I’m looking for a particular stone originally sold as Australian
Tiger Eye. I purchased a small slab several years ago from a
vendor at a local rock club show and have not been able to find
more. On Lapidary Digest I was told it may be Marri Mamba which
comes from an Australian mine. I was also told that it isn’t
sold on the wholesale market and only small quantities are sold
at all. I made a scan of the piece to show what it looks like.
The stone is actually more brownish-olive than olive (as it
appears in the scan) and the matrixing is similar to picture
jasper in that it often looks like a landscape but with a red or
So… possibly this is Australian Tiger Iron? I have a slice
that’s not as graphic a design as yours… but I could see the
possibility of getting such a pattern if you sliced along the
grain, instead of across it. Probably lose the slight chatoyancy,
but the nicer pattern might be worth it? This is conjecture on
my part, but when I can pick up a chunk somewhere, I’ll try it
BTW, how hard is your material compared to quartz?
Dear Carol Bova, re “Australian Tiger’s Eye”. I use a variety
that comes from the Northern Territory which is blue and banded
in association with haemetite. It is quite attractive and is
usually sold in simply tumbled form. Sometimes the banding
between the blue asbestos and the haemetite is regular and
unbroken, other times it can be interestingly fragmented,
presenting like miniature geological fault lines and fractures.
As far as I know it occurs associated with iron ore mining.
Someone at the Gemmological Association of Australia is bound to
know more about it than I do. You could try their site on http://www.gem.org.au
I still use it for the appropriate design and have been for
about 20 years. Hope this helps, Rex from Oz
Good to hear from you! Its been over a year since I cut those
(probably close to two years), but if I remember correctly the
slab I had was varying degrees of hardness, with some areas being
very soft and others very hard. The dark part at the bottom of
the scanned image is hematite, I think, and was very hard (like
the pyritized (sp?) stuff in Moroccan ammonites). I could not
get a good polish on it and it undercut a lot, but the stone was
so striking I used it anyway. Not sure what its called, but I
lost the first piece I tried to cut because the diamond wheel I
was using was too coarse and it split into layers like shale or
mica does. I’ve sold several pieces and two customers keep asking
when I will get more. Don’t know why I never thought to put up
an image on my web site and ask. DUH! thunk, thunk (palm hitting
The scan also does not show the chatoyancy, but it does have
quite a lot in the brown regions in the middle and top right.
The yellow splash is slightly chatoyant also.
Thanks for the www references. They were very interesting and I
can pass along the info when a customer purchases my last two
pieces. Except for the people who misunderstood that I wanted
more of the SAME stone (and informed me that they had 'good’
brown/golden tiger eye for sale) most suggested that it was
probably Tiger Iron, also.
One of the first responses I received was from a man active in
the California Federation of Mineralogical Societies and he is
the one who told me about Marri Mamba:
I took a look at your stone image and what you have
may well be a piece of Marri Mamba from Australia. It is not
sold wholsesale and the mine owner in Australia sells only
small quantities at a time for high prices. It resembles
Tiger Eye but has more Hemitite than Tiger Eye. Premium pieces
usually have a very bright red overall color. Yours seems to
have more matrix than the basic stone usually found on the
market. I have two pieces but will not part with any of it,
Thought you might be interested in this response also:
I didn't look at the picture, but it sounds like that's
what you have. Australian Tigereye is a brecciated form of the
minerals forming tigereye, meaning that as the crystals were
forming, geologic forces pushed them around so that it has an
irregular shape compared to what we usually think of as
tigereye. In new age circles this is also known as Tempest
Stone. Calling it that usually adds 3x to the price. South
Africa has a similar stone called pietersite and here in Minn.
we have Silkstone and Binghamite which are very similar to
Australian Tigereye. If you are interested in working it, it
handles pretty much the same as tigereye. There might be a
little undercutting in sections that have streaks of hematite
(silvery black mineral), but it will polish up beautifully.
Interesting that if its called Tempest Stone its 3x’s as much.
Hmmm… but I think I like Marri (or Marra) Mamba better.
I received a post this afternoon from someone in TN that has
some he says looks just like my scan with the reds, golds,
olives, mountains, etc. He is sending me some, but let me know
if you come across any it is such a neat stone I’m sure I could
use more. Nancy
Bacliff, Texas US on the Gulf Coast just blocks from Galveston Bay