Saturday, May 5, 2012

Saturday's Gem - Pyrite

Often people think of "Fools Gold" when Pyrite is mentioned because often years ago the amateur gold miner would see pieces of Pyrite glittering in the hot sun and think they hit Pay-Dirt just to find out that it wasn't gold when they tried to cash their treasure in.  People had also falsely sold Pyrite as gold to unsuspecting victim giving it the name "Fools Gold" because only a fool would mistake its luster as gold. 
This great specimen can be found in IvoryMoon at
Personally I think that Pyrite has gotten a bad rap and I would love to find a deposit of nice specimens.  Pyrite is metallic and has a light yellow color making it easy for the novice to mistaken it for gold.  It comes in many different shapes:  cubic, crystal shaped, reniform (kidney shaped,) stalactitic, granular (I have seen this in a lake where the sand beneath the water is shimmery and sometimes fine tiny flecks will stick to your skin if you are swimming in it,) massive, botryoidal and nodular.  I desire to find a specimen that has at least one perfect square piece of Pyrite embedded in a wonderful host but so far that has remained illusive. 
This great single cubic Pyrite specimen can be found in NearEarthExploration at
Some other traits of Pyrite is that it is common to find a specimen that has twinning (two crystals growing opposite directions,) it is often striated (if you look carefully it has little lines or ridges like a record), and it will streak a black-green streak if you rub it onto a peace of white unfinished tile.  Pyrite is a combination of sulfides formed in hydrothermal veins.  It is commonly found in Oregon and Arizona but it can be found throughout the US, just maybe not as prevalent as those two states.  In fact I know that there are areas in California that has deposits but I just have not been able to find them.

Most importantly though is that it is pretty.  I can tell you all about the properties and where it comes from but to me two of the most important traits for a gem or mineral is, how will it look in a display and how will it look worn as jewelry.  Here are some great examples of Pyrite and Pyrite jewelry, beads etc. I found on Etsy.  Have a blessed day friends.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great post and great information about pyrite!