Tumbled Hematite

Hematite usually occurs as massive, opaque material withg a metallic lustre, showing a blood-red colour when cut into thin slices. However, it can occur as short, black, rhombohedral crystals, and may have iridescent surfaces. When arranged like the petals of a flower, hematite is called an iron rose. Shiny crystals may be called specular hematite, a name derived from their traditional use in mirrors.

Main deposits are in igneous rocks in North America (Lake Superior and Quebec), Brazil, Venezuela, and England. Iron roses are present in Switzerland and Brazil; cuttable material in England, Germany, and Elba.

Powdered, it may be used being an artist’s pigment or for polishing. In the past it was used to protect the wearer from bleeding.

Hematite Pictures

Rough hematite from Brazil

Chemical Composition :

Iron Oxide – Fe2O3

Crystal System / Forms :

Trigonal System / Compact reniform nodules, fibrous and radiating form, rhombohedral crystals.

Cuts & Uses :

Cabochons, cameos, beads, facetted cuts, etc.

Hardness : 6.5
Lustre : Metallic
Optic Character :

Anisotropic D.R.; Opaque

Pleochroism : None
Refractive Index / Birefringence :

2.940 – 3.220

Simulants (with separation tests) :

Mainly Hemetine which is a mixture of steel with sulphate of chromium and nickel. This has a lower S.G. and is much more magnetic than hematite.

Sources :

England, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, U.S.A.

Specific Tests :

Deep red brown streak is seen when scratching the surface; moderate magnetism.

Spectrum :

Not characteristic

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