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Hematite Properties Facts and Photos

large piece of the mineral hematite in a museum display cabinet
Contents

1. Major Ore of Iron
2. Hematite on Mars
3. From the Greek Word for Blood
4. Component of Red Ochre
5. Healing Properties
6. Article Photos
7. Our Collection of Hematite

Hematite Major Ore of Iron

The mineral hematite which can also be spelt haematite is a major source of metallic iron.  An iron oxide mineral made up of 70% iron and 30% oxygen, it's available in abundance around the world.

Hematite usually occurs with other iron minerals such as goethite and magnetite.  It's 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.

Although hematite is a dense mineral which makes it heavy, it's much harder than pure iron but also brittle.  Colour ranges from black to silver grey, brown to reddish brown and even red.

Hematite which occurs in many different forms has the same crystal structure as corundum.

Streak describes the colour of a mineral in powdered form.  It can often be a different colour to the stone.  Hematite has a blood red to reddish brown streak.  Only after being broken and exposed to air do the edges turn red and powdery. 

Hematite on Mars

Both fine and coarse grains of hematite can be found on Mars.  The planet's red is caused as the fine grains of hematite blow around during dust storms.

The coarse grains which are grey hematite indicate water is likely to have once been present.  With that said, their formation may also be the result of volcanic activity.

Another interesting fact about hematite is because of its density it can block x-rays.  It's therefore used to protect against radiation specifically in medical and scientific environments. 

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

From the Greek Word for Blood

The name haematite originates from the Greek word 'haema' meaning blood.  This is because of its red coloured streak.

Throughout history hematite has been 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.

Main Component of Red Ochre

Red ochre is one of the oldest pigments known to man.  It's made up primarily of the mineral hematite.

This reddish brown coloured iron oxide and main component of rust has been used for thousands of years around the world.

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 which date back 12,000 years to the Neolithic Age.

More recently hematite has been widely used by Native American Indians.  The mineral also featured prominently during the the New Age movement of the 1960's.

Today hematite is 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

Metaphysical Healing Properties

When used for its metaphysical properties hematite is used for grounding and protection.  It boosts self esteem and willpower and is beneficial for those studying mathematics and subjects of a technical nature.  It can help with compulsions, addictions, overeating, stress, circulatory problems and disorders of the blood.

Other healing properties associated with hematite include dissolving negativity, protecting the aura, boosting memory and helping to gently release memories trapped deep within the subconscious.

Although graded 5.5 to 6.5 on Mohs scale of mineral hardness hematite is brittle.
 
When used as a gemstone although sometimes faceted it's most commonly found as a cabochon.  Faceted beads can sometimes resemble black diamonds.

Article Photos

The photos in our article are clickable and redirect to the original non-compressed image.

The hematite in the first photo is on display in the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Washington D.C.  The second is courtesy of Arturo R Montesinos.  The last photo was taken in the Harvard Museum of Natural History, Massachusetts.  Photos 1 and 3 by Stone Mania.

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