“My eyes? What have my eyes got to do with . . .”
“They’re the color of verra fine whisky, wi’ the sun shining through them from behind. I thought this morning they looked like sherry, but I was wrong. Not sherry. Not brandy. It’s whisky. That’s what it is.” He looked so gratified as he said this that I couldn’t help laughing.
-Diana Gabaldon Dragonfly in Amber
Have you ever seen a wolf on the streets? Or maybe it was just a person with flashing amber eyes?
These strong, gold to cooper colored hues are caused by pheomelanin also known as lipochrome in the eye. This type of pigment is found in many parts of the body including the hair, lips, and genitals. In these areas, it gives a red hue, which translates to golds and coopers in the eye. Amber colored eyes should not be confused with hazel eyes. The former is a solid coloring while hazel eyes are a mix of several colors swirling and breaking against each other.
The high concentration of pheomelanin in the eye is rare in humans, but many of our animal brethren come by it more easily. Wolves, foxes, and large cats are some of the first animals that come to mind. Many writers use this eye color to bring animalistic traits to their characters or to foreshadow special powers like shape changing or magic.
MTV’s Teen Wolf uses this trope with their lupine characters, their eyes turning gold during transformation. It is a nice warning to others to start to run when they flash gold. Being werewolf food would not be a fun ending!
Claire Fraser from Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series has golden colored eyes. Throughout the books and television show she travels through time, uses herb craft, and is outright accused of witchcraft and bewitching others (her husband included) several times. The amber eye trope in this series shows that there is something special about the character that might not be evident in other ways on the surface.
While people in real life might not have magical powers or shape shifting abilities, those with amber colored eyes are rarities. They have a unique and beautiful gift.
About the author: Tiffany Kraus is a territory sales manager for Amcon Labs who writes in her spare time. For medical advice please ask a medical professional. For advice on great books and tv shows to watch, go ahead and drop her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.