Hematite is a dark charcoal-gray gemstone with a metallic, mirror-like surface. Throughout centuries, many different cultures believed it possessed certain powerful properties and it was often used for healing and protection.
Nowadays, people are still intrigued by the beauty of this unique gemstone. Not only is it used as a healing stone, but it can also be found in various jewelry pieces, most commonly beaded necklaces, bracelets, and earrings.
In this article, we’ll find out more about the different physical properties of hematite, its symbolism and the fascinating jewelry it makes.
- What Is Hematite?
- Spiritual Meaning and Symbolism of Hematite Gemstone
- Hematite Gemstone Jewelry
- Caring for Hematite Jewelry
- Wrapping Up
What Is Hematite?
Hematite is an iron oxide formed in the Earth’s shallow crust and is one of the main iron ores. It’s a very abundant rock-forming mineral found in numerous locations around the world. Major hematite deposits have been found in countries such as China, Brazil, Australia, Russia, South Africa, Venezuela, Canada and the U.S., to name a few.
Besides it being the main iron ore, hematite has other uses as well such as for making radiation shielding, pigments, and now, jewelry.
Origin and Physical Properties of Hematite
Tumbled hematite healing stones by Beautiful Earth Gems. See them here.
The word ‘hematite’ originates from the ancient Greek term ‘haimatites lithos’, which means ‘blood-red stone’. When ground into powder, it has a strong, blood red color which is why it got its name. In fact, Native Americans used hematite powder as a pigment for body paint.
Ancient Egyptians believed in its magical healing powers, using it to treat insanity, hysteria and inflammation, while Ancient Romans associated the gemstone with their god of war, Mars. The Roman warriors used to carry hematite amulets into battle for protection.
The use of hematite as a polished gemstone incorporated into jewelry is a bit more recent. It’s said that it all started in England during the Victorian era when hematite was mainly worn as mourning jewelry due to its dark and subdued color.
With a solid score of 5 to 6.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness and its cleavage-free structure, hematite is a fairly tough stone. The gem-quality stones have a solid, uniform texture and due to their high density, they also have a weighty feel which is quite popular in the jewelry world.
Even though the gem is durable enough for various jewelry items, some types of jewelry such as hematite rings may require more protective settings and should be worn with special love and care.
Hematite used in jewelry has a unique silvery gray color, sometimes almost black, with a shiny and smooth finish. Some stones can be found with a rainbow or iridescent sheen, but it’s important to note that these are often simulated.
Hematite healing stone set by Kevs Collection. See it here.
The best way to identify a genuine hematite stone is by checking what color streak they leave on a piece of paper. Even though hematite is a silvery-colored mineral, it will always produce a reddish streak.
Straight from a mine, hematite is a rather unimpressive, craggy-looking stone with a reddish or brownish tint and an earthy luster. However, after cutting and polishing, a beautiful mirror-like gem with a metallic silver shine is revealed.
There are several hematite varieties with a unique color and luster:
- Rainbow Hematite – This has a natural aluminum phosphate coating that gives the stone a multi-colored and iridescent shine, standing out on opaque and black colored stone.
Polished rainbow hematite crystal by Reiju UK. See it here.
- Specularite – A black variety of hematite with a spectacular shimmering effect on its surface, caused by an aggregate pocket full of shiny flakes.
Specularite hematite stone by Roccia Roba. See it here.
- Kidney Ore – A dark gray gemstone with red and purple undertones and grape-cluster-like shape. It has a glassy and radiating surface.
Kidney ore stone by Allied Crystals. See it here.
- Iron Rose – A clustered hematite that resembles rose petals, with a stunning play of light when viewed from different angles.
Large iron rose stone by The Russian Stone. See it here.
If you come across the name ‘Magnetic Hematite’, it’s most likely a man-made mineral since real hematite isn’t naturally magnetic.
Hematite Clarity and Cut
Hematite most commonly occurs as an opaque, sometimes translucent gem. Since it’s opaque, it’s rarely faceted and is usually cut into smooth and polished cabochons.
Besides round and oval shapes, this silvery beauty can also be found in triangular or square shapes, beads and tumbled stones.
Generally, gray to black gem-quality hematite is quite affordable. Depending on its size, cut, and luster, the price will typically range between 0.8 to 3 dollars per carat. The most popular variation of hematite is gray-colored with a smooth and mirror-like luster. The saturation of the color can vary and the deeper gray and almost black hematite gems are quite popular.
The natural and genuine ‘Rainbow Hematite’ can also be found, but these are far more costly than the other varieties.
Spiritual Meaning and Symbolism of Hematite Gemstone
Known as ‘The Stone of the Mind’, hematite is believed to have a calming effect on the mind and spirit. Since it’s abundantly found in the Earth’s crust, a lot of its symbolism is linked to the Earth element. Hematite is therefore seen as a bringer of femininity, infinite creativity, and longevity.
It’s also thought that hematite brings strength to the wearer and can boost the confidence and self-esteem of people who are normally timid.
Hematite has long been associated with blood due to its red color (when ground up) and rich iron content. For this reason, many cultures around the world believed in its powers and have used it to improve circulation, alleviate various heart issues, stop bleeding and also for detoxification. It was also believed to have a positive impact on stress and anxiety.
Disclaimer: Wedding KnowHow does not guarantee or validate any of the claims related to the metaphysical and alternative healing powers of this or any other gemstone. This information should in no way be used as a substitute for medical advice.
Hematite Gemstone Jewelry
Black and deep gray gemstones are the most popular hematite varieties in jewelry. Since Hematite is large in size and exceptionally dense in structure, it makes heavy jewelry. Its unusual metallic luster and eye-catching mirror effect make it a popular contemporary jewelry choice, but it’s also often found in some bohemian pieces.
The darker color and silvery shine of hematite gives jewelry a certain masculine appeal which is why it’s also used for men’s jewelry, especially rings, stud earrings and cuff-links.
Hematite ring by Abijoux Paris. See it here.
This simple hematite ring is a stylish piece of jewelry with a very modern and sleek appeal. It could be a great gift for all kinds of special days such as Valentine’s day, birthdays or anniversaries.
It’s important to bear in mind that hematite rings are prone to scratching and should be worn with care and placed in protective settings. For example, this wire-wrapped hematite ring will be somewhat protected from dents and scratches, but you should still try to minimize its exposure to shocks and hard blows.
Beautiful hematite stud earrings by Crystal River Gems. See them here.
For a subtle sparkle, go for a pair of studs with beautiful hematite gems set in a sterling silver bezel. Modern yet elegant, these are perfect for both day and night and would look stunning when combined with other earrings along the edge of your ear.
Hematite Bracelets, Necklaces, and Pendants
Beaded hematite necklace by Tisati. See it here.
Beaded hematite bracelets are must-have pieces of jewelry that are unisex and always en vogue.
Obelisk-shaped gray hematite pendants by Bon Bon Stones. See them here.
If you’re a fan of boho-style healing crystal necklaces, you shouldn’t miss out on these obelisk-shaped hematite pendants with their unique mirror-effect.
Hematite statement necklace by Schneckenstein. See it here.
If statement pieces are more your thing, you might prefer something like this gorgeous hematite necklace instead.
Caring for Hematite Jewelry
With a hardness of 5 to 6.5 on Moh’s scale, hematite is a softer type of gemstone that can be easily damaged so you’ll need to pay extra attention it. If not, the jewelry piece can look tarnished and dull over time. Here’s how to care for your hematite jewelry:
Take off your hematite jewelry, especially rings, whenever you engage in physical activities such as gardening, swimming or washing dishes.
When storing, keep it away from other jewelry as hematite can be scratched by metals and other harder gemstones. So, place it in an individual box or pouch away from hard objects that can damage it.
You should also avoid harsh solvents and chemicals when cleaning your hematite jewelry. Warm water, gentle soap and a soft cloth is more than enough to clean your hematite piece and once you’re done, wipe it gently with a paper towel. Remember not to scrub the stone vigorously since it can damage its shiny appearance.
With its silver color and mirror-like sheen, hematite makes for fascinating jewelry that can be shaped into almost kind of jewelry. It’s also a collector’s delight because of its uniqueness and classy appearance.
For those of you who like healing stones, hematite would be the perfect choice. It’s a stunning and elegant gemstone that would make an excellent addition your jewelry collection.
Want to learn about other black gemstones? Check out our list here.