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Chrysoberyl

A 9.39 carat Cat’s Eye Chrysoberyl is the Star of this Vintage Style Ring.

Cat’s eye has the longest history of gems in the chrysoberyl family. It was treasured in Asia before the birth of Christ and became quite well known in Rome by the end of the First Century. In the symbolic necklace of Vishnu, a green cat’s-eye chrysoberyl represented the magnetic center of human passion. The popularity of Cat’s Eyes sky-rocked in the 19th Century after the Duke of Connaught presented his fiance with a cat’s eye betrothal ring. Ceylon, where most of the examples of cat’s eye were mined could not keep up with the overwhelming demand.

Sri Lanka and Brazil hold the main deposits of fine quality, transparent greenish yellow, chrysoberyl which were very popular in Victorian and Edwardian Europe.

When traders speak about “cat’s-eye” without a postfix, cymophane is implied and this gemstone has the longest history of the chrysoberyls. It was treasured during Biblical times in Asia and in a Vishu necklace a cymophane was the representation of the magnetic center of human passion. During Victorian times the popularity of cymophane reach its peak after Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn and 3rd son of Queen Victoria, gave his future wife – Princess Louise Margaret of Prussia – a betrothal ring set with a chrysoberyl cat’s-eye in 1860.1

Metaphysically speaking, chrysoberyl has been attributed with the power to foster meditation and to balance one’s energy. It has long been believed to improve eyesight and to protect against evil. It was also thought to induce better relations with neighbors and Arabs believed it could make one invisible on the battlefield.

As a wedding gift, cymophane symbolizes the 18th anniversary.

Gemological Information for Chrysoberyl

  
Color:Yellowish-green, yellow, brown. Alexandrite: blue-green to green red to purple color change
Crystal Structure:Orthorhombic
Refractive Index:1.74 to 1.75, birefringence 0.008 to 0.010
Durability:Excellent
Hardness:8.5
Family:
Similar Stones:Corundum, Citrine, Tourmaline, Garnet, Peridot
Treatments:None
Country of Origin:Sri Lanka, Brazil, Myanmar, Zimbabwe, Madagaskar, India

Chrysoberyl Care

  
Ultrasonic Cleaning:Safe
Steam Cleaning:Safe
Warm Soapy Water:Safe
Chemical Attack:Avoid
Light Sensitivity:None
Heat Sensitivity:Safe

More Information

Gems & Gemology: The Quarterly Journal of the Gemological Institute of America.

 

G&G Article Index: Chrysoberyl

  • 1934, Chrysoberyl, p. 9, 2pp.
  • Winter 1937, A Grayish-Green Star Chrysoberyl, p. 130, 1p.
  • Fall 1945, A 115 ct. Star Chrysoberyl (Non-Gem Quality), by Anderson, p. 252, 2pp.
  • Spring 1949, The Origin of Alexandrite Color Change, p. 143, 3pp.
  • Spring 1949, Chrysoberyl, p. 147, 1p.
  • Fall 1953, Inclusions in Yellow Chrysoberyl, by Webster, p. 343, 4pp.
  • Spring 1954, Separating Yellow Chrysoberyl and Yellow Corundum, p. 32, 1p.
  • Spring 1959, A 45 ct., a 12 ct., and a 50 ct. Alexandrite, p. 264, 1p.
  • Summer 1960, A 4-Rayed Star Brown Chrysoberyl, p. 62, 1p.
  • Winter 1963, A Cat’s-Eye Alexandrite, p. 104, 2pp.
  • Fall 1964, Synthetic Alexandrite Made, p. 216, 1p.
  • Fall 1967, Cat’s-Eye Doublet, p. 215, 2pp.
  • Summer 1970, High-Property Cat’s-Eye (R.I. 1.76–1.77), and Absorption Spectrum, p. 184, 2pp.
  • Winter 1972, Synthetic Alexandrite, Introduced to the Market by Creative Crystals, Inc., Danville, Calif., p. 102, 3pp.
  • Winter 1972, Chrysoberyl Cat’s-Eye, Proved to be Natural, p. 113, 1p.
  • Winter 1972, Fine Cat’s-Eye Glass with Milk and Honey Effect, p. 108, 1p.
  • Spring 1973, Fine Cat’s-Eye Glass and Optic Fibers with Milk and Honey Effect, p. 136, 3pp.
  • Winter 1974, A New Synthetic Alexandrite by the Czochralski Method, p. 367, 3pp.
  • Summer 1976, A Very Rare 4-Ray Star Cat’s-Eye Chrysoberyl, p. 170, 1p.
  • Fall 1976, Alexandrite from Lake Manyara, Tanzania, by Gübelin, p. 203, 11 pp., with Bibliography
  • Fall 1976, African Alexandrites?, p. 211, 3pp.
  • Spring 1979, Natural & Synthetic Alexandrites, p. 148, 1p.
  • Spring 1980, Fiber Optic Cat’s-Eye Imitation, p. 278, 1p.
  • Summer 1980, A Giant Chrysoberyl Crystal, p. 320, 2pp.

Notes

  1. Reference Needed