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Actinolite Cat's Eye
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Actinolite cat's eye is a rare translucent gemstone variety of chatoyant actinolite. It is often misleadingly referred to as "cat's eye jade", because of its close association with nephrite jade. The name 'actinolite' was derived from the Greek word for 'ray' or 'beam', which refers to its fibrous nature. These fine fibers allow actinolite to exhibit the rare 'cats eye effect'. When aligned fibrous inclusions occur in sufficient quantity and quality, a concentrated line of light appears to glide across the surface of domed stones when properly oriented and cut en cabochon. Cat's eye gemstones must be viewed under a strong light in order to display the reflective eye, although some finer specimens may exhibit chatoyancy even in faint direct light.

Actinolite is an amphibole silicate mineral and is actually quite common in occurrence, although gem-quality materials are extremely rare. Actinolite belongs to a series of minerals ranging from iron-rich tremolite to magnesium-rich ferro-actinolite amphiboles. Actinolite is an intermediate member of the mineral series, as is nephrite, which is an aggregate variety of tremolite-actinolite.
 
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