Tiger's Eye forms when Quartz forms over existing bluish-gray Crocidolite, and eventually entirely replaces it. Crocidolite is a type of asbestos mineral, which means its composition is of fine, dense fibers. These fibers form in a parallel yet wavy orientation, and this causes the intriguing chatoyant effect exhibited in Tiger's Eye. During the replacement process, the iron within the Crocidolite dissolves and stains the Quartz, thereby providing the golden yellow to brown color of the Tiger's Eye.
Tiger's Eye may form together with brownish-red or metallic-gray Hematite, or with yellow Limonite, where these minerals form stripes, streaks, or patterns within the Tiger's Eye. Such material is often called Tiger's Eye Matrix.
When cutting and polishing Tiger's Eye gemstones, skillful orientation to the fibrous structure must be applied to achieve the best chatoyancy. Ideally, the cut should be perfectly parallel to the length of the fibers to achieve the fullest chatoyancy. Cat's eye effect in Tiger's Eye does exist but is uncommon in perfect form due to the wavy nature of the fibers.
Tiger's Eye is used in beads for bracelets and necklaces, as well as in pendants. It is also used for costume jewelry and occasionally used for ornate carvings or floral pins. The best specimens of tiger's-eye are usually cut en cabochon in an orientation that yields the best display of chatoyancy. Gemstones' cuts of Tiger's Eye are encountered but are not common.