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What Are the Different Uses of Hematite?

By Alex Newth
Updated May 17, 2024
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Hematite, a mineral that consists largely of the iron oxide ferric oxide, commonly is used in the production of iron. It is a dense and heavy substance, and the uses of hematite in consumer items are plentiful. When carved, hematite is shiny and comes in many colors, making jewelry design one of the popular uses of hematite. If hematite is crushed, then it can be used to color paint. Similar to paint dye, hematite also can be used to color fabrics.

Another name for hematite is iron oxide, because the chemical makeup of hematite includes both iron and oxygen. When iron is extracted from hematite for industrial purposes, metallurgists remove oxygen from the hematite until only iron is left. While iron can always be mined by itself, this gives industrial worker more iron overall to work with, and it keeps miners from having to mine excessive amounts of cleaner iron. Most iron also is combined with another substance, as in hematite, so this is very natural and expected by metallurgists.

While hematite is not one of the more expensive substances, another of the uses of hematite is in jewelry. These pieces usually are not made to be expensive but are designed more for aesthetic appeal. Hematite tends to have a wide array of colors, including black, red and brown, allowing jewelry crafters to make many pieces with many different looks from hematite. Its iron portions also make hematite very shiny, it tends to have a desirable luster that many people like.

Paint needs dyes to take on certain colors and, while chemicals often are used to create dyes for modern paints, some paint colors use natural substances such as hematite. While hematite comes in many different colors, it usually makes light red paint colors when crushed. After the hematite is crushed, it is added to oil, acrylic or other common paint substances to finish the process.

Along with one of the uses of hematite being to give paint color, it also can be used with fabrics to dye shirts, pants and other clothing items. Much like paint, the color normally is red, but this can be changed if other substances are added to the dye bath. While the fabric is dyed with hematite, very little of the hematite itself actually sticks to the material, making this dye relatively safe.

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