Yes, hematite can scratch glass, but not always.
Some types of hematite may scratch glass, but it depends on the chemical composition.
As one of Earth’s most abundant minerals, hematite is widely available to rock hounds.
Learn how to distinguish different types of hematite and identify varieties that can scratch glass.
Can Hematite Scratch Glass? (Let’s Learn More)
What is Hematite?
Hematite is an iron ore whose chemical composition is Fe2O3.
As an iron ore, it is found throughout the earth, though there are large deposits in several countries that are used to extract ore.
Depending on its concentration of iron, hematite can range in appearance from dark red to almost black in appearance.
What Does Hematite Look Like?
When I’m hunting for rocks, I like to stay on the lookout for hematite.
Two types commonly found by rock hunters are metallic and earthly.
At first glance, it’s hard for me to distinguish metallic hematite from other metallic minerals.
It could be a rock with a blend of hematite and mica flakes.
I use different tests to determine whether a metallic looking rock is hematite.
How is Hematite Formed?
Hematite is formed in a variety of ways.
It’s found in all rock types, forming when hot magma reacts with cooled rocks on contact.
It crystallizes as magma cools and runs through rock masses.
Since hematite is so prevalent, it is also found in sedimentary rocks.
As water erodes different rock masses, the hematite washes through the water and is deposited into other rocks on the path.
Some hematite structures are formed when the material precipitates into surrounding rocks, when these deposits cool, they look like round bubbles.
They also resemble kidneys, which has given this hematite variety the nickname of kidney iron ore.
Which Tests Should I Do to See If I Have Found Hematite?
One of the most effective tests to identify a hematite crystal is a scratch test.
If I don’t have a streak plate with me in the field, I will keep it until I have one.
When scratched against a white plate, hematite leaves a red to reddish brown streak.
How Does Hematite Get its Color?
Hematite is one of the primary components in rocks known for being red in color.
Prevalent rocks in the deserts of the Western United States have a high hematite content.
Hematite is made of 70% iron ore which contributes to the dark red for which it is known.
Contrary to popular belief, hematite is not black, as its scratch pattern will always be red.
Some types of hematite have crystalline forms that reflect more light and look black in color.
Others are not crystalline, and they don’t have cleavage planes.
These hematite minerals look more red in color.
Crystalline hematite is the metallic kind that will catch your eye as it glistens in the sun.
Red hematite is usually massive, and it’s not common in gem and mineral collections.
How Hard is Hematite?
Hematite is a 5 to 6.5 on Mohs Hardness Scale, which makes it a mid range mineral.
It is not as soft as calcite and gypsum, but it is softer than quartz and topaz.
Since hematite falls in the middle of this scale, softer varieties can be scratched by a pocket knife, and harder varieties can scratch glass.
Although it is a relatively hard mineral, I have found that hematite is often flaky, particularly the metallic mineral.
How Do I Use Hematite?
Metallic hematite is extremely shiny when I polish it.
It is very pretty when polished, so it’s a popular gemstone in jewelry making.
Hematite can be shaped and polished to resemble black pearls, but I also use keep it in crystal form, faceting the crystals to make necklaces, rings, and other jewelry.
But there are many other uses for hematite.
It is the most predominant iron ore, and it’s often used to make pigment.
Since its color is so deep and red, it is often used in glass blowing, ceramics, and other artistic media. It is also used to make glazes and oil paints.
Hematite is also used to make components in cars, appliances, vitamins, cookware, and even nails.
It is often used to weigh down lighter materials like plastic and other synthetics.
Where do I Find Hematite?
Grey hematite is prevalent around still, standing water and around mineral springs.
It’s also common in old mine locations.
Hematite was commonly used to make jewelry and other items, and was heavily mined at one point.
It can be found in these old mining sites.
There is a large hematite mine in Michigan that contains large specimens.
If you live near a stream or a creek bed, look on the banks to find hematite and other minerals.
This location is home to a variety of rocks that wash down the river, transported from other locations.
If your area has a mineral hot springs, look around it for hematite and other minerals.
Is Hematite Valuable?
Hematite is prevalent, so it’s not very expensive.
It is very affordable for anyone who want to buy it.
This precious stone is softer, so it’s malleable and easy to form into different shapes.
It’s a popular stone for jewelry, and it’s available in many different shapes and colors.
Some of it is flaky and can be used to make a glittery substance that can be used to accentuate other gem stones.
Looking for Hematite?
This stone is a good one for novice rock hounders, because it’s abundant and easy to identify.
The best way to identify it is through a scratch plate test, so have one handy when you go.
Use the tips above to search for and identify hematite to add to your collection.