Since it’s my first blog post, I thought it would only be appropriate to introduce myself. My name is Olivia but most call me Liv! I have only been working at the shop for a few months now, and I am shocked at how much I’ve learned. So in order to keep the learning rolling, I thought researching a mineral would be a great way to keep us all on track. I have been really drawn to hematite lately, so why not learn a bit more about it? So here we go:
-What exactly is Hematite?
Hematite is an iron oxide with the composition of Fe2O3. It is one of the most abundant minerals on the Earth’s surface and resides in the shallow crust. It is commonly found in sedimentary, metamorphic and igneous rocks at various locations around the world; some of which include Brazil, India, Australia, Africa, Russia, and even in the state of Alabama.
NASA has discovered grey hematite in abundance on Mars, which gives the surface a reddish brown color. On a moonlit night, Mars will appear red. The common nickname for Mars is the “Red Planet”. It is so interesting to discover what minerals lie within our neighboring planets!
Hematite can come in various forms, all of which may look very different. It has a luster that can range from earthy to sub metallic to metallic and its colors can vary from red-brown and black-gray-silver. Hematite comes in many forms that include micaceous, massive, crystalline, botryoidal, fibrous, oolitic, and many others. Now say that 10 times really fast!
-What is Hematite used for?
Well hematite is used to produce pigments, preparations for heavy media separation, radiation shielding, ballast, jewelry and much more. Hematite was actually one of the first pigment minerals used. Over 40,000 years ago, people would crush the hematite into a fine powered and use it to make paints. These paints were then used to make cave paintings, otherwise known as pictographs!
During the Renaissance when many artists began painting with oils onto a canvas, hematite was one of the most popular pigments. It could be mixed with white pigment to create a variety of pink colors, ideal for painting skin tones. Hematite is still commonly used as a paint pigment. As an artist, I find the history of paints fascinating. I had really never thought about where pigments came from and the history behind it. Simply fascinating!
Well thanks for learning with me! Can’t wait to get a wider understanding about rocks and minerals!