Of Quartz's many varieties few are as stunning yet inexpensive as these. Tiger's Eye is the best known: turn a specimen in the light and, before your very eyes, its dark brown bands will be transmuted by the alchemy of chatoyancy into glowing gold, clear and bright.
Falcon's Eye is a deep, haunting blue which rises from a black background, its silky sheen is rarely so clearly defined as in the other varieties. Dragon's Eye is a rich red colour, glowing eerily as if with inner light.
Tiger's Eye was worn by Roman soldiers for protection when they went into battle for, perhaps, two reasons. On one hand, the jewel itself has a calming influence, and a steady nerve is one of the best defences; on the other hand, the way the jewel beguiles the eye makes it impossible to see the stone at all clearly, making it - and thereby the soldier - a hard target to aim at and hit!
These jewels have a tremendous reputation for iconoclasm and are credited with the power to help break down psychic barriers. These traditions depend on the way dark bands are transformed into light ones, and vice versa, as the stones are turned. They are tangible evidence that opposites are not mutually exclusive. Dualistic doctrines, such as "Good=Light and Dark=Evil", are dissolved in a new, tolerant understanding which realises that such divisions are artificial and depend solely upon your particular point of view. After all, Nature provides another clear example: Night and Day are not clearly divisible, are relative to each other, and are certainly not capable of independent existence!
These stones have also been found helpful in experiments to alter states of consciousness, whether to probe past lives, explore the astral planes, or just think around problems or situations in general.
The three colours have made these stones talismans for an equal number of magically specific uses, either through being worn, carried, or as objects of meditation. Tiger's Eye, being golden, is deemed to attract wealth and social status: it represents the sun and the state of "being in the spotlight". This form of the crystal is by far the most common, and is popularly considered very much a "masculine" gem: it is often used in men's signet rings (maybe harking back to the warrior ethic as typified by the Romans). Griqualand in South West Africa is an important source of Tiger's Eye.
Falcon's Eye (a.k.a. Hawk's Eye, although neither name is particularly apt - the eyes of raptors are usually yellow!) is a shimmering, velvety midnight blue: it symbolises the cool quietude of a night under the stars. As such, it is reputed to relieve stress, bring inner peace, and promote the integration of experience into wisdom - something that can only be accomplished when the mind is in harmony with the rest of the being - body, psyche and emotions. It acts as a balance to the yellow variety, and can be seen as "feminine", although strictly speaking, as all forms contain both light and dark colours, they embody the unity of opposites within themselves.
Dragon's Eye, with its beautiful burgundy hue - and with more than a hint of the colour of dried blood - can be employed when great expenditure of energy, both physical and emotional, is needed. The name is very appropriate, as the crystal does give the impression of belonging to a great, mythical creature whose nature is very different from that of man. It is not a peaceful stone, and should be used with care.
In each variety of the jewel, the Quartz has partially or completely replaced Crocidolite (a.k.a. Fibrous Riebeckite, or Blue Asbestos). In the process the blue colour of Crocidolite is most frequently transformed into golden yellow, but the fibrous composition always remains to provide spectacular optical effects. Crocidolite itself is mined mainly in South Africa and Western Australia: its use as a fireproof building material has brought it into notoriety because, unless properly treated, fibres can become airborne - and their inhalation is dangerous. Asbestos was not always so inappropriately used: in ancient Greece its fibres were used as wicks for perpetual lamps.
It is worth noting that Cat's Eye (a.k.a. Cymophane) is an entirely different mineral (Chrysoberyl). Gem quality Cat's Eyes are found in Ceylon, and are cut in a dome, or cabochon, shape to accentuate their chatoyancy. They contain parallel, hair-thin channels which reflect light, producing a shining streak of light which resemble cat's eyes. Perhaps the best specimens are of a variety of Chrysoberyl called Alexandrite which has the remarkable property of being green in daylight, but red under artificial light.
© Ken and Joules Taylor: Crystal Lore (Series 1), published 1994.