“Gold is for the mistress—silver for the maid!
Copper for the craftsman cunning at his trade.”
“Good!” said the Baron, a-sitting in his hall,
“But Iron—Cold Iron—is master of them all!”

Cold Iron by Rudyard Kipling


Limonite comes from the Greek word LEIMON which means a meadow. This is because Limonite are often found in meadows and marshes as bog iron ore.

Limonite is a composite of other minerals such as hydrous basic iron oxide, among them are goethite, akaganeite, lepidocrocite, and jarosite. When Limonite is the matrix of these other minerals, the term Gossan is used instead.

Moreover, Limonite often occurs as a secondary material, formed from the weathering of hematite, magnetite, pyrite and these other iron-bearing materials. It is thus without a chemical formula and crystalline structure of its own.

Limonite comes in various colors such as yellow, brown, reddish-brown and in few cases rainbow-like play of colors. In its brown form it is called brown hematite or brown iron ore; in its bright yellow form it is called yellow rock or yellow iron ore.

Since ancient times limonite has been used as a pigment and it was found in Neolithic pictographs. The yellow rock limonite produces yellow ochre; and the brown and reddish-brown limonite produces brownish tones; and the limonite that has been scorched produces red ochre.

On Mohs hardness scale, Limonite is between 4 to 5.5 range. Its transparency is opaque with a dull, glass-like, silky luster.

When heated, limonite becomes magnetic. Unlike hematite and magnetite that leave a red and black streak respectively after scratched, limonite leaves a brown streak.

When dehydrated, goethite forms hematite; upon hydration, goethite becomes limonite. Limonite often comes as a clay or mudstone. Limonite mudstones have been mined since ancient time to make iron. Though iron can also be obtained from meteors and hematite, there is evidence to suggest that it was the yellow limonite that was used as the first iron ore for iron metallurgy in ancient Africa.

In the 1st Century BCE in China and later in 1150 in Europe, it was limonite, specifically the brown type, that was used in the production of iron.

Iron was known as the Metal of Mars. It was used since ancient times as a protector against demons and ghosts. It represents power, command, struggle and protection. Iron gives us the will power, aggressiveness and determination to succeed.

Our blood is made of iron. It is an important component of hemoglobin. Iron was used as alternative medicine in the production of medication to treat blood diseases and problems.