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12x10mm Cushion Shape Haematite
12x10mm Cushion Shape Haematite

Haematite is a compact form of iron oxide. It varies considerably in compactness and form. Its hardest and most compact form is what gets used in jewellery as a gemstone. This is black, and is normally found in massive form as nodules, usually kidney shaped (reniform), sometimes known as kidney ore.
When crushed or powdered it becomes red, and its less compact forms ar also red, streak tests are also red.
The compact black forms have specific gravities and hardness at the higher end of the range. The softer forms are used as red pigments, and as jeweller's rouge.

Because of its red streak, it is sometimes known in German as blutstein (bloodstone), but this term is better avoided because of confusion with bloodstone, a variety of chalcedony.

Gem quality haematite is black, although some describe it as blue-black.

One of the main sources is Cleator Moor in Cumbria, England, but it is also found in Elba, the Swiss alps, Germany, Scandinavia, and the USA.
It is carved or polished in Idar Oberstein, but much is now processed in places with lower labour costs.

Haematite is sometimes used as beads to imitate black pearls. There are also imitations of haematite, at least one of which produces a red streak.

Haematite in Jewellery
Haematite is often carved as a cameo or sealstone, and is very commonly seen in gent's rings with a crude intaglio carving of a helmeted warrior's head. It is also used as a facetted stone when it resembles black diamond. Because it is opaque, only the top of the stone is facetted, the bottom of the stone is usually left flat.

Technical Information
Chemical Composition and NameFe2O3 - Iron Oxide
Hardness5.5 - 6.5
Refractive Index2.94 - 3.22
Specific Gravity4.9 to 5.3
Optic SignNegative
Optical CharacterUniaxial
Crystalline SystemHexagonal or Trigonal the Lowest Possible Price

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