      • De Grey Station
Fetherstone et al 2013: Gemstones of WA
  • Henan
    • Nanyang
  • Kunene Region
    • Outjo
(M Kampf collection) ; http://www.idexonline.com/portal_FullMazalUbracha.asp?id=27923
South Africa
[www.johnbetts-fineminerals.com]; Mason, A. (1976) The world of Rocks and Minerals. New York, N.Y., Larousse & Co., 108 pages.
    • Pixley ka Seme
P.F. Ledwaba (2014) Tiger’s eye in the Northern Cape Province — potential for employment creation and poverty alleviation. The Journal of The Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy 114:881-885
      • Siyancuma
P.F. Ledwaba (2014) Tiger’s eye in the Northern Cape Province — potential for employment creation and poverty alleviation. The Journal of The Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy 114:881-885
      • Siyathemba
P.F. Ledwaba (2014) Tiger’s eye in the Northern Cape Province — potential for employment creation and poverty alleviation. The Journal of The Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy 114:881-885
Alessandro Cantamessa photo ID 202250
Gutzmer, J., Beukes, N.J. and Cairncross, B. (2003). New interpretation of the origin of tiger’s-eye: comment and reply. Geology, e44-e45. mb-minerals.de; P.F. Ledwaba (2014) Tiger’s eye in the Northern Cape Province — potential for employment creation and poverty alleviation. The Journal of The Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy 114:881-885
  • England
    • Cornwall
      • Landewednack
Goley, P. and Williams R. (1995) Cornish Mineral Reference Manual. Endsleigh Publications
  • Arizona
    • Gila Co.
Anthony, J.W., et al (1995), Mineralogy of Arizona, 3rd.ed.: 346; Galbraith, F.W. & D.J. Brennan (1959), Minerals of AZ: 84.
  • Montana
    • Madison Co.
Gobla, M.J. (2012) Montana mineral locality index. Rocks & Minerals, 87, #3, 208-240.
Mineral and/or Locality  
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