Chromite, a mineral ore that is mined from crystallized magma, is used in the production of steel as a pigment and as a catalyst in many chemical reactions. It is also an important component of the leather tanning process. Chromite is also used to anodize aluminum for use in jet engines.
Chromite is the mineral ore of the metal Chromium, and the chromium must often be extracted from the ore and purified before it is used. Chromium is an important ingredient in steel; it gives this metal increased hardness and toughness, and it helps it reduce chemical erosion over time. Chromium is also vital in the aerospace industry because it is used to anodize the aluminum that is used to build aircraft and related equipment. These aluminum alloys made with chromium are incredibly heat resistant, making them ideal for use in jet engines. Compounds made with chromium and nickel are also highly heat resistant and used on toasters, ovens and other home appliances.
Several chromium compounds are used as dyes and colorants. Lead chromate is used to make the pigment chrome yellow. Tiny amounts of chromium from chromite ore combine with various other compounds to give rubies their red color and emeralds their green color. Various chromium pigments are used to give cosmetics their colors as well.