There are many types of gemstones on earth. Many of them are mineral deposits that can be found deep beneath the earth’s crust, while others are made up of organic materials that are formed by organisms in the world’s water supply (pearls, for instance, are one of the latter group of gemstones; they are made up of organic materials, which are formed by oysters).
However, no matter the source of a gemstone, each one holds a special place in cultures, traditions, beliefs and histories around the world. Tiger’s eye is no different in this regard.
WHAT ARE PRECIOUS STONES?
Gemstones – or gems, as they are commonly – can be divided into two main categories, which are precious and semi-precious stones. Gemstones can be described as precious or semi-precious depending on a number of factors such as their rarity, brilliance or beauty and commercial value. The exact estimation of a gemstone’s weight (or carat) plays an important role in determining its commercial value; along with other factors.
Precious stones are a particular group of gemstones that are highly in demand globally, because of their rarity, brilliance, unique physical properties (e.g. hardness) and commercial value. Basically, they are those that have been valued to have the highest commercial value because of their beauty or brilliance and rarity. There are four major gemstones that fall into this category (of precious stones) perfectly; they are:
Diamond is the most popular gemstone in the world, as well as one of the most desirable. They are used widely in the jewelry industry to produce necklaces, earrings and other pieces. Diamond rings, in particular, are one of the most popular applications of this gemstone. This is because diamonds have a particular cultural reputation that has been cemented by popular media over the course of decades. Firstly, they are widely regarded as “a girl’s best friend” and a “must-have” item for every influential woman. Secondly, and perhaps most effective in increasing the global sale of diamonds, is the fact that they are regarded as a very physical representation of the “forever” kind of life (because, according to popular media – and science – diamonds can last for a very long period of time, possibly forever; because, quite basically, they are the hardest known materials on earth).
Another thing that helps the global sales of diamonds is the fact that they are relatively rare, based on the fact that they can only be found naturally in 35 countries in the world. They are one of the two main forms of pure carbon, which are formed when atoms of pure carbon are arranged tightly in a rigid crystal lattice structure, after they are subjected to extreme pressure and heat beneath the earth’s crust. This gives rise to the hardness of diamonds, as well as high difficulty of infiltration by other elements or chemical compounds like boron, nitrogen and hydrogen (these elements cause coloration in diamonds). Diamonds normally require a long time to form in nature (a process that may take up to millions and billions of years). Graphite is the other main form of pure carbon, and it is a black substance that is much softer, compared to diamond.
Sapphire is a precious stone, which is a blue variety of the mineral known as corundum. Apart from being a precious and highly desirable gemstone, which is widely used in jewelry making worldwide, sapphire also happens to be the birthstone of the month of September. Also, culturally and in certain religious beliefs, sapphire is believed to imbue its wearer with gifts such as wisdom, blessings and abundance. It is also the birthstone of September and a symbol of royalty.
Ruby is a precious stone with natural colors that range from pinkish- red to blood red. It is a highly valued gemstone around the world. As is the case with other stones the quality – and commercial value – of a ruby rests mainly on four major characteristics which are its color, cut, clarity, and carat. Ruby is the birthstone for July and it is highly esteemed in many Asian cultures. There are cultural and religious beliefs which suggest that rubies promote the knowledge, health and wealth of its wearer.
Emerald is a precious stone which is made up of beryl that has been exposed to traces of chromium or vanadium. Emeralds are often sorted into tiers of quality that depend upon their cut, clarity, color and carat values.
This gemstone is the birthstone for May, and culturally, it is believed to give its wearer life affirmation, calm, patience, wisdom, balance and inspiration. Some people also claim that emeralds imbue their wearers with domestic bliss, harmony, friendship, and bliss.
WHAT ARE SEMI-PRECIOUS STONES?
Semi-precious stones are the kinds of stones are not as highly valued compared to their precious counterparts e.g. diamonds, sapphires, rubies and emeralds. This is usually because they are not as rare or brilliant as precious stones, which results in a relative reduction in their global demand and desirability. Examples of semi-precious stones include alexandrite, lapis lazuli, citrine, amethyst, jade, topaz, turquoise, opal, tiger’s eye and so many others.
WHAT DOES TIGER’S EYE DO?
Tiger’s eye – also called tiger eye – is a type of semi-precious gemstone that is basically a metamorphic rock, whose color ranges from gold to red brown. This gemstone is a chatoyant gemstone (i.e. a gemstone that appears to produce a cat’s eye effect), with a silky luster. It is also a member of the quartz group.
While tiger’s eye is not particularly desired above all other stones in jewelry-making, it holds a special place in some people’s tradition and cultural beliefs. Culturally, tiger’s eye s believed to ward off evil and imbue its wearer with confidence and bravery. This belief was so common and widespread in ancient times that Roman soldiers of old used to wear engraved pieces of this gemstone (tiger’s eye) to battle, because they had faith in its ability to protect them and keep them from harm. Even today, this belief still persists in some cultures and religions across the world.