Hematite Facts and Buying Guide
by Sheweta Dhanuka
Hematite plays an indirectly a vital role in our day-to-day life as it is used as an important ore of iron. Iron is procured from Hematite and steel is procured from iron. Its powder form consist of dark red colour, thus it acts as pigment for the making paints. Also the powdered form is mixed in animal fat and used as red or brown paint for artwork and pottery.
Hematite, the name is derived from a Greek word ‘haimatites’ meaning bloodlike. Its powder form is blood red in colour so it is named accordingly. Since many years it is been used as amulets. Even today it is treasured a lot by the gemstone collectors. In order to assist the buyer in making the genuine purchase of this gemstone, we offer here facts about it. These facts would provide the necessary information in terms of all the general characteristics that shall also act as a buying guide.
It occurs in varied colours such as steel or silver gray, black, orange, red and brown. Some common shades are blackish gray, brownish red, reddish gray, blackish red. It appears red, orange and brown in colour when iron present in the compositions starts getting rusted. It gets rusted when it comes in contact with water and air. This gemstone has one unique property. When heated it might turn black and after getting cooled it reverts back to its previous colour.
It contains metallic to earthy luster. It is opaque in nature. It possesses uneven fractures in rough but after the necessary gemstone processing the fractures are removed. Moreover, being opaque in nature no fractures are visible by the naked eyes. The originality of the stone can be judged from the luster alone.
This shiny gemstone is hand grounded and polished before cutting. Later the cutters create innovative shapes and cuts. The commonly seen cuts are pear, oval, round, cabochon etc. For this stone, it is even possible to give the cut as desired by the customer that is it can be custom made too.
Large and massive crystals are found, which are cut and polished to make gemstone. Stone sizes in different carat weight are easily available. Different jewelry pieces require stones with different carat weight. For example, pendants can hold stone of any carat weight. When compared to the availability of other semi precious gemstones, Hematite is easily available therefore higher carat weight can be selected. Moreover, large stones with good luster enhance the look of the jewelry and make the wearer more attractive. For earrings and rings the ideal weight is between 2-6 ctw.
For this stone the price is largely dependent on the carat weight, cut and luster. Higher the carat weight more shall be the price. Common cuts would be priced moderately but any new or custom made cut would be priced a little more. Last but not the least luster. Metallic luster would cost more than the earthy or dull luster. When used as ornamental stone for carvings, then carving done a single solid piece of natural stone would cost more than those done using different pieces.
It is found in those deposits where sediments are deposited from rivers and streams. Many types of igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks are the source of this mineral. It can be any form like column shaped crystal, granular or thin plates. It can also come into existence when other minerals like magnetite, limonite and siderite looses water due to heat. This process is known as weathering.
Hematite is procured in varied forms. To know this gemstone well, one has to be aware of its varieties too. All forms are used as gemstone and ornamental stone. These are classified on the basis of its occurrence.
It is found in a circular arrangement of bladed crystals that resembles rose. Thus, it is named Hematite Rose. It is also referred as Iron rose.
It is formed once in many years in the sedimentary deposits that contains alternating layers of silver gray hematite and red jasper or even tiger eye quartz.
This variety is very rare and one of the most sought by the gemstone collectors. It occurs in the massive botryoidal, reniform and mammilary form that appears like lumpy kidney mass.
This variety is reddish brown in colour. It is formed in sedimentary deposits and is composed of small rounded grains. It consists of an earthy luster. It is used for making paints thus also know as Paint Ore.
Specularite is the additional name for this variety. It is a flaky stone that can be sparkling silver gray, red or silvery black in colour. When rotated it produce a glistening effect. It is used as an ornamental stone. Also used as intaglios in men’s signet rings. The best quality is obtained from United Kingdom.
It is iridescent variety displaying a play of colours. The superior quality is found at Rio Marina and on the island of Elba, Italy.
It is found in soft, fine grained earthy form. Due to its red colour it is used as pigment in paints and crayons. Its purified form is used for polishing the plate glass.
This variety is rich in titanium impurity thus named accordingly.
It is obtained in huge quantity from Untied Kingdom and the Lake Superior & Appalachian Mountain region in United States. Few states of United States also produce this mineral viz. Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, New York, Pennsylvania, Alabama, New Jersey, Missouri, Colorado and Wyoming. Massive crystals are found on the island of Elba in Italy and in Minas Gerais, Matto Grosso and Antonio Pereira in Brazil. Other countries are Canada, Newfoundland Germany, Norway, Sweden, Spain, New Zealand, Mexico and Australia.
It is often fashioned into carvings, cameos, intaglios and beads. Large stones are used as ornamental stones for carving magnificent figures and sculptors. Beads are made and hardened from the paste of this mineral. It can be oval, round, baroque, chip form or any other shape. The size could vary between 2mm to 10mm. These are widely used in costume jewelry. Bracelets and necklaces of beads are also popular among the females in different countries.
Well formed crystals of this mineral are cut and polished which are used for making captivating jewelry pieces and ornaments. Handcrafted earrings, pendants and rings made from this gemstone are quite popular among the younger generation. It is more used for jewelry worn for casual wear. It is mostly made of sterling silver. Yellow gold is not at all suitable for this metallic lustrous gemstone. White gold can be used but it is more expensive than the worth of the stone thus, is not preferred.
Apart from the jewelry making, it is used in many different ways. It plays an indirectly a vital role in our day-to-day life as it is used as an important ore of iron. Iron is procured from Hematite and steel is procured from iron. Its powder form consist of dark red colour, thus it acts as pigment for the making paints. Also the powdered form is mixed in animal fat and used as red or brown paint for artwork and pottery. It is highly magnetized due to the presence of iron in it thus, is used as form making various digital equipments.
It is rated between 5.5 – 6.5 Mohs on the hardness scale. It is a tough and durable stone. It does not require any specific care. Only general gemstone precautions should be taken for the lifetime retention of the stone. It hardness can be used to identify the originality of the stone. Due to high hardness it can easily scratch the glass but in turn any quartz scratches it.
It is said to enhance the mental activities by creating a balance of the energies and emotions between body, mind and soul. It also helps in achieving the dreams, hopes, desires and wishes. It even aids incurring diseases like blood disorders, nervous disorders, insomnia, kidney disorders, leg cramps and fractures. These days astrologers recommend this gemstone for the IT professionals as it helps in developing original thinking, logical processing of brain and technical knowledge.
Hematite offers us with materialistic comforts, as it is indirectly responsible for the procurement of steel. Similarly it also provides mental comfort, as it eliminates negativity from our entire system and provides peace of mind. Thus, it can be said that this metallic lustrous beauty is key to happy life in all the aspects.