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Magnetic Haematite?

Hi Folks,

At a show this weekend a friend who is a jewelry maker in a nearby
Canadian province showed me some earrings which the supplier described
either as “magnetized haematite,” or “magnetic haematite,” I’m not
sure which.

They were little balls, magnetic enough that they stuck together, had
the usual haematite lustre, except that under the 10x loupe the
surfaces could be seen to be pitted, the pits not being close enough
together to diminish the polish, but yet being fairly uniformly
distributed over the (blueberry size) “haematite” balls.

Now, haematite is not naturally magnetic (or at least only marginally
so, certainly not enough for two pieces to stick together). And I’m
not aware that it can be magnetized to such a degree. I seem to
remember however that haematite, heated sufficiently, transforms into
magnetite, which can be strongly magnetized.

The possibilities that come to mind are

  • It is haematite which has been heat-transformed into magnetite, and
    then magnetized,

  • It is magnetite, magnetized whether by man or otherwise, which is
    being sold as haematite,

  • It is haematite which has been powdered and reconstituted with a
    magnetic additive mixed in,

  • It is actually what it is claimed to be, “magnetized haematite.”

They’re certainly not costly pieces but the designation’s got me
curious. Is anyone on the list familiar enough with this stuff to
speak authoritatively as to what it might actually be?

Cheers & thanks Hans Durstling Moncton, Canada

Hans, There is an iron oxide mineral called maghemite [Fe2O3]. It is
dark brown and magnetic. Not sure if this what you have though. Will

I suspect it is hematine (hemalike or whatever) which is podered and
reconstituted which I believe can be magnetised. Have seen them here
used in ‘power bracelets’ ugh! Most of the haematite I cut shows some
form of surface pattern when polished - the fakes I have seen never do

  • always a uniform grey. Andy Parker, Agate House Lapidary

Ulverston, Cumbria, England
Tel: 01229 584023

A friend of mine bought a standard hematite bead bracelet and after
wearing it for some time it is now so magnetic that the two sides
stick together when she removes it. Perhaps the stone had a
propensity to do this.