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Cat's eye chrysoberyl

The traditional November gemstones are yellow topaz, citrine and amber. India people add to that list cat's eye. Several gemstones that, when cut and polished, display a luminous band reminiscent of the eye of a cat; this particular quality is termed chatoyancy. The chatoyant effect is due to minute parallel cavities. The most common quartz cat's-eye owes its chatoyancy and grayish-green or greenish color to parallel fibres of asbestos in the quartz.

Although other minerals such as tourmaline, scapolite, corundum, spinel and quartz can form "cat's eye" stones similar in appearance to cymophane, the jewelry industry designates these stones as "quartz cat's eyes", or "ruby cat's eyes" and only chrysoberyl can be referred to as "cat's eye" with no other designation. Precious, or oriental, cat's-eye, the rarest and most highly prized, is a yellow-greenish chatoyant variety of chrysoberyl called cymophane.

Fine color cymophane
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An alexandrite cat's eye is a chrysoberyl cat's eye that changes color. "Milk and honey" is a term commonly used to describe the color of the best cat's eyes. The effect refers to the sharp milky ray of white light normally crossing the cabochon as a center line along its length and overlying the honey colored background. The honey color is considered to be top-grade by many gemologists but the lemon yellow colors are also popular and attractive. Cat's eye material is found as a small percentage of the overall chrysoberyl production wherever chrysoberyl is found.

Cat's eye really became popular by the end of the 19th century when the Duke of Connaught gave a ring with a cat's eye as an engagement token, this was sufficient to make the stone more popular and increase its value greatly. Until that time, cat's eye had predominantly been present in gem and mineral collections. The increased demand in turn created an intensified search for it in Ceylon. Early 20th century prices could go up as high as $8000 for a cut stone.

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