Saturday, January 13, 2007

Hematite or Hemalyke?

By on Saturday, January 13, 2007 1 Comments

Hematite is an opaque mineral with a metallic lustre. It is actually iron oxide which we know as rust. Indeed, if you slice or powder hematite, it appears blood red. In some countries, they call this bloodstone (not to be confused with the jasper variety of bloodstone). "Hema" is Greek for blood. Understandably, it was used as protection against bleeding in olden times. If you see a gemstone called "Alaskan black diamond", it's just a misnomer for hematite. Hematite is found in many parts of the world including Lake Superior and Quebec in Canada.

The hematite we use in jewelry should really be called hemalyke which is the trade name for reconstituted hematite. The hematite is ground up and mixed with a glue binder before being pressed into molds. So hemalyke is identical to hematite but the former is less brittle and thus more beader-friendly.

Hematite is soluble in acid so keep it away from household chemicals. Not that any one of us would put our jewelry in contact with such solutions!

References
Cally Hall (1994) Gemstones (Smithsonian Handbooks)
Judith Crowe (2006) The Jeweler's Directory of Gemstones: A Complete Guide to Appraising and Using Precious Stones From Cut and Color to Shape and Settings
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The Beading Gem's Journal
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1 comments:

You're AWESOME! Thanks for the comment and feedback. You do make a difference on my blog!

 

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