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B Finnigan

Microscopic pics of hematite

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I was curious about the difference in iron ore vs quartz/silica content from different sources of hematite. If you are just getting into smelting it is important to know the amount of iron ore in the hematite (black sands) you will be using. The commercial hematite has alot more iron ore (black grains) then the hematite from off of my property. Both photos are at 60x magnification with a digital microscope.


When I first got into home smelting I was using the black sands I extracted with a magnet off of my property. The first smelt just yielded a whole lot of black glass and hardly any iron. It was not until I bought some commercial hematite that I was able to get a nice button of iron. If I continued to keep trying with the local black sands I would not have had any success.


I am not geologist so I can not identify all of the materials in the photos however the iron ore is easy to spot as dark black grains. The quartz/silica is very reflective and is easy to find. Both samples to the naked eye appear to be just black sands. The microscope tells a completely different story.


I found them interesting to compare and I hope this helps anyone that is getting into smelting to see what you have to seperate out with heat in order to get iron.


Hematite purchased from a pottery supply shop (60x). Lots of black iron oxide grains.



Hematite from my property(60x). Much less iron oxide grains and alot of non-iron minerals to deal with.



Red garnet, the "r" and "n" looks like "m".


Edited by B Finnigan

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