The quality of ore in the two ranges differs somewhat, that mined from the Vermilion Range being a hard specular or red haematite, while that taken from the Mesabi Range, largely red haematite, is much softer and in many localities quite finely comminuted.
Specular haematite forms a constituent of certain schistose rocks, such as the Brazilian itabirite.
The splendent surface has suggested for this mineral such names as specular iron ore, looking-glass ore, and iron glance (fer oligiste of French writers).
Specular iron ore occurs in the form of brilliant metallic scales on many lavas, as at Vesuvius and Etna, in the Auvergne and the Eifel, and notably in the Island of Ascension, where the mineral forms beautiful tabular crystals.
In the Marquette district of Michigan (Lake Superior) schistose specular ore occurs in important deposits, associated with a jasper rock, in which the ore alternates with bands of red quartzite.
The ore occurs in two forms, haematites and limonites; the specular hematites often being grouped, for practical purposes, into two classes - those occurring in porphyry and those occurring in sandstone.
Ferric oxide or iron sesquioxide, Fe203, constitutes the valuable ores red haematite and specular iron; the minerals brown haematite or limonite, and gothite and also iron rust are hydrated forms. It is obtained as a steel-grey crystalline powder by igniting the oxide or any ferric salt containing a volatile acid.
Volcanic activity in the neighbourhood is further shown by the quantities of pumice-stone drifted on to the south coasts of Kandavu and Viti Levu; malachite, antimony and graphite, gold in small quantities, and specular iron-sand occur.
Micaceous iron ore consists of delicate steel-grey scales of specular haematite, unctuous to the touch, used as a lubricant and also as a pigment.