Hematite is heavy and a relatively hard oxide mineral because of its high iron content (about 70 percent). The most important sources of hematite come from sedimentary deposits in the Lake Superior and Birmingham district in North America. Other important locations include Minas Gerais (Brazil), Cerro Bolivar (Venezuela), Labrador, and Quebec.
Hematite derives its name from the Greek word haimatites, meaning "bloodlike," an allusion to the vivid red color of the powdered stone. The red powdered hematite, ochre (also spelled ocher), is used as a pigment with many different applications, presently and throughout history. Red ochre was used by prehistoric artists in their cave paintings. It was used by the ancient Egyptians in religious ceremonies, and as an inscription stone for passages in the Book of the Dead. Native Americans also used ochre as red face paint. Currently, powdered hematite is used in lapidary as a rouge polish and as a pigment in paints and crayons.
Hematite also has a history of metaphysical uses. Tribes in America used ochre as red war paint. The Roman soldiers associated this "blood stone" with Mars, the god of war. Warriors believed that carrying hematite would give strength and protection to the wearer in battle. The mirror effect of polished hematite protects one from negativity by reflecting back any unwanted energy. Crystal healers credit hematite with the ability to bring about a calm mental state, improve memory and concentration, boost self-confidence, and increase the effectiveness of logical processes of the brain.
Physically, hematite is believed to increase circulation, especially to the area where worn, and to give all-around positive effects to the circulatory system.
The astrological signs of hematite are Aries and Aquarius.
Hematite: Fe203, Iron (III) Oxide
Mohs scale hardness: 5.5-6.5
Luster: Metallic or dull in earthy and oolitic forms
Class: Oxides and Hydroxides
Color: Steel or silver gray to black in some forms and red to brown in earthy forms
Fracture: Uneven to conchoidal
Crystal system: Trigonal - Hexagonal; bar 3 2/m
Crystal habit: Include tabular crystals of varying thickness, sometimes twinned, micaceous (specular), botryoidal and massive, also earthy or oolitic.
Specific gravity: 4.9 - 5.3
Index of refraction: 1.54-1.55
Cleavage: Absent; however, there is a parting on two planes.
Streak: Blood red to brownish red for earthy forms