Because of recent finds, prices of chrysoberyl cat's eyes have become much more reasonable than in the past. Chrysoberyl is extremely hard and suitable for any kind of jewelry.
Prized for their beauty, hardness, and durability, chrysoberyl cat's eyes are especially popular in Japan and among card dealers in Las Vegas.
Cat's eye chrysoberyl is also known as cymophane, - then name being derived from the Greek words cyma and phanes, meaning “wave” and “appearance.” Microscopic needle-like inclusions inside the stone reflect a streak of light known as the cat’s eye. The cat's eye’s inclusions are aligned parallel to the crystallographic axis and they are always cut as cabochons with the fibrous need-like inclusions running across the narrow part of the stone as this is the only way to display the effect properly. The effect becomes most apparent under a spotlight or under direct sunlight. A thin bright band of light will appear and open and close as the stone is rotated – hence the eye like effect. This phenomenon is also known as chatoyancy, which comes from the French chat for cat, and oeil for eye.
Although other minerals including tourmaline, beryl, scapolite and quartz may also display the cat's eye effect. These stones are referred to as tourmaline cat’s eyes or quartz cat’s eyes etc., and only chrysoberyl is referred to as "cat's eye" with no other designation.
“Milk and honey” is a term commonly used to describe the color of the best cat’s eyes. The effect refers to the sharp milky ray of white light normally crossing the cabochon as a center line along its length and overlying the honey colored background. Lemon yellow cat’s eyes are also popular and attractive. Cat's eye material is found as a small percentage of the overall chrysoberyl production wherever chrysoberyl is found.