Cat's-eye Actinolite Gemstone

Cat's-eye Actinolite Gemstone

Actinolite is derived from the Greek word AKTIS which means Beam or Ray, referring to the mineral's fibrous nature.

Cat's-eye Actinolite is of an amphibole silicate chemical composition. It occurs in a monoclinic crystal structure. It has a hardness of 5.5 to 6 on the Mohs scale, with a good cleavage.

Cat's-eye Actinolite is translucent to opaque, and is usually green to yellowish-green in color similar to that of fine Jade. Cat's-eye Actinolite may also occur in rarer colors such as white, colorless, yellow, gray, brown and black (colors that are also found in Nephrite Jade).

Transparent Actinolite is extremely rare and is faceted only as a gem collector's item.

When cut and polished, the crystal form of Cat's-eye Actinolite has a glass-like luster, but usually it exhibits a dull luster.

There are two forms of Actinolite that are used as gemstones; one is Nephrite Jade which is a variety of tremolite–actinolite series of amphiboles; another is the chatoyant form known as cat's-eye Actinolite. Owing to their similarity and close association, Cat's-eye Actinolite is sometimes misleadingly referred to as Cat's-eye Jade.

The fine fibers of Actinolite allows the display of rare chatoyant or cat’s eye effect; that is to say, as a finished, cut and polished product. These fine fiber inclusions aligned in a sufficient quantity and quality allowing a concentrated line of light to appear to glide across the surface of the cabochon cat's-eye Actinolite gemstone.

As stated earlier, Cat's-eye Actinolite is closely related to Nephrite. In fact, it was thought to be one mineral type until 1863 when it was discovered that they are different minerals though they share many of the same gemological properties. Nephrite Jade, for instance, is also of a basic calcium magnesium aluminum silicate with the chemical formula Ca2(Mg,Fe2+)5[OHlSi4O11]2, the same chemical formula of Cat's-eye Actinolite. They also have the same hardness level.

The differences between these 2 rare gems are as follows:

1) Refractive Index
Cat's-eye Actinolite has a refractive index of 1.590 to 1.623 whereas Nephrite has a refractive index of 1.600 to 1.627.

2) Density
Nephrite has a density of 2.90 to 3.03 whereas Cat's-eye Actinolite has a density of 3.03 to 3.07

3) Double Refraction or Birefringence
Cat's-eye Actinolite's is at 0.020 to 0.025 and Nephrite -0.027 to often none.

4) Cleavage
Nephrite has no cleavage whereas Cat's-eye Actinolite occurs with a good cleavage (means more vulnerable to breakage). Nephrite's lack of cleavage makes it very tough and durable and less prone to breakage.

Both have a monoclinic crystal structure. However, Cat's-eye Actinolite is more translucent and in some rare cases, transparent whereas Nephrite is usually found as translucent to opaque and is ordinarily colored green, mottled or flecked with dark inclusions.

Cat's-eye Actinolite is usually cut en cabochon and the common shapes that are fashioned into are ovals, rounds and pears. Generally, many Cat's-eye Actinolite gemstones are cut with uneven bottoms so as to center and properly orient the cat’s-eye slit in the finished gemstone.

Cat's-eye Actinolite is very popular for its metaphysical abilities. It is the stone per excellence that crystal healers use for spiritual and physical healing. It is known to channel life force and promote growth and fertility so much so that it was often placed in gardens to promote growth of plants.

Due to it occurring in a variety of colors, it is also used for balancing the energy centers in the body known as chakras. It is believed that it produces soothing energies and awareness. Being so similar to Nephrite Jade, Cat's-eye Actinolite also carries the powers and healing metaphysical properties of Nephrite Jade.

Nephrite Jade has been considered a sacred powerful stone by different people, cultures and civilizations. It is esteemed as a magical stone with tremendous powers. It blesses anyone who touches it. Jade is named after the kidney because ancient people noticed that it could cleanse and cure any ailments and illness coming from the liver, spleen and kidneys. In Asia today, Nephrite Jade is still being used as a talisman and amulet for protection against accidents and illnesses, for good health, long life and prosperity.

Cat's-eye Actinolite also helps in getting rid of those negative self-talks and gives emotional balance.

Cat's-eye Actinolite is usually not known by the average gemstone buyers. They do know the other Actinolite form which is Nephrite. Cat's-eye Actinolite is rather soft and should be worn with care. It is an exquisite gorgeous gemstone. It is best suited as a cabochon ring which displays the magical and mysterious cat’s eye effect. Nonetheless, it is known that Cat's-eye Actinolite displays a strong chatoyancy similar to Chrysoberyl Cat's Eye effect, that even in indirect lighting, it can reflect a beautiful cat’s eye slit. Therefore, Cat's-eye Actinolite jewelry can also be worn as Pendants, earrings, pins and brooches,

To clean your precious Cat's-eye Actinolite simply use plain water with soap and a soft cloth and rinse any soapy residue. Remember to store your lovely Cat's-eye Actinolite away from other harder gemstones that might be able to scratch it.

Gem-quality Actinolite is an extremely rare material, more so the crystals that exhibit the Cat’s Eye effect. Major sources for Cat's-eye Actinolite are found in Taiwan and Canada. Other sources are Madagascar, Tanzania, Western Australia, Brazil and the United States.