Lodestone - Physical Properties & Healing Properties


Chemistry: Fe3O4

Class: Oxides and hydroxides

Group: Spinel

Uses: Major ore of iron and as mineral specimens.

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  • Lodestone
  • Polished Lodestone

Lodestone is a piece of magnetite or other naturally magnetized mineral, able to be used as a magnet. They are naturally occurring magnets, that attract pieces of iron.

The process by which lodestone is created has long been an open question in geology. Only a small amount of the magnetite on Earth is found magnetized as lodestone. Recent research has found that only a variety of magnetite with a particular crystalline structure, a mixture of magnetite and maghemite, has sufficient coercivity to remain magnetized and thus be a permanent magnet. One theory suggests that lodestones are magnetized by the strong magnetic fields surrounding lightning bolts. This is supported by the observation that they are mostly found at the surface of the Earth; not buried at great depth.

Magnetite is a member of the spinel group which has the standard formula A(B)2O4. The A and B represent usually different metal ions that occupy specific sites in the crystal structure. In the case of magnetite, Fe3O4, the A metal is Fe +2 and the B metal is Fe +3; two different metal ions in two specific sites. This arrangement causes a transfer of electrons between the different irons in a structured path or vector. This electric vector generates the magnetic field.

Origin Of The Name

The name lodestone comes from Middle English and means 'course stone' or 'leading stone'.

Lodestone was named "Magnes" after the boy who discovered it and later became known as "magnet".

Interesting Facts

Lodestone is one of only two minerals that is found naturally magnetized; the other, pyrrhotite, is only weakly magnetic.

The qualites of the loadstone were used a an early form of compass, since they could be used to point the way north.

One of the first references to lodestone's magnetic properties is by 6th century BCE Greek philosopher Thales of Miletus who is credited by the ancient Greeks with discovering lodestone's attraction to iron and other lodestones.

2500-3000 B.C. The discovery of magnets was first documented around during this time period. There are several reports about how this happened ~ one is that they were discovered in Asia Minor in a land called "Magnesia", where the earth was full of iron oxide which naturally attracted metals to it. The local citizens named that special substance "Magnetite". 2500 B.C. Another report is that there was a young Greek shepherd named Magnes who was climbing Mount Ida. He was wearing sandals with iron nails in them, as was common in his day, and he noticed that it was extremely difficult to lift his feet off the rocky mountainside.

Mount Ida was found to contain a high percentage of "Lodestone", which is the first known magnetic material. 50 B.C. Cleopatra, the first "celebrity" to use therapeutic magnets, slept on and also wore a Lodestone to keep her skin youthful.

Where Is It Found

Lodestone and other magnetic iron ores often occur in igneous and metamorphic rocks found around the world. Countries of origin are the USA, Canada, India Mexico, Romania, Italy, Finland and Austria.

What Do We Do With It

In China, lodestone appeared in divining boards used by fortune tellers to predict the future. The lodestone also served as the basis of primitive Chinese compasses that could roughly indicate the cardinal directions. At first these compasses chiefly served as a tool to help the Chinese harmonize their lives in the ways outlined by their ancient philosophical teachings. But improved compasses eventually helped guide many great explorers to new, exciting places around the globe.

Today lodestone is more commonly found in classrooms, where teachers use it to help demonstrate the basic principles of magnetism.

Lodestone (magnetite) is used as an abrasive known as "emery", used as a toner in electrophotography, in fertilizers, as a pigment in paints and as an aggregate in concrete.

Lodestone is used for its power of attraction. It's been used for millennia for amulets and talismans.

Metaphysical Uses

Lodestone (Magnetite) is used in many ways. It can align the chakras, and balance yin/yang energies. It is used to lessen or dispel grief, fear, anger, confusion, and attachment. It helps relieve burdens and increase energy and endurance. It is said to have been used to make soldiers invulnerable. Lodestone has a receptive, attracting energy that attracts power, as well as good fortune, and love. It also guards against infidelity. Lodestone is excellent for grounding and protection from evil and spells. Loadstones were historically associated with magical or alchemical events, and many people who practiced magic used lodestones in their work.

Physical Characteristics

Color: Black

Luster: Metallic to submetallic.

Transparency: None

Crystal System: Isometric

Crystal Habits: Octohedral

Cleavage: None

Fracture: Conchoidal

Hardness: 5.5 - 6.5

Specific Gravity: 5.2

Streak: Black

Associated Minerals: Talc, chlorite, pyrite and hematite.

Best Field Indicators: Strongly magnetic, color, streak, octahedral crystal habit.

Educational Videos

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