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Hematite Properties, Meaning, Facts and Photos

large piece of the mineral hematite in a museum display cabinet

1. What is Hematite? 
2. The Meaning of Hematite
3. Component of Red Ochre
4. Hematite Healing Properties
5. Article Pictures
6. Shop Hematite

What is Hematite?

Hematite (also spelt haematite )is a major source of metallic iron.  It's also one of the main forms of iron oxide with the other being magnetite. 

Hematite is 70% iron, 30% oxygen.  Its chemical composition is two iron atoms and three oxygen atoms.  

Hematite usually occurs with other iron minerals such as goethite and magnetite.  It's available in abundance around the world.

Huge amounts can be found in a type of rock called a banded iron formation.  

Hematite is widely used in the steel industry and ores containing a high percentage of iron can be fed straight into blast furnaces.  These convert iron oxides into liquid iron.

Hematite is a dense mineral which makes it heavy.  It's much harder than pure iron but also brittle.  On Mohs scale of hardness it grades 5.5 to 6.5.

Due to its density hematite can block x-rays.  It's therefore used to protect against radiation specifically in medical and scientific environments.

Its colour ranges from black to silver grey, brown to reddish brown and can also be red.

When used as a gemstone hematite tends to be cut as a cabochon.  Small faceted stones although rare can resemble black diamonds.

Hematite has the same crystal structure as the mineral corundum.  Well formed crystals are quite rare.

It has a blood-red to reddish brown streak.  Streak describes the colour of a mineral in powdered form.  Only after being broken and exposed to air do the edges of hematite turn red and powdery.

After being heated hematite can become magnetic but the magnetism is very weak.

Fine and coarse grains of hematite have been found on Mars.  The planet's red colour is caused as fine grains blow around during dust storms.

The coarse grains which are grey hematite indicate water is likely to have once been present.  Their formation could also be the result of volcanic activity. 

dark grey haematite stone sitting on a chunky silvery grey coloured slice of hematite

The Meaning of Hematite

The meaning of hematite originates from the Greek word 'haema' meaning 'blood.'  This is because of the mineral's red coloured streak.

Throughout history this meaning has led to hematite being widely used for disorders of the blood.  Stones have also been carried to protect the wearer from bleeding.

The prefix 'haema' is present in the word 'haemoglobin' which is the protein that carries oxygen around the blood.  It's also the prefix in 'haematoma' which is a solid swelling of clotted blood and 'haematology' which is the study and treatment of the blood.

The ancient Greek philosopher Theophrastus mentions 'haematites' as having the colour of 'dried blood'.  The Roman author and naturalist Pliny the Elder also mentions it and says the colour is 'blood red'.

Pliny also makes reference to a "precious stone" with the same name.  Historians believe one of these materials is likely to have been hematite but the other, the "precious stone" was probably red jasper.

Main Component of Red Ochre

Red ochre is one of the oldest pigments on the planet.  It's made up primarily of hematite.

Red ochre has been identified in cave paintings known to be at least 40,000 years old.  It's believed to be one of the earliest powders that originates from a natural mineral.

Traces of hematite have been found on skeletal remains that date back 12,000 years to the Neolithic Age.

More recently it has been widely used by Native American Indians.  Hematite also featured prominently during the the New Age movement of the 1970s and 80s.

Today it's still widely used as a pigment.  Many of the red colours around us are composed to some degree of hematite.

Large hematite stone on display in the Harvard Museum of Natural History

Hematite Healing Properties

Hematite is a stone of power that shields and protects.  It deflects negative energy and creates a barrier that protects against hurtful words and behaviour. 

It improves emotional resilience and assists with coping with stress, trauma and emotional challenges.

Hematite improves communication skills which can help you express feelings and emotions more effectively.

It helps you to look at situations objectively enabling you to see the bigger picture.  It aids problem solving and when dealing with conflict can help to establish the facts.

Hematite enhances natural leadership abilities and inspires others to follow your lead.  It amplifies inner strength, resolve and willpower and provides a boost of motivation to enable you to achieve goals and overcome obstacles.

Hematite is particularly beneficial for those studying mathematics or other subjects of a technical nature.

When used for meditation it promotes a deep state of calmness and helps block out unwanted distractions. 

It improves concentration, boosts memory, clears mental fog and dissolves negativity.

If you're easily distracted hematite will help block unnecessary thoughts to enable you to remain focussed.

In a new relationship it can stop things from progressing too quickly.  It will also give you the strength to move on should things not work out.

rough hematite mineral with a metallic lustre

Article Pictures

Pictures are clickable and redirect to the original image.

The hematite in the first photo is on display in the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Washington D.C.

The second photo is courtesy of Arturo R Montesinos.

The hematite in the third photo is housed in the Harvard Museum of Natural History, Massachusetts.

The hematite in the last photo is courtesy of Stan Celestian. 

Photos 1 and 3 were taken by Stone Mania.

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