Iron Touch contains stones heavy with iron, lacking silica and intermediate on the hardness scale (5-6).
Membership is fairly exclusive: just pyrite and hematite. Pyrite is a sulfide (sulfur molecule as chemical
basis) with iron, and hematite is an oxide (O3 molecule) also paired with iron. Both are dense, heavy stones
with good sheen. Pyrite commonly forms in cubes near hydrothermal veins, separation from magma and
in contact metamorphic rocks. Hematite has high iron content (70%) which makes it an important iron ore.
The most useful deposits are within sedimentary beds or metamorphosed sediments. The Lake Superior
district in North America is the world's largest producer.
•• h e m a t i t e
Hematite comes from the Greek haimatitis, meaning "blood red", alluding to the
red ocher pigment obtained from ground hematite. Ground hematite has also been used as a
rouge to polish plate glass and jewelry. Many jewelry components are actually hemalyke, a
man-made material from reconstituted hematite and a binding agent like glue. Because they
are glued and molded, hemalyke beads tend to be more uniform and less brittle than natural
hematite though without the same look.
•• p y r i t e
The weight and brassy gold appearance of pyrite has earned it the name "fool's gold" to the
novice prospector. Seen side by side in a finished state, the minerals bear little similarity to
each other. Where gold has a warm, golden sheen, pyrite is darker with vintage appeal. Its name
comes from the Greek pyr ("fire") as it sparks when struck with iron. Marcasite is the
same chemical composition but organized in an orthorhombic crystalline structure rather than a
cubic structure. It tends to be lighter and more brittle than pyrite.
•• s t a i n l e s s s t e e l
Steel is an alloy of iron and other elements like carbon, and stainless steel is a steel alloy with chromium
to inhibit corrosion. Although stainless steel is typically used for industrial applications, the rising
cost of precious metals is making it an attractive choice to jewelry makers for its silver-like appearance,
strength and low cost. There is greater selection of creative and striking stainless steel components on the
market, particularly pendants.