Chatoyant – adjective: having a changeable luster or color with an undulating narrow band of white light <a chatoyant gem>
Origin: Coined from the French “œil de chat,” meaning “cat’s eye”
Chatoyant. Chatoyance. Chatoyancy. I love the way the word flows off my tongue. It has such a beautiful feel to the mouth when spoken. Yummy. But enough about the sensuality of the word, let’s talk about what it means!
Have you ever looked at a stone and noticed the light dancing inside? Have you ever looked at a polished stone and saw what looked like ‘angel hair’, that white iridescent trim and stringy stuff we used to put on Christmas trees (before it was banned)? Have you ever looked at a polished agate and were teased by what might be a hologram somewhere within the lines of the stone? This is chatoyance – the playful dance of light caused by fibrous inclusions or cavities within a stone. It is what creates the ‘star’ in a star sapphire or star ruby.
When polishing stones, nothing thrills me more than to discover that my piece is waiting for me to bring out its chatoyance, the inner glow, the soul of the stone.