Crystal System: Cubic. Forms perfect octahedron as seen above.
Formation: Igneous rocks
Unusual Properties: Magnetite, sometimes referred to as lodestone, is natures own natural magnet. In photo #1 the round silver disk is an industrial magnet which is a base for the three pieces of magnetite being held together. The larger is a massive piece of magnetite, the orangy/red colored stone is a medium size magnetite octahedron, and the smaller octahedron is a perfectly formed magnetite crystal being held at the top of the group by the combined magnetism of the others.
In photo #2 below you see nature’s own tug of war as two chunks of magnetite each exert their own magnetic force on the iron filings held between the two. You can see the time spires sticking out from the larger piece. These are tiny iron filings being held by the magnetic pull of the larger piece. This natural magnetism was also used to make the world’s first compass centuries ago. This was possible since these stones will point to magnetic north when placed in a manner allowing them to turn freely. We will cover that in the Teacher’s Section on Interesting Mineral Demonstrations.