Cats Eye: Mysterious gem stone
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Chrysoberyl Cat's eye, a lively gemstone
Cat’s eye is the ninth gemstone in the Navaratna family. Cat’s eye is a precious stone according to Indian gemology. It represents Ketu, a Chhaya Graha (Shadow planet) in Indian system of astrology. Not all Cat’s eyes but only Chryso-beryl Cat’s eyes are considered as Cat’s eye and a precious gemstone in India.
A fine quality Cat’s eye possesses a mixture of black and white shade that has got an even, uniform, clear and transparent surface. It is blooming and covered with a white thin film resembling a winter cloud. It also clearly exhibits round silver lining at both edges like borders of scarf borne on the neck. This is how Vaidurya or Lahsuniya, Indian names for Cat’s eye, depicted in ancient Indian Sanskrit text.
A High quality Cat’s eye consists of golden yellow shade and white fiber. The gemstone is considered of higher value and greater beauty if brighter the fiber in its gleam, and straight as a line.
King of Kandy presented a big sized Cat’s eye of 313 carats to Queen Victoria when her army defeated him.
Cat's eye video
Main characteristics of Cat's eye
A silver Lining is visible in a perfect Cat’s eye in direct sun light or lamp. A fine Cat’s eye possesses yellowish or greenish tinge of the eye of cats. The Greek words chrysos and beryllos are origins of the word chrysoberyl that means "a gold-white spar". The chrysoberyl, is an aluminate of beryllium. Chemical formula of Chrysoberyl is BeAl2O4. Chrysoberyl is the third-hardest natural gemstone after Diamond (10) and Corundum (9).
Its hardness lies between corundum (9) and topaz (8).i.e. hardness of eight and half in Moh’s scale. It is smooth like glass. It becomes fine and brilliant when polished. The prized color is golden yellow and beige (Whipped honey). In addition, the silver lining is clear and distinct.
The gem stone looks as if it were really alive with the intensity of the line appears and disappears.
Cat's eye stones but not Chrysoberyl
Flaws in Cat's eye gemstone
A dark shaded Cat’s eye with watery complexion and reddish tinge in fiber, flattened, deformed and light weight (low specific gravity), is considered to be ominous. It is likely to bring ill luck.
The Sanskrit name for Cat’s eye is Vaidurya and Bidalaksh, (Bidal means cat and Aksh is eye) and it characterizes the actual meaning of the word. The gem stone virtually resembles eye of a cat. Hence, it is so called in western world too. It is called Lahsuniya (Lehsuniya) in Hindi language.
A Cat’s eye gemstone is termed as a “sheet” if fiber is not straight as a line but defused over the body. A Cat’s eye devoid of fiber is known as Karketak (chrysolite).
Oriental Cat’s eye is Chrysoberyl Cat’s eye. It was depicted as cymophane in Victorian age. However, this word is not in use now. It invariably possesses a white gleam and opalescence due to inclusions of fiber or a fibrous structure.
Flaws in Cat’s eye:
The following flaws can be occurred in a Cat’s eye gemstone.
1. Spot in crystal
7. Pale in color.
When a Cat’s eye is dull, opaque and without luster it is called a bony stone. A bony stone is neither bright nor smooth.
Stains of following colors are also found in Cat’s eye:
4. Honey brown.
Of course, flaws downgrade a gemstone and Cat's eye is not an exception. Clean gemstones fetch much higher value than a stone with inclusions. More the inclusions less the price is the case for a Cat’s eye gemstone like all other gemstones.
Sri Lankan Gemstones
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Varieties and origins of Cat's eye
Varieties of Cat’s eye (According to color):
Kanak Khet: This is the finest type of Cat’s eye. It has a bright golden hue. It looks exactly as eye of a cat.
(Kanak means gold in Sanskrit and Khet is origin)
Madhu Khet: It is a medium quality Cat’s eye with honey brown hue and white fibers.
(Madhu is for honey in Sanskrit)
Dhumra or Dhum Khet: It has smoky color with white fibers and considered as of low quality.
(Dhumra means smoke in Sanskrit language)
Krishna Khet: It is with blackish shade and white fiber. This is the lowest quality of Cat’s eye.
(Krishna means black).
Sources or Mines:
Mines of Mogok (Myanmar) and Ceylon (Sri Lanka) have been producing Cat’s eye gemstones since time immemorial. Trivandrum and Orissa in India has also started producing the same since few decades. Madagascar and so,e other African countries also produce Chrysobéryl.
Material from Mogok (Burma) is considered to be the best followed by Ceylon (Sri Lanka), Trivandrum and Orissa respectively. Rough stones of Cat’s eyes are traditionally cut and polished only into cabochons and beads and not in faceted forms.
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