Hematite Gemstone Information
Hematite is one of the most abundant stones in the world. Plus, it offers a unique beauty, making it a popular stone for jewelry. However, even though it’s widely seen, many people have questions about hematite.
If you’re curious about the hematite stone, you’re in luck. Here is an overview of the hematite properties, color, history, meaning, and more.
Hematite isn’t classified officially as a gemstone. Instead, it’s an iron oxide mineral and a relatively soft one at that. With a hardness of just 5.5, you can scratch the hematite mineral with a metal nail or similar item, and it can break if struck hard against a surface.
As a result, many people who wear hematite jewelry exercise a bit of caution. They may only wear pieces that won’t come in contact with other surfaces, like strand necklaces or pendants, or remove the piece if they’re doing some active or hands-on.
Many people wonder, “Is hematite magnetic?” The answer is, no, hematite isn’t particularly magnetic naturally. While it does contain iron oxide, the magnetic field is incredibly weak. As a result, natural hematite won’t easily stick to other pieces of hematite, the side of your refrigerator, a regular magnet, or other suitable surfaces.
However, there is a human-made product called “magnetic hematite” that does have that property. It’s a manufactured material that looks like hematite but isn’t the real deal.
Magnetic hematite can have varying compositions depending on the manufacturer. However, all of them tend to have the same metallic look and strong magnetic properties.
Many people are surprised when they hear that hematite comes in more than one color. Most people are familiar with the classic silvery gray version of hematite – which can range from a near black to a lighter ash – as that is what’s most widely used for jewelry and other ornamental purposes.
However, thanks to the iron oxide, hematite can also be a brick red or ruddy brown. The shades in this range are very earthy, such as you find in clay featuring similar hues.
Many larger samples exhibit a few colors, with variations in the red, brown, and gray hues. Often, they seem to exist in layers, though splotches of shifting hues are also quite common.
In practically all cases, the hematite color is augmented by a sheen. The sheen gives the stone a metallic quality in the specimens featuring grayer coloring, not unlike polished steel or silver. With red or brown pieces, the shine does feel less metallic. However, it is incredibly brilliant, reflecting light with ease.
The History of Hematite
The name “hematite” is derived from the Greek word for blood. Mainly, this is because of the brick red coloring the stone has when first mined.
Hematite does have a long history. Evidence of the stone has been found in Pinnacle-Point, indicating Middle Stone Age people have used it. That period dates back 40,000 to 170,000 years ago. Residue has also been identified in graves dating back 80,000 years. There is also evidence that hematite was used for pottery around 5,000 BC.
When it comes to hematite uses, the focus is typically on ornamental ones. It’s popular for jewelry and, due to its hardness, is suitable for carvings.
As for the hematite stone benefits to industry, there are quite a few. The high iron content means it can be used to support the production of steel. Hematite also makes its way into certain pigments and abrasives, giving it a function beyond the ornamental.
Where Is Hematite Found?
Like many stones, hematite is found in several areas on the planet. The Lake Superior region of North America – with deposits on the United States and Canadian side – is one of the most prominent sources. Hematite is also found in Brazil, China, Venezuela, India, England, Mexico, Russia, Australia, South Africa, and several regions of Canada.
If you’re searching for hematite jewelry, you’re in luck. While you may not find much in chain jewelry stores, it’s incredibly popular among independent designers. As a result, you can find a hematite bracelet, necklace, ring, and more with relative ease.
Generally speaking, hematite beads and cabochons are the simplest to find. With those shapes, the metallic sheen of the hematite mineral is well captured.
You can also find carved pendants and rings made entirely of hematite. The softness of the stone makes it easy to work with, allowing it to be made into lovely shapes fairly simply.
Tumbled hematite jewelry is available as well. With these, the stone has a less refined shape, giving the sense that you may have just picked up off the shore of a lake.
You may see faceted hematite in some cases, as the flat surface can also showcase the metallic quality. However, this isn’t as common.
The hematite stone meaning varies depending on a person’s belief system. However, many of the hematite metaphysical properties are consistent across them or, at least, complimentary.
Some consider the hematite benefits to be highly protective, giving you the courage to face challenges. Others think the hematite bracelet benefits are more connected to maintaining a clear mind. Some relate it to groundedness, possibly due to its occasional association with the root chakra.
When it comes to hematite healing properties, many associate the gemstone with blood and circulatory conditions due to the name of the stone. However, it’s crucial to remember that the hematite meaning and uses – like meditating or wearing the gem – aren’t substitutes for genuine medical care.
If you’re experiencing health concerns, holding, wearing, or meditating on hematite likely won’t cause harm. But it is also crucial to seek care from a trained medical professional.
Stones Similar to Hematite
Typically, when people look for hematite jewelry or gems, they are focused on the metallic gray versions. As a result, that’s what we’ll focus on here.
In some cases, magnetite could be a reasonable stand-in for hematite. Both are iron oxide minerals and, when compared to the silvery version of hematite, the coloring can be similar. Magnetite also has a metallic sheen and a similar hardness.
However, magnetite, as the name suggests, is magnetic. The main drawbacks are that it isn’t as widely available, and it isn’t uncommon for pieces sold as magnetite to actually feature manufactured magnetic hematite.
Black agate can have similar coloring. However, the shine doesn’t quite have the same metallic quality.
Alternatively, if you’re looking for a gray gem that also has a nice sheen, gray pearls may work as a substitute. The luster and coloring can be a bit similar, though there is still quite a distinctiveness between these two options.
Many manufactured stones resemble hematite. They go by a range of brand names, some of which may lead you to believe they are a natural stone. If you see a piece that looks like hematite but has an unfamiliar name, it’s wise to look it up to see if the gem is natural or artificial.
If you want a stand-in for red hematite, Carnelian is likely your best choice. It can come in a similar brick red color and has a nice shine, making it a reasonable alternative.