Stone Feature – Hematite

Hematite is one of those interesting dark stones that doesn’t get nearly enough attention in the fields of jewelry and crafting as perhaps it should.

Industrial Uses
This metallic looking stone is actually a type of iron ore, which ranges in color from red to steel grey. It was one of the first minerals to be processed into the iron and steel we’re familiar with, because 60% of it is actually iron.

Earlier mining practices ended up leaving a fair amount of hematite in their waste material. The folks who currently work Minnesota’s iron range have devised a way to retrieve some of that wasted material for processing through the use of magnets.

In addition to creating iron and steel, certain varieties are used as pigment for paints and jewelry. Mines dug for hematite have been discovered dating all the way back to 5000 BCE.

Some of my beads and a necklace I’ve had for years.

How Hematite Is Formed
Grey hematite, the kind most of us are familiar with, forms where water once stood, but the mineral itself can also result from volcanic activity. Interestingly, it can form in a number of ways, one of which is in flat sheets. When it does that, it can end up looking like a flower, hence one of its names – the Iron Rose.

It was formed when oceans from prehistoric times evaporated, leaving behind traces of iron. That iron then combined with oxygen, and with the intervention of sunlight, created hematite. Because it’s such an old mineral, it’s also been found in metamorphic rock, which was formed from the movement of the Earth’s crust. Interestingly, it’s also found in what’s called igneous rock, which is formed when magma cools down deep underground.

Just in case plain old Earth hematite isn’t interesting enough for you, it’s also been found in two separate sites on Mars. This could lead more credence to the theory that Mars was once host to a fair amount of liquid water, which could mean it also had life inhabiting its surface.

Metaphysical Properties of Hematite
Because hematite has a fair amount of weight to it, and is so dark in color, it’s believed to have quite a few protective and grounding properties to it. Its red color also connects it with life and health, so many believe it’s also a healing stone. In fact, it was used as a tool to stop bleeding in ancient Egypt. Amongst other uses, it’s also handy as a divination tool, thanks to its reflective surface.

Regardless of believe, hematite is a fascinating stone, and works beautifully with quite a few different types of ornamentation, whether it’s a steam punk, New Age or Gothic theme.

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