Agate Chrysocolla Hematite Moissanite Pearl Tanzanite Brilliance Fluorescence
Alexandrite Chrysoprase Iolite Moonstone Pyrite Tigerís Eye Carat Hardness Inc
Amber Citrine Ivory Mother Pearl Quartz Topaz Clarity Stability
Amethyst Coral Jade Mystic Topaz Rubies Tourmaline Color Inclusion
Ametrine Diamond Jasper Obsidian Sapphire Turquoise Cut Toughness
Aquamarine Emerald Kunzite Onyx Spinel Yellow Topaz Durability
Blue Topaz Feldspar Malachite Opal Star Sapphire Zircon Facet
Cats Eye Garnet Marcasite Peridot Sugilite  

How and where is Pyrite formed and found?

Pyrite is one of the most commonly found minerals.  In fact, it would be a normal ore for iron if it came in larger masses than it is normally found in.  Pyrite is a Greek word for fire and it sometimes is called many different names including Marcasite and Fool’s Gold.  Pyrite resembles gold in that it is yellow, or brassy yellow and looks like gold.  It is ironic that lots of gold found throughout the world include small inclusions of Pyrite.

Pyrite is mainly made from the element of iron. Besides iron, sulfur and oxygen are present.  Pyrite is a very interesting and attractive mineral and while it isn’t the best material to make ornamental jewelry out of, due to the fact that it is very brittle, it is used in small amounts for other jewelry and gemstones including Marcasite and Lapis Lazuli.  Most Pyrite is found as ore in veins or bands of iron in the earth’s crust.  Just like iron, Pyrite can be found and mined in many regions of the world.  However, Pyrite is mostly mined in the states of Illinois and Missouri of America, Peru, Russia, Spain, and South Africa.

It is important to note that Marcasite is a polymorph of Pyrite. A polymorph is a mineral that has exactly the same contents, however the structure of these contents are different causing different properties.  Marcasite and Pyrite both are written as FeS2.  While both are brittle, Marcasite is mistakenly added to silver, it is usually Pyrite that is added to silver and in effect called Marcasite.  Unfortunately, Marcasite is much too brittle for ornamental jewelry and is sometimes so brittle it will turn into powder.

The colors, shapes and sizes of Pyrite

Pyrite is a wonderful mineral that is extremely interesting to possess.  It is mainly yellow, yellowish brass or a brassy color and in certain ways closely resembles gold.  It sometimes goes under the name of Fool’s Gold because of its beautiful color.  It is mostly found in large quantities, usually in cubic crystal forms.  While Pyrite is a wonderful mineral to own just as it is, it is not that practical solely as ornamental jewelry.

Pyrite is made from iron and sulfur and it is scientifically written as FeS2.  It is a polymorph of Marcasite.  Polymorph means that a mineral shares the same chemical elements as another mineral, except the structure is very different.  This ultimately causes different qualities to emerge.  For instance, Marcasite, is a very brittle mineral that sometimes self destructs into pure dust.  It usually smells like rotten eggs, from the sulfur and is very rarely used if ever as jewelry.  The Marcasite that you might be familiar with in silver is actually mistaken as Pyrite.  Pyrite is also seen in inclusions in the beautiful blue stone Lapis Lazuli and the more Pyrite included, usually the more valuable the stone.

Pyrite comes in many sizes; however it doesn’t come in huge masses as other types of iron based minerals. Pyrite is interesting in that it forms crystals that are sometimes cubist in form.  For mineral collectors, Pyrite is extremely interesting to own and adore.

While not practical as ornamental jewelry, Pyrite does add an extra sparkle or fire to other minerals in the form of small inclusions.

© 2007 Gemstone Education