The Mineral ilmenite

Tabular Ilmenite Group

Ilmenite is one of the most significant ores of the metal titanium. It is mined as an important industrial mineral in several deposits throughout the world. Many of those deposits are in heavy placer sands. Ilmenite is very similar in structure to Hematite, and is essentially the same as Hematite with roughly half the iron replaced with titanium. Ilmenite is named after the locality of the Ilmen Mountains, which are a part of the Southern Urals of Russia.

Chemical Formula



Black, dark grayish-black, brownish-black, dark reddish-brown, brownish-gray

Crystal System



Dark grayish-black to dark reddish-brown
5 - 6
Specific Gravity
4.1 - 4.8
Metallic to sub-metallic
None. Occasional parting.
Other ID Marks
Slightly attracted to magnetic fields.

Crystal Habits

In thick tabular and pyramidal crystals, in complex equidimensional crystals, in pseudo-octahedral crystals, and in thin hexagonal plates. Also grainy masses of such crystals, flaky and platy aggregates, rosettes, as rounded, waterworn pebbles and sands, and massive.

3D Crystal Atlas

Additional Information

Iron titanium oxide, often with magnesium and manganese
In Group
Oxides; Simple Oxides
Striking Features
Dark streak, hardness, and weak attraction to magnetic fields.
In igneous rocks in gabbro, basalts, and pegmatites. Also in metamorphic schists, in sedimentary placer deposits, and occasionally in meteorites.
Rock Type
Igneous, Metamorphic, Meteoric

Other Names



 -   Rounded, waterworn form of Ilmenite found at the placer deposit of the Iser (Jizerská) meadow in the Jizerské Mts, Bohemia, Czech Republic.
 -   Alteration product of Ilmenite and other titanium or iron oxides, including Rutile, Brookite, Titanite, Perovskite, and Hematite.
 -   Magnesium-rich variety of Ilmenite.
 -   Magnesium-rich variety of Ilmenite.
 -   Iron-rich variety of Ilmenite named after Washington, Litchfield Co., Connecticut.


Ilmenite is the most important ore of the element titanium. It has recently surpassed Rutile as the main ore mineral of that metal. Ilmenite was once used as a minor ore of iron prior to the discovery of titanium as an industrially important metal.

Noteworthy Localities

Ilmenite is quarried in many economically important deposits in various locations worldwide. However, much of these mines fail to produce specimens because of the scale of the operations, or due to poor specimen quality. Only important localities which have produced specimens for the collector are mentioned here.

The type locality of Ilmenite, famous for having produced single thick crystals, is Miass, in the Ilmen Mts, Southern Urals, Russia. Large, well-formed crystals are well-known from Åmdal, Froland, Aust-Agder, Norway; and brownish-gray crystals from Kragerø, Telemark, Norway. Beautiful rosettes similar to Hematite Iron Roses occur in the Tormiq valley, Haramosh Mts., Skardu District, Pakistan; and highly lustrous crystal plates are found on Zagi Mountain, near Peshawar, Pakistan.

In Canada, good Ilmenite crystals have come from Bancroft, Faraday Twp, Hastings Co., Ontario; and some of the largest crystals were found in Girardville, near Lac Saint-Jean, Quebec. In the U.S., crystals were once found in Chester, Hampden Co., Massachusetts; and a manganese-rich form from Washington, Litchfield Co., Connecticut. A massive Ilmenite came from the McIntyre Mine, Newcomb, Essex Co., New York.

Distingushing Similar Minerals

Hematite - Redder streak.
Magnetite - Strongly attracted to magnetic fields.
Rutile - Lacks magnetism, usually more reddish on edges, and may be slightly translucent on edges.
Columbite - Higher specific gravity, lacks any magnetism.


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