Hematite gets its name from the Greek word ‘haima’ (meaning blood). While Hematite naturally exists in many colors like red, brown, gray, black, or silver, it gets its Greek name from the color of its powder, which is a deep brownish-red. Read to know how to tell if Hematite is Real or Fake.
This gemstone, due to its industrial and spiritual significance is often faked with concentrates, powders, and scraps of other iron-based minerals.
How to tell if Hematite is Real or Fake?
Conduct a Streak Test
The foremost quality that distinguishes Real Hematite from fakes is the color of its streak. Regardless of the outer colored appearance of a hematite stone, it will powder into a reddish-brown mineral only. You can check this either by scratching your stone on a plain white porcelain tile or simply by crushing it with a hammer. When you grind hematite rock of any color into a fine powder, it will always acquire a red color, thus giving hematite its name. If your stone crushes to produce any colored powder other than reddish-brown, you can be assured that it is a fake.
A massive material consisting of a mixture of hematite, martite, and gangue minerals occurs near Ouro Preto, Brazil, and is sometimes sold as Hematite even though the mineral is minoritized in it. This material is granular, powders very easily, and has a dark brown, rather than a red streak.
Check for Magnetism
Real Hematite is very weakly attracted to magnetic fields. This magnetic attraction is not strong enough for a magnet to even lift the mineral off of a table. Being very weakly responsive to magnetic fields, hematite cannot be used as a magnet.
- However, you might find strong magnets being sold in shops under the name ‘hematite’. These are almost always not hematite, but a blend of hematite mixed with a concentrated amount of different minerals (s) which are magnetic. The little amount of hematite present in these mixtures or alloys only imparts some shine (luster) to the magnet.
- Other names under which people might sell these man-made magnets are ‘hemalyke’ or ‘hemaline’. People choose to wrongly call their products hematite because it is a popular name and a sought-after mineral.
- Hematite is imitated by a variety of materials. One of these, known as hematine, is a mixture of stainless steel with sulfides of Chromium and Nickel. It has a red streak and is, therefore, undifferentiable from Hematite with a simple streak test. What distinguishes it from Hematite is that this mineral is quite magnetic. Oftentimes, one test may not be enough to establish the authenticity of your stone. It is best to use two or more identificatory tests to triangulate the originality of your specimen.
Check for Mineral Density
Oftentimes, lower-quality scraps and iron filings are melted together and sold as hematite. One way to identify such poor-quality rocks, which may otherwise compositionally still be close to Hematite, is to check their density. Hematite is a very dense mineral. This means that it is considerably heavier as compared to other minerals of the same size.
It has a density of 7.9 g/cm³ at room temperature. This means that it will weigh almost 8 times heavier than an equal amount of water at room temperature. You can start checking for density by holding out the stone in your palm. If it feels too light for its weight, ask your jeweler or gem dealer to run a density check and give your proof of mineral density.
Hematite naturally exhibits a lot of different lustrous properties. This means that raw hematite can have a shine (luster) to it.
- Red and brown colored hematite materials have an earthy luster.
- Black-colored hematite has a sub-metallic shine to them.
- There are also silver hematites that have a metallic shine to them.
Note that real hematite has a faded shine to it. Shops might sell very shiny and overly polished rings and decorative pieces as hematite, but they are not real hematite. Real hematite is a weighty stone that has a silvery metallic color and is full of cracks, fractures, veins, and colorful patches.
Inquire for the Place of Origin
Asking your gemstone dealer about the place of origin of your rock can be a great way not only to extend rapport with your seller but also an effective way to establish a relationship of intimacy with the stone that you are hoping to buy. If you are a hobbyist or a rock collector, this can be a way to acquire facts of origin about your rock and establish its originality.
Much hematite is cut and polished in Idar-Oberstein, Germany, but the bulk of this material comes from England. A major ore of iron, Hematite is usually in sedimentary deposits in thick beds and is also sometimes found in igneous, and metamorphic rocks as well as lavas (deposited from vapor).
Some regions where most of the current supply of Hematite is known to be coming from are:
- Lake Superior region, Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin, New York, Alaska, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Missouri, South Dakota, Wyoming, Arizona.
- Brazil is known for several fine Hematite crystals, especially from a locality near Ouro Preto.
- England is known for its vast reserves of kidney ore from the Cumberland area.
Observe the kind and Size of Stones
- Hematite is always opaque and is typically cut into several shapes such as beads, cameos, intaglios, and carvings of any given size. Massive material is available in very large pieces, solid, and good for cutting. Opaque submetallic gems are also sometimes faceted like marcasite, with a flat base and a few facets.
- Hematite crystals that may be transparent are far too thin to cut, so faceted gemstones are unknown. If you are being sold pieces of Hematite gemstone or other red glassy-looking jewelry stone, be very wary for it is, definitely a fake.
- Another extremely common type of hematite is known as the spectacular iron ore and is identified by its shiny metallic exterior. These are commonly sold as steel-gray crystals.
In this article, we have discussed the various minerals which may be confused with or passed off as Hematite. The easiest way to identify these is to observe the names. Oftentimes, it is hard to get fake materials past trade checks under the name of the original stone, so fakes are named things that resemble Hematite very closely in sound and text. Some of these are Hematine, Hemalike, Hemaline, etc.
If you are buying online, do not disregard stones listed as any of these names as mere typos. These are all established varieties of Hematite imitations.
Another fool-proof but destructive way to distinguish Hematite from most fake is the color of the power it produces. The color of the Hematite streak is characteristic and diagnostic of its authenticity and you must conduct this test before buying a Hematite, if possible. Hematite’s characteristic weak magnetic powers are another great way to tell it apart from more magnetic fakes.
Hematite is a heavy and relatively hard mineral (scientific name: ferric oxide). It is a very important iron ore because it has a very high iron content (almost 70 percent) and is found in abundance in rocks all over the world. Hematite naturally exists in many colors, of which the most commonly occurring ones are red, brown, gray, black, or silver.
For several centuries, Hematite was used as a face paint (also-called red ochre) by several indigenous societies. The planet Mars gets its distinctive red color from the excessive presence of Hematite on its surface.
While buying a stone, you must run a quality check by checking for its stone density. Buying your mineral should be an engaging exercise. An essential part of this sensorially immersive exercise is the tactility of your stone. Any Hematite worth its salt should be dense enough to feel heavy in your palm. Additionally, you need to make sure to not fall for over-polished shiny stones for these are mostly indicative of fake hematites.
Buying a Hematite online can be a tricky exercise for it eliminates the possibility of an engaging buying experience that helps you ascertain authenticity.