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

Hematite Properties

Chemical Composition: 
Iron Oxide - Fe2O3
Colors / Varieties: 
Compact steel gray, black
Crystal System / Forms: 
Trigonal System / Compact reniform nodules, fibrous and radiating form, rhombohedral crystals.
Hardness: 
6.5
Specific Gravity: 
4.95 - 5.20
Cleavage / Fracture: 
Nil / Splintery fracture
Optic Character: 
Anisotropic D.R.; Opaque
Lustre: 
Metallic
Refractive Index / Birefringence: 
2.940 - 3.220
Pleochroism: 
None
U.V. Fluorescence: 
Inert
Spectrum: 
Not characteristic
Specific Tests: 
Deep red brown streak is seen when scratching the surface; moderate magnetism.
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.
Geological Occurrence: 
Iron ore in sedimentary, igneous and metamorphic rocks.
Sources: 
England, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, U.S.A.
Cuts & Uses: 
Cabochons, cameos, beads, facetted cuts, etc.