The Finest Cabochon Gemstones in the World

The Crystal Blog

Tiger Iron

Tiger Iron aka Iron Tiger Eye

Since attaining my first accreditation from Gem-A, I have found myself looking at gemstones in a completely different way. Two gems may look very similar in terms of colour and translucency or transparency, but there are subtle differences which will make them unique to the place that they were mined, i.e. their locality. The changes in the land over millions of years give gemstones their unique signatures and appearance, and none more so than Tiger Iron. The beginnings of tiger irons formation go way back to the Archean Eon. This is the earliest truly geological period, during which time the earth's crust was formed, some 4 billion to 2.5 billion years ago. It is in geological material of this age, and only of this age, that tiger iron can be found, in what's known as a 'banded iron formation' or BIF. There is only one dedicated mine in the world where the geology brings together quartz and iron ore, in such a way as to create Tiger Iron, and it is located in Port Hedland Shire, on the north coast of Western Australia. Other sources are generally Tigers Eye mines also in Western Australia and South Africa. 

Tiger Iron is a banded ironstone rock comprising of bands of hematite, tigers eye, and red jasper. Tiger Iron has a trigonal crystal system and its banded make up sees its hardness on the Mohs scale ranging between 5 and 7. 

I think Tiger Iron is a very under rated ornamental gemstone. As I'm a bit of a magpie, I find the shimmering chatoyancy of the tigers eye, mixed with the matalic luster of the hematite, with the addition of what can be a very vivid red from the red jasper irresistible to my eye. I'm very happy to have added this catogory to my website and I hope you like them as much as I do.

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