People have always had an ambiguous opinion about gemstones. Some stones were revered as sacred, others were considered cursed. There are also minerals people couldn’t live without. The hero of this post, pyrite, belongs to the latter category. Today, it is past its prime but back in the day, it was ubiquitous in the fireplaces of medieval castles and smoking pipes. From afar, pyrite can be mistaken for a precious gold nugget. It was this fatal resemblance that once earned it a bad reputation.

Pyrite, the Meaning and History

The mineral capable of striking a spark was named pyrite - the Greek word ‘pyros’ means fire. Over time, the firestone acquired a few more unofficial nicknames: the Inca stone, fool's gold, alpine diamond, and some others.
The straw-yellow stone received these monikers for a reason. During the colonization of America, Spanish conquistadors confused pyrite with real gold. They killed the Indians to take their ‘gold’ and export it to Europe. For a long time, it was believed that the pavements of London were lined with the precious metal, which the infamous pirate Martin Frobisher brought from the New World. When it turned out that the roads were made of gold-like but non-precious pyrite, the pirate ended up in jail. The confusion continued during the Klondike gold rush. Mine owners tried to convince gullible investors of the profitability of mining. Many investors committed suicide when they realized the true value of the mineral.
Pyrite was well-known to ancient civilizations. Native Americans used the ideally polished facets of pyrite to make mirrors. They believed that these magic mirrors were capable of showing the future and fulfilling wishes. In France, pyrite became a symbol of courage and patriotism. During the Napoleonic wars, women donated their gold jewelry to the army. In return, they received a piece of pyrite, which they wore as a talisman. Roman legionnaires and Greek warriors endowed pyrite with tremendous protective powers. They never started a battle without their pyrite amulets.

pyrite stone for necklace

Pyrite Metaphysicochemical Properties

The mineral is the so-called sulfuric or ferruginous pyrite, which is the most common compound of the sulfide group. Pyrite crystals occur as a result of a variety of geo-processes: magmatic, sedimentary, hydrothermal, etc. Typically, pyrites are found in the form of beautiful intergrowths and individual crystals. The most common shape of natural specimens is cubic. The stones are so perfectly cut that it’s hard to believe that they have a natural origin.
Some specimens may contain microscopic inclusions of gold, silver, and other metals. In sedimentary rocks, pyrites were able to replace the remnants of dead animals and plants thus creating unique fossilized shells and silhouettes.
In addition to pyrite itself, mineralogy recognizes other types of iron sulfide - marcasite and bravoite. Their chemical compositions are almost identical to pyrite – FeS2. Marcasite, otherwise known as white iron pyrite, has an orthorhombic crystal structure. Bravoite, on the other hand, contains a substantial proportion of nickel (up to 20%).
Natural pyrite is characterized by light brass-yellow, straw, or golden hues. Specimens lacking sulfur may display yellowish-brown color. A characteristic feature of the gemstone is its metallic luster, which is the reason why it is often confused with gold nuggets. However, gold has a lighter color while pyrite features a touch of a dark green or brown. Plus, it offers greater hardness (6.0-6.5 on the Mohs scale).
Pyrite is an unstable mineral. If there is a minuscule amount of water in its composition, it may rapidly decompose into iron oxide and sulfuric acid under the influence of oxygen.

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Pyrite Deposits

The mineral is quite common. However, it is rarely mined purposely. More often than not, it accompanies more valuable minerals and metals such as gold, lead, uranium, or copper. Large pyrite deposits are found in Peru, Russia, the USA, Spain, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Canada, China, Cyprus, etc.

Pyrite Healing Properties

Although pyrite isn’t real gold, it has a beneficial effect on the nervous system similar to that of the precious metal. Lithotherapy recommends pyrite jewelry to prevent mental cachexia since it is able to improve mood, enhance productivity, and stimulate general vitality. Folk healers have been using the stone to eliminate cataracts, stop internal and external bleeding, as well as dull joint pain. They rely on crushed pyrite crystals to treat ulcers, inflammations, and abscesses.
Alternative medicine claims that pyrite crystals help get rid of depression, tremors, and obsessive disorders. Pyrite products worn regularly contribute to the saturation of the blood with oxygen and accelerate its delivery to tissues and organs. This property underlies the gemstone’s health-improving effect.

Pyrite gemstones for healing

Pyrite for sale

Pyrite Magic Properties

Since time immemorial, pyrite has been considered a male mineral because it is responsible for such traits as perseverance, courage, and determination. It relieves fears and helps move forward despite difficulties and danger. In today’s world, these properties of the mineral make it indispensable for every individual regardless of their gender.
Pyrite is able to help a person control their emotions and remain calm in challenging situations. Hence, it is ideal for those who seek to cultivate leadership qualities and realize their full potential. The stone helps reveal hidden talents and apply them to accomplish the set goal. Pyrite is also suitable for those who have already achieved success. Pyrite will come in handy for people whose work is associated with leadership: directors, managers, teachers, coaches, instructors, etc. Besides that, it is a felicitous talisman for individuals who work with fire such as firefighters, welders, blacksmiths, metallurgists, and cooks.
Pyrite has a beneficial effect on the mood and is capable of filling a person with positive energy. Place it in your house and it will double as a talisman against hostility and the evil eye. The mineral is believed to ward off danger and misfortune from its owners. On top of that, the gemstone is able to improve one’s love life. It makes a person more attractive for a potential partner as well as helps couples rekindle their feelings.

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Pyrite beads for sale

Pyrite for Sale Courtesy of KenKenGems

KenKenGems is the place to go if you’re on the hunt for beautiful and inexpensive pyrite. We supply large one-of-a-kind specimens able to become your talisman or lucky charm. They are available as cabochons if you like smooth and polished jewels as well as nuggets if you appreciate natural shapes.
Are you a jewelry enthusiast? Then go ahead and check out our selection of loose stones, as well as pyrite in strains, half-strains, sets, and silver frames. We deliver high-quality cuts treating the natural shape of this wondrous gem with great respect. No matter which product you buy from us, we ensure affordable price, authenticity, and fast delivery to your door.

pyrite flower carving for jewelry

Wide variety of our Pyrite collection