Gem Profile- Hematite
by Judy Ellis
Hematite is a primary source of iron, and iron does a big job: it's found in blood, cars, jewelry, makeup, ink, paint, and spoons. Only a portion of iron turns into jewelry - and although you can find it in many stones, including turquoise, peridot, and sapphire, the stone that contains the most iron is hematite.
Hematite is derived from the Greek word for blood, "haima," because it is found as a blood-red stone. Hematite is red for the same reason our blood is red: it's oxygen reacting with iron, in hemoglobin. The stone hematite is a silvery-gray-black color, highly reflective - and in some cases, it's weakly attracted to a magnet.


Monica Padin wrapped this hematite puffy heart and matching earrings in gold filled and sterling silver wire, then accented with Swarovski crystals.
Judy Ellis's Gem Profile- Hematite - , General Education, , Hematite Pendant
Hematite in History

Shaped hematite was used as weights in the ancient Mediterranean and Mesopotamian cultures, around 2000-1000 BC. Sometimes the hematite was just formed in a cylinder or sphere, but sometimes it was carved into animals, such as a frog or a duck (see a frog weight in the Metropolitan Museum's collection here - and here are some from the British Museum, from Ur- https://metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/30000143 ). Hematite was also carved into seals and beads.

Ishpeming, Michigan, was a town that had active iron ore mines in the 1950s and 1960s, and guess the what their mascot is for the Ishpeming schools? The Hematites!



Batya Morris wrapped this rutilated hematite in gold filled and sterling silver wire.
Judy Ellis's Gem Profile- Hematite - , General Education, , Rutilated Hematite
Hematite hasn't only been found on Earth: it's been discovered on Mars by the Opportunity rover. While this doesn't indicate there was life on Mars, it indicates that there was water, since analysis suggests the hematite formed from a water solution reacting with iron in the soil.
Hematite Uses Outside the Jewelry World

If you dabble in painting as well as jewelry, you're familiar with ochre. Red ochre contains unhydrated hematite, and hydrated hematite makes up yellow ochre.

In the machinery world, hematite is processed into iron, which is processed into steel, which is processed into cars, forks, knives and spoons, and machinery. Ground hematite is also used in cosmetics, inks, and polishing compounds.


Silver wrapped hematite pendant by Kathy Eastman
Judy Ellis's Gem Profile- Hematite - , General Education, , Silver wrapped Hematite stone
Real Hematite, Manmade Hematite, and Magnetite

Real hematite is extremely rare and highly expensive, and usually not suitable for bead drilling or cabbing in its natural form. Therefore, most beads and cabs on the market sold as hematite are simulated, or else formed from ground hematite dust. Manmade hematite is still made out of iron oxide in most cases. Components labeled "magnetic hematite" are typically manmade, and these are even more magnetic than natural hematite, which only has a weak magnetic draw. You may see names like "hemalyke," "hematine," and "hemalike" labeling the manmade hematite. Most beads are not magnetic, but some may be attracted to a magnet.

Hematite might be confused with magnetite, which is also an iron oxide, and in some cases, called lodestone. This form of iron oxide can be naturally magnetic, much more so than hematite. In some forms of manmade hematite, the hematite powder is mixed with magnetite for additional potency. So while manmade hematite is not very natural, it still has a base in nature.



Hematite cabochon wrapped in stainless steel wire by Zoraida Bros, with matching hematite bead earrings.
Judy Ellis's Gem Profile- Hematite - , General Education, , Hematite jewelry set
Hematite Healing Properties

While these are not "straight out of the earth" stones, they are still said to have pain-reducing effects, which is attributed to the magnetic field maintaining the charge of nerve cells. This is why many hematite jewelry pieces are said to help with arthritis, chronic pain, and aching joints.

In ancient times, hematite was believed to stop blood flow from a wound, and was used in amulets relating to female health.

Just a reminder, Wire-Sculpture does not make any claim as to medical or beneficial properties of any of its stones.
Resources & Recommended Reading

Magnetic Hematite on MinDat.org
Elemental Minerals of Mineral Make-up: www.essence-of-mineral-makeup.com
Metropolitan Museum Hematite: metmuseum.org
Hematite on MinDat.org
Hematite on Wikipedia

Materials

Wire
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13 Piece Hematite Collar Set
A2-1993U
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
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  • Price: $2.40
  • Gold Club Price: $1.80
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Hematite Beads
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Hematite 10mm Round Beads - 8 Inch Strand
A1-796
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  • Price: $7.37
  • Gold Club Price: $5.53
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Hematite 8mm Faceted Rondelle Beads - 8 Inch Strand
A1-798
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
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  • Price: $1,057.00
  • Gold Club Price: $792.75
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Cabochons
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Tools

WireJewelry - Ultimate Wire-Pliers Jewelry Pliers with Case, Set of 5
G15-20
  • G15-20
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  • Price: $170.72
  • Gold Club Price: $128.04
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Bench Tools
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  • Category: General Education
  • Technique(s): General Education