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Crystal of the Week

Hematite

A Brief History

 

     As you may already know, the word Hematite is derived from the Greek word for blood. This is due to some of the variations that have a red coloration to them. There are several variations on the name, from Middle French: Hematite Pierre, and that was taken from the Latin: Lapis Hematites, around the 15th Century. That name had originated from Ancient Greek: Haimatites Lithos (Blood-red Stone). 

     Ochre is a clay that has been used for a long time to give something a permanent tint which is colored using varying amounts of hematite. Unhydrated Hematite is used in the red ochre and hydrated for the yellow. The use of the red variety of Hematite and its subsequent use in this chalk is some of the earliest known writing by humans. It was first used 164,000 years ago by the Pinnacle Point Man possibly for social reasons. The Pinnacle Point Man is one of the earliest recorded humans that was found in Pinnacle Point which is a small promontory off the southern coast in South Africa. Residue of hematite was also found from graves made 80,000 years ago. Red chalk mines from 5000 BC have been found near Rydno, Poland and Lovas, Hungary that belong to the Linear Pottery culture at the Upper Rhine. Deposits rich in Hematite have been found on the island of Elba, the island to which Napolean was exiled. These deposits have been mined since the time of the Etruscans. 

     Hematite is what’s known as an antiferromagnetic material when below the temperature of -10 degrees Fahrenheit and weakly ferromagnetic above this temperature which is known as the Morin Transition. Below its Neel Temperature, at 948 K, it is paramagnetic.  Basically this means that the order in which the subatomic particles line up flip flops as the temperature reaches and/or breaks through a certain level. As the consumer, you’ve probably noticed that your hematite ring or hematite bracelet will stick to another of its kind, demonstrating its magnetism. 

     There has also been Hematite found in the waste produced in iron mines. Another magnet is used in order to glean waste hematite from old mine tailings (the leftover after the desired metal or material is taken out) in Minnesota’s vast Mesabi Range iron district. The pigment Falu Red is used in traditional Swedish house paints. It is so called because it was made from tailings of the Falu Mine

     Thanks to NASA, its Mars Global Surveyor, and the 2001 Mars Odyssey spacecraft and its infrared spectrometer, the spectral signature of Hematite was seen on Mars. In fact, the mineral was seen in large quantities at two different sites on the planet: the Terra Meridiani site near the Martian Equator at 0 degrees longitude, and the Aram Chaos site near the Valles Marineris. Given that “terrestrial” Hematite typically requires an aqueous environment, it made this discovery in the Martian environment especially interesting. If you’ve been following investigations on Mars you may be familiar with the discovery of past water environments and the presence of Hematite helped lead to this discovery as one of the contributing factors. Because of the presence of Hematite, they sent one of the Mars Rovers to the Terra Meridiani, where they found Hematite spherules nicknamed “blueberries” (pictured below) because of their shape. Analysis of these spherules indicated they were formed from a water solution. And that helped NASA scientists find out that Mars had liquid water in years past. 

     The popularity of Hematite rose in England first due to its use in jewelry worn by those in mourning. Somewhat surprisingly, Hematite has also been used in intaglio, which we have talked about previously as the carving of a design into the actual piece. I say somewhat surprisingly because I feel like Hematite is more delicate and fragile therefore making it difficult to work with. 

     Hematite is one of the most abundant mineral in the Earth’s crust and on the surface. It can be found in metamorphic, sedimentary, and igneous rocks all throughout the world. At one point in history, it was mined in thousands upon thousands of locations throughout the world but now has dwindled to maybe a few dozen places around the globe. Most Hematite now is from China, Australia, Brazil, India, Russia, Ukraine, South Africa, Canada, Venezuela, and the US. 

     Although the Hematite we all know and love as rock wranglers typically comes in the shiny, dark gray or silver variety, the appearance varies greatly from that. We pick out the best looking of it to spotlight but you can find Hematite that is earthy in appearance, metallic, sub metallic, and colors ranging from red to brown, and black and gray or silver. The formations that occur in nature are: micaceous, massive, crystalline, botryoidal, fibrous, oolitic, and others. Making Hematite one of the most highly variable compared to other stones. 

     Even though its appearance can vary, no matter the piece of Hematite, it will always produce a red streak during a streak test. It is always surprising to see a shiny silver mineral produce a prominent red streak. But knowing that fact is a sure way to identify Hematite. 

 

Metaphysical Uses

     Hematite is probably the number one stone recommended for grounding, something of a necessity for those who lucid dream, astral project, and even engage in regular meditation. Anyone who feels they may visit other dimensions or planes of existence need a good stone for grounding and for many, Hematite is their go-to. If you’re thinking that you don’t need anything like this, keep in mind that it isn’t necessarily for people with a so-called “metaphysical skill” where they can do something you feel you can’t because you most definitely can with practice. But you should also keep in mind that Hematite can be good for grounding to those of us that are simply dreamers. If you are one who has their “head in the clouds” then you could benefit from Hematite. And that’s something we all are guilty of. Maybe “guilty” is the wrong word because that implies perhaps a crime has been committed. Let’s just say we have all found ourselves spending the upcoming lottery jackpot in our heads before. I think I do it every time there is a significantly larger amount posted on a billboard on my way to work. By the time I’m getting ready to open, I’ve divided up the winnings to family members, started a non-profit, purchased a castle, opened a shelter for animals, and so on. Not a bad fantasy to have, an even better reality you might think! It’s nice to visit those places but you most definitely do not want to live there. 

     Along with grounding, Hematite can be used for focus and centering oneself. Similar to other darker stones like tourmaline and smoky quartz or obsidian, Hematite can be protective against negative energies. It is especially protective against negative energies you create yourself. Many times we harbor toxic feelings that can really diminish the bright shining light that is ourselves. Often times when customers come in needing a protection stone I wonder how much of it they are creating themselves. There are absolutely people out there that send out negativity our way and it is necessary to protect against them but more often than you think, you may be playing a bigger part in the negativity that surrounds you. If you put your hand in fire do you yell at the fire for burning you? So if you know a person that has come into your life is bad for you, at what point do you stop blaming them and look at yourself for keeping them there? Just food for thought…

     Hematite is also good for helping one walk calmly through a storm. It will help build confidence and strength during times where things seem out of whack. If you need to step up your game because everything around you has become hectic, then Hematite will be good for you. 

     Hematite can also be used for healing the body, specifically in cleansing the blood and improving circulation. If you’re looking to kickstart your nervous system and get a much needed energy boost, you can turn to Hematite. 

     Going back for a moment to the grounding properties of Hematite; one of the best uses of a grounding stone is during meditation. Laying the stone between your feet (perhaps in an act of symbolism) while you meditate will insure that you don’t travel too far away during said meditation. It is thought that no matter where and how far you go while meditating, the Hematite will help keep you in this world and dimension. You can also place the Hematite over your Root Chakra in order to ground yourself. If grounding yourself is your primary goal not just a preventative measure against going too far during meditation, you can repeat a grounding mantra like “I am grounded to this Earth and connected with everything in it”. All the while visualizing being interconnected with everything, picturing your light within touching the light within all the things surrounding you at first and ever expanding out. You can also feel all negativity around you being absorbed and transformed by the Hematite. As the negative energies are expelled, your inner light grows brighter and brighter. 

     Admittedly, the above meditation practice is not necessarily for beginners and you may find it difficult to perform. If you are a beginner just remember to keep it simple. Hematite looks the way it does to remind you that every gray cloud has silver lining. 

     If you would like to get a piece of Hematite after reading this, go ahead and present this at any of our shops and you will receive 15% off your purchase of Hematite. 

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