Hematite and Lodestone - Gemstone Cousins
inJuly 13, 2011 - 5:18pm
Black jewelry is very popular. In antique jewelry, jet is the most well known black jewelry, but in modern times, there are other stones which take center stage. The one most people have heard about is called hematite.
When i sell a piece of hematite jewelry, I will sometimes get an email when it is delivered saying "My hematite isn't magnetic!" The reason for this is simple. Most people are simply misinformed about the properties of hematite. They associate the magnetic effect of the healing mineral to hematite, when it is actually hematite's cousin - lodestone - which has this effect in its natural state.
Both of these black or very dark gray minerals look quite similar. They are shiny, similar in color and both made of iron oxide - magnetite. Both have healing properties, although the magnetic effect is associated with lodestone. I will discuss each mineral separately which should give you a good overview of the differences and similarities.
Hematite is silvery black in color and is made of iron oxide. It is also found in opaque red or red brown colors. It is normally found in a smooth stone, but when faceted is popularly known as "black diamond." It will streak red when rubbed on a harder stone. Unlike lodestone, it is not magnetic. True hematite is found throughout the world, but almost all hematite on the market today is actually what is called synthetic Hematite or hemalyke. This synthetic material is created with magnetism - thus the confusion between the two types of minerals. Hematite is mined as the main ore of iron.
As with most minerals, hematite has metaphysical properties associated with it. Hematite is said to relieve hemorrhages, aid in lowering high blood pressure, helps with depression, and is a general pain reliever. There are some that claim that it draws out inflammation and is especially good for rubbing on sore muscles.
Lodestone is also made from iron oxide and it does have magnetic qualities in its natural state. It is black in color, usually without the silvery tint. It is commonly found throughout the world. Lodestone is also thought to have mystical properties. Its is believed to draw wealth and love to the wearer. On the healing realm, it is thought to draw out disease and pain, help eyesight and lessen the pain of childbirth.
The height of hematite's popularity in jewelry was in Europe during the Victorian era. It has also seen a strong resurgence in North America, especially in the western United States. Due to it delicate nature, the mineral is found only in precious jewelry. Extreme care should be taken in handling hematite items due to its fragile nature. Lodestone was more commonly used in compasses and other items where the magnetic property was important. Both minerals are now regularly used in contemporary costume jewelry and quite popular.