Haematite (also spelt Hematite) is an iron-based gemstone and is the primary mineral in iron ore. It is opaque but when polished it has a shiny, metallic lustre and it varies in colour from shiny black, silvery grey, and brown to deep reddish brown. It is formed as a result of volcanic activity, or where ancient waters stagnated for long periods of time at high temperatures. It has also been found on Mars, leading scientists to conclude that there must have been water present there in the past. Haematite is used for many things, including iron ore, paint ore, pigments and of course jewellery.
Haematite can be found world-wide including: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Cumbria (northwest England), Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Venezuela and USA.
Traditional legends, gemstone folklore and healing properties of Haematite
Its name is derived from the Greek word “haem” meaning blood, which describes the colour of its powdered form, also known as Red Ochre. It has been used by man for centuries as a pigment for paint. Prehistoric man, the Ancient Egyptians and Aztecs used it for body art, decorating tombs and paintings. The Romans adorned themselves with it, especially their faces, as they thought it made them invincible. Native Americans also use it in artwork and they traditionally used it as war paint. Many ancient cultures believed Haematite was associated with the god of war. The Ancient Egyptians made amulets of it and thought that it could calm hysteria. The Victorians were also fond of it as a “mourning stone”.
Haematite is believed to be a “grounding stone”, and also calming and soothing. It is said to be good for increasing intuition, improving memory, reducing stress, bestowing wisdom, enhancing self-control and unselfishness, stimulating peace and happiness, balancing emotions. Many also believe that it helps to build up low self-esteem.
Healers associate Haematite with the spleen, blood and cleansing. They believe that it stimulates iron absorption and improves the oxygen supply to the body. It is also believed to help tissue regeneration, be beneficial for those with anaemia, and is also thought to help alleviate jet-lag.
Haematite not a traditional birth stone but is said to be beneficial if worn by those born under the zodiac signs of Capricorn, Aquarius and Aries.