How to Tell If Tiger Eye is Real or Fake: Expert Tips to Consider

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buddha and karma's author

The Tiger's Eye gemstone has long been admired for its captivating appearance and has found its place in the world of jewelry and decorative items. However, with different versions of Tiger Eye bracelets available in the market, it can be challenging to determine their authenticity.

A fake Tiger's Eye stone won’t have the real  Tiger’s Eye bracelet benefits. That’s why it’s crucial that you know how to tell if Tiger Eye is real, and this article aims to help you do just that.

By understanding the key properties and terms associated with Tiger's Eye, you can better assess the quality and authenticity of the stone. Here, we will explore visual cues such as surface characteristics and color variations that can help you differentiate between genuine and imitation Tiger Eye. We will also discuss common questions to consider and share expert tips to examine the stone.

Whether you're an experienced enthusiast or new to the world of gemstones, this article will equip you with the knowledge needed to confidently identify real Tiger's Eye from its imitations. So, let's dive in and unravel the secrets behind authentic Tiger Eye gemstones.

In this article

    Understanding Genuine Tiger's Eye Gemstone

    how to tell if tiger eye is real

    Tiger's Eye is a healing gemstone that exhibits a distinctive golden-brown color. It is a type of quartz that can also appear in various shades of blue, red, and even tri-color combinations. The name "Tiger's Eye" derives from its striking resemblance to the eye of a tiger.

    This beautiful gemstone is formed through a fascinating process called pseudomorphism. During this process, crocidolite fibers are gradually replaced by silica. As the replacement occurs, the unique chatoyancy effect is created, giving Tiger's Eye its characteristic shimmering appearance.

    When examining a potential Tiger's Eye stone, there are several factors to consider in determining its authenticity.

    Earthy Colors

    One of the distinguishing features of Tiger's Eye is its rich golden-brown hue. This warm and earthy color makes it highly sought after for jewelry and decorative items. However, it's important to note that genuine Tiger's Eye can also exhibit other colors such as blue or red due to variations in mineral composition.

    Smooth and Silky Texture

    Genuine Tiger's Eye has a distinct texture that can be felt when touched. It is smooth and silky, providing a pleasant tactile experience. When running your fingers over the surface of the stone, you will notice its unique feel, which sets it apart from other gemstones.

    Bands or Stripes

    Observe the stone closely for any visible patterns or bands of color that resemble an actual tiger's eye. These bands run parallel to each other and can vary in color, ranging from golden brown to dark brown. Genuine Tiger's Eye will display these distinct parallel lines or wavy bands, which give the stone its characteristic appearance and add to its allure.

    Chatoyancy - Shimmering Effect

    Another notable characteristic of genuine Tiger's Eye is chatoyancy. This phenomenon refers to the shimmering effect observed when light interacts with the stone's surface. As light hits the parallel bands within the gemstone, it creates a captivating play of light and shadow, giving Tiger Eye its mesmerizing glow.

    The chatoyant effect in genuine Tiger's Eye resembles that of a cat's eye, which is why it is often referred to as "cat's eye quartz." This optical property adds depth and visual interest to the stone, enhancing its overall beauty.

    Weight and Hardness

    Another key indicator is the stone's weight and hardness. Since Tiger's Eye belongs to the quartz family, it should have a relatively high density and hardness on the Mohs scale. If you find that the stone feels lightweight or scratches easily, it may not be authentic.

    Minimal Inclusions or Imperfections

    Furthermore, genuine Tiger's Eye exhibits excellent clarity with minimal visible inclusions or imperfections within the stone itself. If you notice significant flaws or cloudy areas when inspecting the gemstone under bright light, it could be an indication that it is not real.

    Examine the Physical Characteristics of Tiger’s Eye to Determine Authentcity

    To determine if a Tiger's Eye gemstone is real or not, one can examine these physical characteristics. By feeling the smooth and silky texture and observing the presence of distinct bands or stripes as well as experiencing chatoyancy firsthand, you can gain confidence in identifying genuine Tiger's Eye.

    It is important to note that these characteristics may not be present in imitation or synthetic versions of Tiger's Eye. Imitations may lack the smoothness or exhibit an unnatural uniformity in their banding pattern. Synthetic versions might also lack chatoyancy or display an artificial shimmer instead.

    By familiarizing yourself with these physical traits, you can become better equipped at discerning whether a Tiger's Eye gemstone is genuine or not. Remember, the touch, appearance of bands, and the mesmerizing shimmer are key indicators of authenticity.

    How to Tell if Tiger Eye is Real or Fake?

    how to tell if tiger eye is real or fake

    Now that you know the physical characteristics of Tiger Eye, it’s time to put the gemstone to the test. Here are several ways you can verify the authenticity of a Tiger’s Eye stone.

    Check for Chatoyancy Effect in Tiger's Eye

    Tiger's Eye is known for its mesmerizing chatoyancy effect, also referred to as the "cat's eye effect." This captivating phenomenon is created by fibrous inclusions within the stone. When the gemstone is properly cut and polished, these fibers produce a luminous band that gracefully moves across its surface. The chatoyancy effect adds depth and visual interest, serving as a distinguishing characteristic of genuine Tiger's Eye.

    To check for chatoyancy in Tiger’s Eye, follow these steps:

    1. Examine under Light: Hold the Tiger's Eye gemstone under a light source. It's best to use a single light source to clearly observe the effect.
    2. Rotate the Stone: Slowly rotate the gemstone back and forth. The chatoyancy effect is most noticeable when the stone is moved, as this causes the light to reflect differently across the fibrous inclusions.
    3. Look for the Silky Luster: Pay attention to the surface of the stone. Tiger's Eye should display a silky, lustrous band that appears to glide across the surface as the stone moves.
    4. Observe the Band of Light: The chatoyancy effect manifests as a narrow band of light on the surface. This band should be sharp and well-defined, moving in sync with the angle of light and your perspective.
    5. Check the Polishing: Proper polishing is crucial for revealing the chatoyancy effect. A well-polished surface enhances the visual appeal and the movement of the cat's eye effect.
    6. Assess the Quality: The quality of the chatoyancy effect can vary. A high-quality Tiger's Eye will have a vivid and distinct cat's eye effect, while a lower quality stone might have a weaker or less noticeable effect.
    7. Be Aware of Fakes: Some stones may be treated or artificially created to mimic Tiger's Eye. If the effect looks too uniform or artificial, it might not be a natural stone.

    Test the Hardness and Durability

    Determining the hardness and durability of a tiger's eye stone can help distinguish between real and fake specimens. Genuine tiger's eye boasts a hardness rating of 7 on Mohs scale, making it relatively resistant to scratches and abrasions.

    To assess its authenticity based on hardness and durabality:

    1. Use the Mohs Scale of Hardness: The Mohs scale is a set of ten standard minerals by which the hardness of a mineral is rated. Tiger's Eye ranks at 7 on this scale, which means it can scratch substances with a lower rating and can be scratched by substances with a higher rating.
    2. Perform a Scratch Test: Carefully try to scratch the surface of the Tiger's Eye with a substance of known hardness. You can use a common item like a steel file (which is about 6.5 on the Mohs scale). The Tiger's Eye should be able to scratch the steel file but should not be easily scratched by it.
    3. Check for Abrasion Resistance: Examine the stone for signs of wear or abrasions. A genuine Tiger's Eye will be relatively resistant to abrasions due to its hardness.
    4. Avoid Using Harder Materials: Do not attempt to scratch the Tiger's Eye with materials harder than 7 on the Mohs scale, such as quartz or diamond, as this can damage the stone.
    5. Compare with Known Samples: If available, compare the Tiger's Eye with known samples of genuine and fake Tiger's Eye. This can give you a better idea of the differences in quality and durability.

    Check the Surface of Tiger Eye

    Examining the surface of the stone can provide valuable insights into its authenticity. Genuine Tiger's Eye often exhibits natural imperfections such as small cracks or irregularities. These imperfections contribute to the unique character of the gemstone.

    Moreover, authentic Tiger's Eye typically showcases visible banding patterns that are consistent throughout the entire piece. If you notice any inconsistencies or lack of distinctive patterns, it may indicate that the stone is not genuine. The stone is also smooth to the touch.

    To check the surface of Tiger's Eye for authenticity:

    1. Inspect for Natural Imperfections: Genuine Tiger's Eye often has natural imperfections like fine lines or small cracks. These should appear randomly and not be overly uniform. Use a magnifying glass for a closer examination.
    2. Look for Banding Patterns: Authentic Tiger's Eye will have distinct, parallel banding patterns. These bands should be consistent and flow naturally throughout the stone. Inconsistencies or abrupt changes in the pattern may suggest the stone is not genuine.
    3. Examine Under Different Angles: Rotate the stone under light and view it from different angles. This helps in identifying the depth and natural flow of the banding, as well as any surface imperfections.
    4. Feel the Texture: Run your fingers over the surface. Natural Tiger's Eye should feel smooth with slight irregularities due to the fibrous structure. Overly smooth or glass-like textures might indicate a synthetic or treated stone.
    5. Check for Uniformity: While some level of uniformity is expected in high-quality stones, excessive uniformity in patterns and color can be a sign of artificial treatment or synthetic manufacture.
    6. Note the Color Variations: Tiger's Eye typically shows a rich brown color with golden to red-brown bands. Unnatural or overly vibrant colors might indicate dyeing or other forms of artificial enhancement.
    7. Use Caution with Cracks: While small cracks can indicate authenticity, large or numerous cracks might suggest a lower quality stone or potential future problems in durability.

    Weigh Your Tiger Eye Stone

    The weight of a tiger eye stone can be indicative of its authenticity. Genuine Tiger's Eye possesses a specific gravity ranging from 2.64 to 2.71.

    To determine whether your stone is real or fake:

    1. Understand Specific Gravity: Specific gravity is the ratio of the density of a substance to the density of a reference substance (usually water). For genuine Tiger's Eye, this typically ranges from 2.64 to 2.71.
    2. Use a Precision Scale: To measure the weight of your stone, use a precision scale that can measure in grams. Ensure the scale is calibrated correctly for accuracy.
    3. Calculate the Volume: To calculate specific gravity, you need the volume of the stone. One way to do this is through water displacement. Fill a graduated cylinder with water and record the volume. Then, submerge the Tiger's Eye in the water and record the new volume. The difference between these two measurements is the volume of the stone.
    4. Calculate Specific Gravity: Divide the weight of the stone (in grams) by its volume (in cubic centimeters). This will give you the specific gravity of the stone.
    5. Compare with Standard Values: Compare the calculated specific gravity to the standard range for Tiger's Eye (2.64 to 2.71). If it falls within this range, it's more likely to be genuine.

    When checking for the authenticity of Tiger Eye, it’s best to conduct several tests along with other factors to improve your chances of finding a real stone. By employing all the methods above, you can gain a better understanding of whether your Tiger Eye stone is real or fake.

    Rarity, Availability, and Types of Tiger's Eye

    how to tell if tiger eye is real - rarity, availability, and types

    Tiger's Eye is a gemstone that can be found in various parts of the world, including South Africa, Australia, and Brazil. It is relatively abundant and widely available for purchase. The most common type of Tiger's Eye is the golden-brown variety, known for its distinctive chatoyancy or "cat's eye" effect. However, there are also other variations of Tiger's Eye such as blue Tiger's Eye and red Tiger's Eye.

    Genuine Tiger's Eye can be readily found in jewelry stores or online marketplaces specializing in gemstones. It is a popular choice due to its unique appearance and affordable price range. However, certain types or colors of Tiger's Eye may be rarer and more valuable than others.

    The golden-brown variety remains the most sought-after type of Tiger's Eye due to its classic appeal and widespread availability. Its warm tones and mesmerizing chatoyancy make it a versatile gemstone that can be used in various jewelry designs.

    Blue Tiger's Eye, also known as Hawk's Eye, exhibits a stunning blue color with subtle chatoyancy. This variant adds a touch of elegance to any piece of jewelry it adorns. Red Tiger's Eye, also known as Bull’s Eye, on the other hand, boasts fiery shades of red combined with the characteristic chatoyancy.

    While genuine Tiger's Eye is easily accessible, it is essential to ensure that you are purchasing from reputable sources to guarantee authenticity. Reputable jewelers will provide certification or guarantees regarding the quality and origin of their gemstones.

    Spotting Fake Tiger's Eye Stones

    fake tiger’s eye stone

    To ensure that you're getting an authentic Tiger's Eye stone, it's essential to be aware of the signs that indicate a fake or counterfeit stone. Synthetic materials like glass or plastic are often used to imitate the appearance of Tiger's Eye, so it's important to know what to look for when examining these mysterious rocks.

    Uniform Coloration without Natural Banding Patterns

    One way to identify a fake Tiger's Eye stone is by examining its coloration and banding patterns. Genuine Tiger's Eye stones typically exhibit distinct bands of golden brown and dark brown colors, giving them their characteristic striped appearance. However, counterfeit stones may lack these natural banding patterns and instead have a more uniform color throughout. So, if you come across a stone that lacks the distinctive stripes commonly associated with Tiger's Eye, there is a high chance it could be fake.

    Signs of Artificial Treatment

    Another clue that can help in detecting fake Tiger's Eye stones is to check for signs of artificial treatment. Some unscrupulous sellers may try to enhance the appearance of their stones by dyeing or heating them. These treatments can alter the natural colors and patterns found in genuine Tiger's Eye stones. If you notice any unnaturally vibrant or intense colors in a supposed Tiger's Eye stone, it might indicate artificial treatment.

    Other Indicators of Counterfeit Stones

    There are additional indicators that can raise suspicions about the authenticity of a Tigers' Eye stone:

    1. Unrealistic Price: If you stumble upon a seller offering tiger eye at an unusually low price compared to market value, exercise caution as it could be an indication of counterfeit merchandise.
    2. Lack of Transparency: Reputable crystal sellers will often provide detailed information about the origin and authenticity of their stones. If a seller cannot provide clear information or avoids answering your questions about the source and authenticity of their tiger eye products, it's advisable to be skeptical.
    3. Weight and Texture: Genuine Tiger's Eye stones tend to have a solid weight and a smooth, polished texture. If the stone feels unnaturally light or has rough edges, it might not be authentic.

    By paying attention to these indicators and being cautious when purchasing Tiger's Eye stones, you can increase your chances of obtaining genuine pieces that possess the unique beauty and energy this crystal is known for.


    Understanding how to differentiate between real and fake tiger's eye gemstones is crucial for gem enthusiasts and buyers alike. By examining the physical characteristics of genuine tiger's eye, such as its chatoyancy and specific color combinations, one can easily spot imitations. Considering the rarity, availability, and types of tiger's eye can provide further insight into its authenticity.

    By being knowledgeable about these aspects, individuals can make informed decisions when purchasing or evaluating tiger's eye gemstones. So next time you come across a potential tiger's eye purchase, remember to closely examine its physical characteristics to ensure its authenticity.


    How can I determine if a Tiger's Eye is real or fake?

    To determine if a Tiger's Eye is real or fake, you can start by examining its physical characteristics. Genuine Tiger Eye has a distinct silky luster, chatoyancy (cat's-eye effect), and a smooth surface. You can perform tests like the scratch test to further confirm its authenticity.

    Are there different types of Tiger Eye gemstones?

    Yes, there are different types of Tiger Eye gemstones. The most common type is golden-brown in color with bands of yellow and brown. However, variations like blue Tiger’s Eye (Hawk's Eye) and red Tiger's Eye (Bull's Eye) also exist, each displaying unique colors and patterns.

    Is tiger's eye a rare gemstone?

    Tiger's Eye is not considered extremely rare but falls into the category of semi-precious gemstones. It is relatively abundant and widely available in the market. However, certain high-quality specimens with exceptional clarity and unique patterns may be more valuable and harder to find.

    How should I care for my Tiger's Eye gemstone?

    To care for your Tiger's Eye gemstone, avoid exposing it to harsh chemicals or extreme temperature changes that could potentially damage it. Clean it gently using warm soapy water and a soft cloth or brush. Store it separately from other jewelry pieces to prevent scratching or chipping.

    Also Read:  How to Cleanse Tiger’s Eye

    Can I find fake Tiger's Eye stones in the market?

    Yes, fake Tiger's Eye stones do exist in the market. Some common materials used as imitations include glass, plastic, or dyed quartz that mimic the appearance of genuine Tiger's Eye. It is important to be cautious when purchasing and rely on reputable sources to ensure you are getting an authentic stone.

    Lisa Wu

    Lisa Wu blends ancient wisdom with modern living, focusing on Feng Shui, crystal healing, meditation, and mindfulness. Through her writings, she guides individuals towards a balanced, mindful lifestyle. Drawing from her rich heritage and personal journey, Lisa inspires a harmonious blend of tradition and contemporary practices.

    Read more about the author

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