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I’ve recently encountered the term “hemalike”, apparently
referring to some sort of synthetic hematite. What is it and how
do you tell?

T.C.F.K.A. Tas

This probably refers to the “hematine” which is what is now
available as commercial cabs and beads. Hematite is apparently
ground up and recreated with resin(?) to produce that shiny black
material which is called hematite or Alaska Black Diamond (by the
way, hematite has never come from Alaska – that was a marketing

Not sure what Hemalike is made of. The genuine stuff you can
tell by either using a magnet (it is magnetic, fake is not), or by
cutting it, it bleeds a rust color where it was cut, fake does

God Bless, Donna

Hemalyke and hematine is synthetic hematite. Faceted hematite is
known as marcasite (rose cut) or Alaskan Black Diamond. I don’t
know how to tell the difference between synthetic and natural. I
buy from reputable dealers and rockhounds. K.P.

To quote “Gemstones of North America,” Volume III, by John
Sinkankas, Geoscience Press, 1997, page 183.

“According to Sabina (1964), the term ‘black diamond,’ or ‘Alaska
black diamond,’ refers to a siliceous massive hematite found as
pebbles in various stream beds in the Klondike and Mayo districts
as in Hunker, Bonanza, Secret, Clear creeks, and in Dublin Gulch.
The material takes a brilliant polish, and ‘rings, pendants,
earrings and brooches made from the pebbles are widely sold in
Canada, especially in the west and northwest.’”


The following is from a “Rings & Things” catalog article.

Nearly all commercially available “hematite” beads are a
simulated material that is very similar to real hematite. The
simulated material is much easier to produce in detailed shapes
and it looks and feels like the real material.

“Hematine” appears to be a trade name for one of the
commercially available products that is made in the Orient.
“Hemalike” is another name used for the simulated product.

Hematite is Iron Oxide. True hematite lease a red streak when
scratched across a piece of unglazed porcelain. The simulated
products usually leave a gray streak.

The Simulated products are also Iron Oxide. Simon & Schuster’s
Guide to Gem and Precious Stones says "Despite its modest value,
it has been imitated by a ferromagnetic, sintered product,
moulded to look like engraved stones.

Most simulated hematite beads are magnetic, that is, they are
attracted by a magnet.

If you look closely at the hole in a molded bead of simulated
hematite you will often see a smoothly curved hole rather than
the slightly chipped and sharply defined edge of a true drill
hole. The holes are usually molded into the simulated product.


The magnetism of synthetic hematite is more stronger than
natural hematite. And the streak of natural hematite is red, but
the streak of synthetic is colorless. You can try and tell us
the result. Ok! Best regards Randy

Hematite. Imitation hematite is usually called hematine or
hemalike. The imitation will be attracted by a magnet.

Hematite is asso knowed as “Alaska black diamond”.

Marcasite, is a misnomer.

True marcasite very, very seldom do appear in jewellery, it is a
polymorph of pyrite and does powder in air. For hundreds of
years the term “marcasite” has been used in the jewellery trade.

Hematite is an iron oxide :

- chimical composition : Fe2 O3
- crystal system : trigonal
- refrative index : 2.94 - 3.22
- specific gravity : 5.0
- it will show red streak when scratched on a porcelain plate,
- when powdered, hematite is the jeweller's rouge polishing.

Pyrite is an iron sulphide :

- chimical composition : Fe S2
- crystal system : cubic
- refractive index : very high, isotropic
- specific gravity : 4.95 - 5.10
- the material tends to decompose and to tarnish.

Best regards,


Marcasite is a separate mineral in its own right. It’s an iron
sulfide similar to pyrite, with a pale golden metallic luster.
Hematite is an iron oxide.
Re the “hemalike”: If it’s ground hematite in resin,

  1. Why isn’t it reddish, since finely-powdered hematite is dark
  2. Wouldn’t the specific gravity be lower than the real thing?

Raistrikia, sometimes known as Tas

Hello Tas,

“Hemalike”, “Hematine” or “Hemetine” is an imitation or simulant
hematite. Means, it looks just like Hematite but doesn’t have
the same chemical and physical properties as of the genuine

This simulant or imitation has been made of different materials,
it is a mixture of stainless steel containing chromium and nickel
or Galena a lead sulphide. This product has an SG around 7.0.

Some recent material contains mainly titanium oxides and iron ,
giving that red to brown streak, with an SG and hardness closer
to the Hematite. SG will vary from 4.0 to 7.0, and the hardness
of the material from 2 1/2 to 6.

Identification :

- "hemalike", "hematine", "hemetine" will be attracted by a magnet.
- Hematite will not.

Best regards,