1. Hematite Major Ore of Iron
2. The Presence of Hematite on Mars
3. Haematite from the Greek for Blood
4. Hematite Component of Red Ochre
5. Healing Properties of Hematite
6. Article Photos
7. Hematite | Explore Our Collection
8. Read More
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 but usually occurs with other iron minerals such as goethite and magnetite. Hematite is widely used in the steel industry and ores containing a high percentage of iron can be fed straight into blast furnaces which 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 so will chip or shatter very easily. Colour ranges from black to silver grey, brown to reddish brown and even red and although it occurs in many different forms, it has the same crystal structure as corundum. Both ruby and sapphire are gemstone varieties of the mineral corundum.
Streak is a term used in mineralogy to describe the colour of a mineral in powdered form and can often be a different colour to the stone. Hematite has a blood red to reddish brown streak but only after being broken and exposed to air do the mineral's edges turn red and powdery.
The Presence of Hematite on Mars
Both fine and coarse grains of the mineral hematite can be found on Mars and during dust storms it's the fine grains which blow around and give the planet its red appearance. It's for this reason that Mars is known as the Red Planet. The coarse grains which are grey hematite indicate water is likely to have once been present but with that said, their formation may also be the result of volcanic activity.
Something else that's interesting about hematite is that because of its density it has the ability to block x-rays so is used to protect against radiation specifically in medical and scientific environments.
Haematite. Photo; Arturo R Montesinos
Haematite from the Greek Word for Blood
The name haematite originates from the Greek word 'haema' meaning blood because of the deep red colour of the mineral's streak. For this reason throughout history it has been widely used for healing disorders of the blood and to protect the wearer from bleeding. The prefix "haema" is also present in the words haemoglobin, the protein which carries oxygen around the blood, haematoma which is a solid swelling of clotted blood and haematology which is the study and treatment of the blood.
Hematite Main Component of Red Ochre
Red ochre which is one of the oldest pigments known to man is 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 by people around the world. Red ochre has been identified in cave paintings known to be at least 40,000 years old and as a powder, it's believed to be one of the earliest that originates from a natural mineral. Traces of hematite have also been found on skeletal remains which date back 12,000 years to the Neolithic Age.
More recently the mineral hematite has been used by Native American Indians and also played an important part during the New Age movement of the 1960's. Today it's still widely used as a pigment and many of the red colours that we see around us are composed to some degree of hematite.
Healing Properties of Hematite
In crystal healing hematite is considered to be effective for grounding and protecting, it boosts self esteem and willpower and is beneficial for those studying mathematics and other subjects of a technical nature. It can help with compulsions, addictions, overeating, stress, circulatory problems and all disorders of the blood.
Other healing properties associated with hematite include dissolving negativity, protecting the aura, boosting memory and helping to gently release memories that are trapped deep within the subconscious.
Although graded 5½ to 6½ on Mohs scale of mineral hardness hematite is brittle so will shatter easily. When used as a gemstone although it may be faceted it's most commonly found as a cabochon. Beads that have been faceted can sometimes resemble black diamonds.
All three photographs of the mineral hematite that we've used in our article are clickable and redirect to the original full size image. The hematite featured in the photo at the top of the page is on display in the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Washington D.C. The next exhibit is in the Harvard Museum of Natural History, Massachusetts. Both photos were taken by Stone Mania ©.