Gemstone :

Pyrite (Fool's Gold)


Birthstone Month :

Pyrite is not associated with any particular birthstone month.


Zodiac :

Pyrite is not associated with any particular zodiac sign.


Chemical Symbol :



Chemical Make-up :

Pyrite is an Iron Sulfide that occasionally contains small amounts of Cobalt, Nickel, Silver and Gold.


History & Lore :

The name Pyrite is derived from the Greek 'pyr' meaning “fire”, alluding to the fact that Pyrite forms sparks when struck against steel.


Pyrite has been used for ornamental and jewelry purposes dating back thousands of years and has been traced to both ancient Greek and Roman civilizations. The Roman historian Pliny described metallic-golden Pyrite in his famous piece of literature “Historia Naturalis”. Ancient Greek scientists believed the element of fire was hidden inside of Pyrite because of sparks that resulted when struck against steel and the pungent smell of Sulfur that it would emit. The Sulfuric smell encouraged Pyrites

connection to fire during the Middle Ages as Sulfur was thought to be associated with the fires of hell.


The Incas of South America used large slabs of polished Pyrite as magnificent mirrors that were believed to hold divine powers. It is believed that these mirrors are continued to be used by crystal mystics today in order to awaken psychic impulses


Pyrite has long been believed to foster intelligence and promote mental stability, logic, and to enhance analytical ability. Pyrite is also said to open the left and right hemispheres of our brains, allowing us to tap into and develop creative talents and abilities. Possessing Pyrite is said to encourage communication between the subconscious and conscious mind, and to promote psychic development and improve

memory, practicality, and strength of will.


Availability :

Pyrite is the most common of the sulfide minerals and can occur in almost every possible environment.


Sources :

While Pyrite is occurs worldwide, there are a only a few localities that produce particularly fine specimens. These include: Bolivia, Germany, Italy (Island of Elba), Mexico, Peru, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, and the United States (Colorado, Utah, Illinois, Pennsylvania).


Evaluation :

Pyrite is rated at 6 to 6.5 on Moh's Scale of Hardness and while it is harder then gold, Pyrite is somewhat brittle, so care should always be taken when wearing and storing Pyrite. Pyrite is sometimes incorrectly known as Marcasite in the gem trade. Marcasite is a polymorph of Pyrite, meaning Marcasite has the same chemical formula but it crystallizes in a different crystal system, therefore creating a different mineral.


Today Pyrite is used as an ornamental stone and is particularly popular with amateur collectors. It is also occasionally used as a gemstone, whereby it is faceted and polished for use as a side stone in a ring, necklace, or bracelet. Pyrite has a beautiful metallic luster and a pale to normal brass-yellow hue which has earned it the nickname fool's gold.


Ironically enough, small quantities of Gold are sometimes found present in Pyrite and such auriferous Pyrite is in fact a valuable ore of Gold.


While Pyrite is a common Iron-rich mineral, it has never been used as a significant source of Iron. Pyrite is not as economical as other primary Iron ores such as Hematite and Magnetite because of their tendency to form larger concentrations of more easily mined material.


Common Cuts :

Pyrite can form fine crystallized specimens and occur in many interesting shapes. Most commonly it occurs as cubes and pyritohedron's, and less commonly, octahedron's. When used for jewelry purposes, Pyrite is often carved into cabochons, edge stones, and the popular flat disc “Pyrite dollars”. Pyrite can also be faceted though it is generally not common.


Routine Enhancements :

There are no known enhancements for Pyrite.


Care & Cleaning :

Pyrite is somewhat brittle so care should always be taken when storing and when wearing Pyrite jewelry items. Household chemicals, acids, excessive heat, and ultrasonic cleaners should all be avoided as this can cause permanent damage. Warm soapy water and a soft is generally the best method for cleaning Pyrite jewelry.Pyrite should always be stored in a fabric-lined box away from other jewelry items to avoid damage / scratching.