If you've encountered hematite for sale in stores or referenced in mineral guides, you may be wondering about this stone and its unusual properties. With its iron sheen, dense heft and curious magnetic features, hematite is a fascinating mineral with a wide variety of uses.
Hematite is the naturally occurring form of a type of iron oxide, or oxygenated iron molecules. It is a type of iron ore and is mined for processing into industrial iron, though it's less common than magnetite, a different form of iron oxide. In its natural form, hematite is a shiny, grayish black, a dull clay red or a combination of the two. Hematite naturally occurs in large, banded formations or smaller, crystalline forms.
Hematite is often found in locations where there is standing water and/or hot springs. The mineral is present in the water and builds up in deposits in the surrounding area. Hematite can also be found in dry areas if the mineral gathers during volcanic activity. In the United States, some major sources of hematite include Alabama, Arizona, Wyoming, Utah and Michigan.
Natural hematite is a magnetic substance, but one of somewhat unusual properties when compared to your average kitchen or industrial magnet. Hematite cannot be magnetized through exposure to stronger magnets, meaning its relatively low magnetic strength can't be increased. However, there are different forms of hematite with different levels of magnetic strength due to the fact that some natural strains of hematite are impure, containing more molecules of minerals that can retain and increase magnetism.
For those who practice New Age philosophies, natural stones hold spiritual properties, and hematite is no exception. The tradition among New Age philosophies holds that hematite is effective for channeling certain spiritual energies that help with grounding, focus and cleansing spiritual energies. Hematite is often used during meditation.
In addition to its uses in the production of industrial iron, hematite is used as a grit for tool polishing and sharpening, and in the creation of jewelry and art. It is prized for these latter purposes due to its strength, pleasantly smooth texture and attractive, dark sheen, which is present when hematite is carved into beads, pendants and figurines.
- "Minerals of the World;" Ole Johnsen; 2002