Cat’s Eye belongs to a family of gemstones called Chrysoberyl, that also includes Alexandrite. This translucent gemstone has tiny fibrous inclusions that reflect a streak of light, giving it the appearance of a cat’s eye.
The “cat eye” illusion has been given the name of chatoyancy – a name that is derived from the French words “chat” for cat and “oeil” for eye. The “cat eye” characteristic is also found with other gemstones, such as the Tiger’s Eye, Tiger Iron and Hawk’s Eye gemstones – however, these other three stones are derived from the Quartz family and not the Chrysoberyl family, that the Cat’s Eye gemstone belongs to.
Cat’s Eye’s can be found in a range of yellowish colors that include: lemon yellow, golden yellow, honey yellow, green-yellow and brown-yellow. The most sought after colors are the honey-yellows although the lighter lemon yellows are also popular.
Cabochon cuts are the main cut used for the Cat’s Eye, primarily because it shows the translucency and the cat eye effect to its maximum potential. However, as the level of the gemstone’s hardness is quite low – around 6.5 on the Moh’s scale – it should be treated with care to avoid scratching the surface. Rings with Cat Eye gemstones should be removed before undertaking any housework or activity involving chemicals.