Hematite: Stone of Charisma

Hematite has been dubbed as the lawyer’s stone. Since the time of Ancient Babylonia, a hematite stone was worn in legal proceedings in the belief that the gemstone brings in favorable ruling. What is hematite? And how was the hematite gemstone believed to enhance one’s personal charm?

Hematite Pebbles
Natural hematite pebbles
Source: Mauro Cateb via Wikimedia Commons

Hematite Properties

Also spelled as haematite, hematite is an iron ore, and is in fact the world’s main source of iron. While the stone bears resemblance to metal, hematite is a mineral, harder than pure iron, though much more brittle as well. All raw hematite rocks feature a rust-red streak, which is the oxidation of their iron content, as iron is bound to rust. Though occurring mostly in shapeless masses, the hematite stone occurs in different ways, from botryoidal or ball-like clusters called kidney ore, to rings of petal-like plates called iron roses, otherwise known as specular hematite.

A raw hematite rock
Source: Rob Lavinsky, iRocks.com – CC-BY-SA-3.0

Hematite History

Hematite got its name from the Greek haimatitēs, meaning “blood-like.” This was on account that the hematite stone is red, especially in its powdered form. It’s not only the oxidized streak on a hematite rock that is red; when hematite is cut with a saw blade, the stone colors the water red, as though the gemstone bleeds. Consequently, the hematite gemstone has been used as pigment in painting, for instance with the colors yellow ochre and red ochre. The use of hematite as medium for coloring goes back 164,000 years ago, when it was used as red chalk by the Pinnacle-Point man in South Africa.

Hematite Meaning

Hematite is also called the lawyer’s stone, and the reason goes as far back as the Babylonian Empire, when the author Azchalias endorsed wearing a hematite stone to win favorable judgment in court proceedings, as well as in petitions with the king. This is probably on account that, while a grounding stone like other black stones, the hematite crystal is believed to promote optimism and vitality, thereby enhancing one’s personal magnetism, and transforming negativity into positive results. It is for these metaphysical powers that the hematite gemstone was recognized in Hindu astrology as birthstone for Scorpio, the darkest and most emotional sign of the zodiac.

The rust-red streak on a hematite rock up close

Hematite Color

While hematite occurs most commonly as grey stone, the gemstone ranges in tone from light gray to almost jet black. The red streak on a hematite rock makes another choice of color for the gemstone, while brownish green hematite can also be found. Whether red or gray, the color of a hematite stone is always metallic, and often bears an iridescent sheen.

Hematite stone cut into the image of a bear

Hematite Jewelry

The hematite gemstone was most popular during the Victorian era. With its metallic, industrial look akin to stainless steel, the hematite stone has lately seen a strong resurgence in North America, especially in the Western United States. Being abundant enough to be cut into beads, hematite makes an excellent gemstone for necklaces and bracelets designed for casual wear. A magnetic variety of hematite is sold in the market; however, this mineral is not true hematite, but a synthetic material called hematine.

Hematite Value

During the early Iron Age, hematite was considered to be as valuable as gold. What with its abundance in nature, however, the hematite gem is now less expensive. Of course, higher quality hematite stones can fetch higher prices. Note that hematite is a dense mineral: a hematite stone would appear smaller than another gemstone of the same carat weight.

Do you like hematite?

Hematite is an iron gemstone believed to usher in favorable outcome in legal proceedings. The hematite stone is thought to enhance a person’s charisma by grounding the soul and stimulating vitality at the same time. Do you like hematite? Do you like to wear black gemstones in general? See also 20 Types of Black Stones for Jewelry.

Published May 7, 2014

About the Author

Deomar Pandan is the author of Power Birthstone. He's on the third draft of a high-fantasy novel, Cybelym, and the first of a historical fiction, Gem Faerie. He hopes to release a nonfiction book about diamond soon. Follow him for updates. Or see his jewelry and designs.