What is pyrite?
The term 'pyrite' refers to a whole group of minerals, yet it is usually ascribed to the most popular form: iron pyrite (or iron disulfide) AKA Fool’s Gold is a metallic yellow mineral that closely resembles gold in hue. However, the properties of pyrite mineral are much different than those of gold; where gold is soft and malleable with a hardness of 2.5, pyrite is brittle in nature and has a hardness of about 6.5 on Mohs scale. Tell-tale striations often also line Pyrite’s brassy glistening cubic facets, distinguishing them from gold.
Pyrites are an abundant group of minerals that are found all over the world. Naturally occurring iron disulfide (or iron pyrite) is the most abundant mineral in the metal sulfide group. The pyrite family includes cattierite, arsenopyrite, Chalcopyrite and vaesite and is characterized by the ability to spark when struck with steel. The name ‘pyrite’ comes from the Greek Pyr which means “fire.” Before the magic of modern electricity, this provided portability of fire, an enviable asset. This chemical property led to pyrite’s popularity as an ignition source in the 16th and 17th century firearms. Pyrite’s most well-known use in a weapon is in the wheellock, where a sample of pyrite was rubbed against a circular file or a similar object to produce a shower of sparks that ignites the gunpowder in the pan. The brittle nature of pyrite did not lend itself to this process, and it later was replaced by flint.
What are the properties of pyrite?
Pyrite is a sulfide mineral that is chemically similar to other sulfide minerals such as galena (lead sulfide), marcasite (iron sulfide) and gypsum (calcium sulfate). It is commonly found in association with these minerals, as well as with Hematite, Sphalerite, Barite and Dolomite. The best Pyrite crystals are found in the Ica region of Peru, the Sierra de Caballos in Spain and in the states of Chihuahua and Sonora in Mexico. Marcasite jewelry (sometimes misspelled mercasite) is actually Pyrite, as the properties of true marcasite are chemically unstable and unfit for working with as jewelry.
Also known as ‘Fool’s Gold,’ Pyrite became especially well-known during the California Gold Rush in the 1840’s. Often mistaken for gold, Pyrite forms under similar conditions as gold and often the two metals can form side by side in the same molten vein. Inexperienced gold panners may have felt foolish mistaking it for gold back then but it certainly does hold value. Besides many potential benefits that are attributed to this mineral, there are also now metallurgic processes that can extract the “invisible” gold deposits out of Pyrite that have a commercially significant amount of gold. These practices are much better for the environment than the traditional mining process. Pyrite is found in igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary environments. Often in the sedimentary situation, this mineral is known to replace organic material and create fossils; in black shale particularly.
What is the meaning of pyrite?
Pyrite can be a great ally if you are looking to invite a feeling of clarity and focus into your life! The metaphysical properties of this mineral can also help to stoke the creative fires. Trying to be more efficient? Working with Pyrite can help cultivate more energy, and help you to be mindful about how you spend your precious time. Pyrite is a very positive mineral, and can greatly benefit your mood and your confidence. The energy of this crystal will put some spring in your step, and make you practically want to shine along with it!
Because of its lustrous brilliance, Pyrite has been associated with the Sun and regarded as a “Firestone” for thousands of years. In the days of hellenistic Greece when the Doctrine of Signatures was the bleeding edge of medicine, and doctors were (by nature) alchemists and astrologers, the Sun was associated with any metal that was golden in hue. In modern day alchemy, Pyrite is still connected to the Sun, and is currently being proposed as a material to line the photovoltaic cells of solar panels. There is a recent proposal to make thin film photovoltaic cells completely out of Pyrite. This metal also has a commercial use in Energizer batteries, as a cathode material. This crystal also excels with metaphysical work around energy levels and working with frazzled nerves as an energetic circuit connector.
What are the potential benefits of pyrite?
Pyrite is one of the best crystals to work with if you are mindfully meditating on your sense of value and self-worth. This magical mineral can also help to attract wealth and abundant prosperity. If these are your intentions, you can place your sample in the left-most corner of your home, which is the prosperity section of the Feng Shui map.
The gold on the outside doesn't always represent the treasure within. Even if you're not built the same as others in your life, your value and sense of self-agency is real, even if it appears to be quite different. It's often our imperfections that help us to navigate in our own distinctive ways. Every human has gold inside; this unique treasure is what makes us human.
What colors can pyrite appear as?
Pyrite has a brassy golden metallic luster, and its cubic faces shine a golden orange yellow color. The pyrite that appears as marcasite jewelry features a more muted silvery luster. When it tarnishes, it exudes an iridescence.
*** Crystal healing is not a suitable replacement for regular visits to your physician or therapist, rather a complementary article to the process. If you are experiencing symptoms, please see a doctor immediately. Results of crystal healing may vary person to person, not all results will be the same. The claims made in the above statement are not intended to be curative and are not approved by the FDA.