In the present study, changes of iron content, brightness, particle size, mineralogy and paramagnetic properties of kaolins before and after superconducting high gradient magnetic separation (SHGMS) were investigated. The Fe2O3 contents of the feed decreased by 56% after 3.5T SHGMS with 1# steel wool, but higher magnetic intensity to 5.5T did not remove additional iron. The ISO brightness of the kaolin sample after SHGMS was improved from 56.9% to 76.7%. The D50 value of the magnetic rejects was 35% larger compared to the feed. Large particles might block the micro-pores in the steel wool matrix. Compared to the feed, the dark or red impurities significantly decreased in the non-magnetic product. Paramagnetic species in the kaolin sample were sensitive to SHGMS. The resonances at g = ∼2.0 and g = 4.0 decreased significantly in the concentrate compared to the feed in the ESR spectra. Iron components in the non-magnetic product were more likely to be non-paramagnetic. The results are useful for understanding the SHGMS in kaolin treatment, and might be a guide for optimizing process parameters.