Hematite is a shiny black mineral similar in appearance to polished black steel. Its name is derived from the Greek word “hema,” meaning blood, because it will leave a red streak when handled and will dye water red when powdered.
Rouge, a common facial powder, is actually powdered hematite. Hematite is a form of iron oxide and is somewhat subject to rusting over time.
Specular hematite is relatively brittle and less durable than the jeweler's type, but it displays a spectacular range of rainbow colors. Originally, hematite was used as “mourning jewelery.”
Hematite was also supposed to stop bleeding, and it was said to bring good fortune to those addressing kings, judges, and entering litigation. Additionally, hematite was once used to bring invulnerability to warriors.
Hematine is the best-known hematite imitator. It is a mixture of stainless steel and sulfides of chromium and nickel. Hematine will leave a red streak as does true hematite, but it is magnetic, whereas hematite is not.