The translucent honey-yellow to greenish or brownish yellow chatoyant chrysoberyl which, when cut with a domed surface (cabochon) show a mobile streak of light are called as cymophane or cat's eye chrysoberyl. cat’s eye is a band of light that runs length wise from one end of the stone to the other. This effect is called chatoyancy.
In gemology, chatoyancy (or chatoyance) is an optical reflectance effect seen in certain natural gemstones. Coined from the French "oeil de chat", meaning 'cat's eye', chatoyancy arises either from the fibrous structure of a material, as seen in tiger eye quartz, or from fibrous inclusions or cavities within the stone, as seen in chrysoberyl cat's eye .
This chatoyant chrysoberyl Catseye gemstone is also known as ‘cymophane’ which comes from a Greek word that means ‘wavelike form’, owing the name to the chatoyancy sometimes exhibited in this variety of gemstone.
Cat’s eye stones (gemstones displaying the streak of light), similar in appearance to cymophane, are formed in minerals such as tourmaline, scapolite, corundum, spinel and quartz. The industry designates these gemstones as quartz cat's eyes, or ruby cat's eyes etc and only the chrysoberyl gemstone can be referred to as cat's eye with no other designation.
This gem has had the longest history amongst the other chrysoberyl varieties. By the start of the nineteenth century the gem had lost its popularity. However, in the late nineteenth century when the Duke of Connaught gave a cat's eye ring as an engagement token to the princess of Prussia, this gemstone became popular once again and its value increased greatly.
In India, this gem is known by various names like ‘lasunia’, ‘vaidhuriya’, ‘ketu’, and ‘bidalaskh’. The gemstone is one of the Navagraha stones (stones that represent the nine planets that have a cosmic influence on all earthlings) representing the God of the Descending/South lunar node (ketu) in Indian astrology and is related to supernatural influences.
This gem is believed to protect the wearer from bad fortune, harmonizing the negative effects of Ketu and hence it is popular in the Indian market. For therapeutic purposes, chrysoberyl rings should be worn as recommended. Chrysoberyl stones are tested and cut for the specific purpose and can be set in a ring in a specific format.
The cat’s eye gemstones and cats eye beads are mostly used in jewelry item like rings, earrings, bracelets, necklaces and more.
Cats eye Color
The quality of this gem is judged by the display of chatoyancy effect. A cat’s-eye ( Chatoyancy) is the band of light that runs length wise from one end of the stone to the other. Chatoyancy is caused by a parallel needle or a hollow tube like inclusion inside the gem. When the gem is rotated while light is flashed on the gem, it gives an image of the opening and closing of an eye, thus its name.
It is found in a range of colors from yellow to yellowish green, greyish green to brown and brownish yellow.
The natural chrysoberyl rough must be cut in a manner that highlights the cat’s eye effect. This means that the natural chrysoberyl gem should display the opening and closing of the cat’s eye when light is thrown on it and the gem is rotated.
The needles in the stone must be perpendicular to the stone. Thus, a very skillful and experienced lapidarist is required to cut this gem. The gem should be cut in a dome-like oval or round shape, also know as “cabochon cut” ( not faceted, just plain polished dome ) and polished to display its chatoyancy.
The gem by nature has a milky appearance and transparent gems are almost never found.
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