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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!

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
The Beading Gem's Journal
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  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Thanks for clearing up my confusion. I see both names listed by my various bead suppliers and I've wondered what the difference is since the natural color by both names appears identical. Now I feel OK about combining them in projects.


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