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How to distinguish real pyrite from a fake?

Have you ever been attracted to mineral particles with a golden glow? At first glance you think it’s gold. In fact, you will be mesmerized by his gorgeous appearance! This is pyrite, commonly known as fool’s gold.

fool’s gold not real gold

True gold is a natural mineral of the gold element, and pyrite is the most widespread sulfide mineral in the earth’s crust. It is often mistaken for gold due to its light brass color and bright metallic luster. In the past era of mining, pyrite misled many miners due to its shape and color being similar to gold. He was joked around like fool’s gold and became famous. Among the natural products, minerals very similar to gold are chalcopyrite in addition to pyrite.

What is the true face fool’s gold?

fool’s gold Pyrite is an iron disulfide, often containing traces of cobalt, nickel, copper, gold, selenium and other elements. Pure pyrite contains 46,67% iron and 53,33% sulfur, which is called pyrite in the industry. Pyrite can form cubic crystal structures. Physical properties of pyrite fool’s gold

Chemical formula of pyrite fez2
Pyrite color Light brass
Glitter of pyrite metallic luster
Pyrite hardness from 6 to 6,5
Specific gravity of pyrite from 4,95 to 5,10
Pyrite Strength Fragile
Pyrite crystal system Equiaxial

Pyrite is readily associated with quartz veins, sedimentary rocks, metamorphic rocks, and sulfides or oxides in coal seams. It is often found and mined in Spain, the Czech Republic, the USA and China.

Pyrite gets its name from the Greek

Golden pyrite fools were valued in many ancient civilizations. The name pyrite comes from the Greek word “pyr“, which means fire. Why is pyrite called fire? Because when other hard minerals scratch pyrite, sparks can form. As a result, the pyrite was once transformed into flint. In guns, pyrite fragments can be used as ignition material. The meaning of pyrite also represents masculine energy, a symbol of wealth and prosperity.

The history of pyrite has spread widely

Throughout history, countless great explorers have been fooled by pyrite. fool’s gold, especially during the California Gold Rush, was often mentioned, even famous British explorers were not spared. In the early 17th century, Captain John Smith sent a ship to London containing stones containing gold particles as a trophy for his exploration of Virginia. But experts in London were disappointed after the test: “It’s just a bunch of worthless fool’s gold.

How to distinguish gold from pyrite?

Natural pyrite crystal comes in exquisite shapes such as cube and octahedron. Compared to real gold, pyrite differs in many ways. fool’s gold vs real gold

  1. 1 The specific gravity of pyrite is less than that of gold
    Gold ore weighs approximately 4 times more than pyrite for the same volume.
  2. 2 Pyrite is harder than real gold
    Gold has a Mohs hardness of 3 and pyrite has a hardness of 6, which is not easy to scratch.
  3. 3 Real gold turns red
    A gold mine has several shades of red, but fool’s gold does not.
  4. 4 Different stripes
    If you scratch the ore, the streaks left by the gold will turn golden yellow, and the pyrite will turn dark green.

Learn more about how to identify gold ore:

Is pyrite worth the money?

Gold and pyrite are formed under similar conditions and have a close symbiotic relationship. In some deposits, pyrite may contain 0,25–1% gold, known as “invisible gold”. Thus, gold-bearing pyrite is a commercially important source of gold, which can be obtained by gravity separation and magnetic separation. This has some value.

Although pyrite is not as valuable as gold, it still has value. Pyrite has important industrial uses:

  • Pyrite is the main mineral raw material for the production of sulfur;
  • Production of sulfur dioxide for the paper industry;
  • Production of sulfuric acid for the chemical industry and fertilizer production;
  • Often mined for associated elements such as gold, copper, cobalt and nickel;
  • Pyrite is used as a colorant in glass making to make dark glass bottles;
  • Pyrite with its crystalline form intact has decorative value and can be used as gemstones and collectibles;
  • Calcined in medicine, it is called “natural copper”, which activates blood circulation, dispels blood stagnation, and relieves pain.

Is it possible to extract iron from pyrite?

Pyrite is a mineral containing iron and sulfur. However, pyrite is typically used as a feedstock for sulfuric acid production rather than as a feedstock for iron extraction. Iron is usually obtained from more easily extracted iron oxide ores such as hematite and magnetite.

More information about iron mining:

The iron content of pyrite is low and it contains sulfur. The iron production process can produce sulfur dioxide gas, which causes air pollution. Therefore, iron is rarely extracted from pyrite.

How is pyrite processed?

The particle size of pyrite embedded in ores is relatively large. The specific gravity of pyrite is 4,9-5,2, and the specific gravity of associated waste rock is not more than 3,0. Therefore, the enrichment of pyrite is basically completed gravity separation. A spiral chute, jig, or shaking table can effectively extract pyrite.

For some pyrites with uneven particle size, use combined gravity flotation process. The raw ore is first coarsened and graded, and then separated using gravity and flotation equipment.

Are you looking for equipment for pyrite processing? Contact our engineers


Author : Jordan Jordan is a blog writer with extensive knowledge of the industry. Most importantly, he sincerely hopes to help you in your projects.

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Pyrite is a chemical mineral that is popularly known as “fool’s gold.” The thing is that in its external characteristics this stone resembles real gold. However, this is not the only distinguishing feature of pyrite. For example, it is known that this stone can be used to create sparks. What other features does this stone hide, how is it used and who is it suitable for? Read more about this in our material.


According to its natural characteristics, pyrite belongs to rocks. The main components of the mineral are iron and sulfur, but the stone also contains impurities, for example, cobalt, arsenic, and so on. Due to its physical properties, pyrite is quite strong and heavy. It has the functions of a conductor. Externally, pyrite looks like gold – the metallic luster is provided by the crystal lattice of the stone. The chemical properties of the stone belong to the hydrophobic group. This means that the stone cannot tolerate contact with water.

Pyrite is of great importance to the jewelry and industrial industries. It has magical and healing properties.

History of origin

If we literally decipher and translate the word “pyrite,” then in Russian we will get the phrase “carving fire.” Thus, the name of the stone reveals some of its features: if you hit the gem with sufficient force and at the right angle, you can get a strong spark. The unusual properties of the mineral were known back in the Stone Age and were widely used by people of that period. In nature, the stone was distributed in Central and South America – it was there that real deposits of this material could be found in the 16th century.

In addition, by this time Europe’s reserves of flint and steel had been depleted. That is why the conquistadors went to distant lands to conquer rich lands and subjugate the people. However, at that time it was believed that pyrite was not pyrite at all, but real Indian gold, accordingly, they tried to make money on it. Pyrite was also confused with gold during the Gold Rush. It was in connection with such embarrassments that the stone received its popular name – “fool’s gold”.

In the 17th century, pyrite became a popular stone among jewelers and was loved by many professional craftsmen. Pyrite set off the beauty and brilliance of diamonds in jewelry, and was also a stone from which individual independent jewelry masterpieces were made. During the Napoleonic Wars, the stone became a real symbol of patriotism and sacrificial love for the homeland. The fact is that in difficult times for the country, women donated their gold and other jewelry to the needs of the army. In return, they received pyrite, which was a kind of lost jewelry.

In the twentieth century, pyrite became a material from which various golden inserts began to be created. It must be said that the popularity of the stone has not faded to this day. Pyrite combines several important characteristics: it is aesthetically attractive, but at the same time quite inexpensive.

That is why pyrite jewelry can be worn by women belonging to very different social strata of society.

Place of Birth

It is quite easy to find a natural mineral in nature, because there are quite a lot of its deposits on our planet. However, it is important that not all pyrite is valuable, since not all subtypes of the stone have precious jewelry properties. Those specimens that are valued more than others can be found in Scandinavia, Azerbaijan, the United States of America and Italy. Valuable pyrite is also hidden in the depths of the earth of our country. So, in the vastness of Russia, pyrite is mined in the Urals.

If we talk about the geographical location of stone deposits, it should be noted that most often it is found in those areas where hot springs are located. Often pyrite is adjacent to gold or sulfur. It was thanks to this proximity that the stone received several more names: golden pyrite and sulfur pyrite. Pyrite is also found during the development of quartz veins.

It is important to note that “fool’s gold” can be found not only in nature. Pyrite is a by-product of the process of smelting copper from ore.


Although pyrite is a fairly unique stone in nature, there are several minerals whose physical and chemical composition is similar to “fool’s gold.” In addition, these stones can be confused by color. Let us consider in more detail the features of pyrite’s “brothers”.

  • Marcasite. This stone differs from pyrite in the structure of its internal chemical crystal lattice. However, even though its shape is changed, the basic properties of the mineral remain the same.
  • Bravoit. This is a chemical mineral, the composition of which is saturated not only with sulfur and iron, but also with nickel (about 20% of the total volume in the stone). This mineral can be found in veins of nickel ores.

Magical and healing properties

It is believed that pyrite is a stone that has a huge number of positive properties. Among the variety of characteristics of the material, two large groups of features are distinguished: magical and healing. It’s worth taking a closer look at each of these groups.


The fact that pyrite has certain supernatural characteristics has been known since ancient times. So, first of all, the mineral is used as a source of power – witches, magicians and sorcerers, after performing their magical rituals, use the stone to raise and restore their energy levels. In addition, it is believed that the stone can benefit its owner. However, the positive properties of pyrite will begin to appear only when the owner of the stone enters into harmony with the mineral. In this case, the owner of pyrite will also manifest a desire for spirituality, laziness, doubts and anxieties will disappear, and the process of self-development will be activated.

Pyrite can have a special effect on representatives of the stronger half of humanity. Fire pyrite will give men inner strength and confidence, making a young man more attractive to the opposite sex. Pyrite can also help women – the owner of an unusual stone will be able to find her soul mate. However, such properties of the stone apply only to those people who have serious intentions and plan long-term and strong relationships. Pyrite will help not only in love, but also in business – it will attract finance, help you find new sources of income and open your own business.


The valuable stone pyrite, due to its internal characteristics, is able to influence the human biofield. That is why it is believed that the mineral has medicinal properties – because it is capable of providing healing and health-improving effects on the person who wears it. For example, pyrite can help with a wide range of diseases. These include the following:

  • depression;
  • neuroses;
  • obsessive states;
  • insomnia and disruption of the biological clock;
  • infectious diseases;
  • flu;
  • heart disease;
  • vascular and blood diseases;
  • thrombosis;
  • heart attacks;
  • asthma;
  • lung diseases;
  • disruption of the bronchi;
  • sexual dysfunction.

To whom does it suit?

For women and men interested in astrology, it is important to consider your zodiac sign before purchasing pyrite jewelry. Thus, this stone is associated with the sun, so those zodiac signs that are summer (namely Gemini, Cancer, Leo and Virgo) can use “fool’s gold” as a talisman. He will help them reach heights in the professional field, discover their inner strengths, and also find true love. For Aries and Sagittarius, pyrite will help them find inner balance and tranquility; for Capricorns, the crystal will give them purposefulness and determination, help them achieve their goals and reach their desired heights.

Aquarians, with the help of pyrite, will gain the strength to make changes, and Libra, wearing pyrite jewelry, will be able to avoid temptations and become more reasonable.

How to distinguish from fake and other stones?

Today on the jewelry market you can find a huge variety of jewelry made from pyrite. Moreover, such jewelry is offered not only by well-known and elite jewelry stores, but also by ordinary sellers on the market. Due to the high prevalence of the mineral, many unscrupulous traders try to pass off other, less valuable stones as pyrite. Let’s figure out how to distinguish natural pyrite from a fake.

Many scammers try to pass off ordinary plastic as pyrite. They cut out pieces of cheap material, coat them with gold dust, and sell them for the price of gold. To avoid becoming a victim of such deception, the buyer only needs to look at the gap in the stone. Real pyrite is not transparent. In addition, natural stone cannot be scratched with improvised means, since it is quite hard and durable. If the product offered by the seller does not correspond to the described characteristics, then be sure that they are trying to sell you a fake, and of rather poor quality.

Important! The stone has external features that are similar to gold, but it is unlikely that they will try to sell you gold under the guise of pyrite, because the noble metal is much more expensive than pyrite.


Pyrite is a mineral that is widely used in jewelry. Moreover, precious jewelry is most often made from precisely those stones that were mined in Italy – they are considered the most valuable, beautiful and large. In jewelry, pyrite can act as an independent mineral, but it is also often combined with other stones. Less valuable specimens of pyrite are used to make accessories for clothing and other wardrobe items: cufflinks, buttons, and so on. In addition to fine jewelry work, “fool’s gold” is often subjected to harsher influences. Thus, stone is used in industry for the extraction of iron ore and sulfur.

The magical properties of the stone attract psychics, magicians and witches from all over the globe. That is why various amulets and talismans are made from pyrite.


If you are the happy owner of pyrite jewelry or are planning to purchase it (for yourself or as a gift), then it is important to remember that such jewelry needs especially careful care. It is worth taking into account that although the mineral is quite hard, the combination of physical and chemical properties of the stone also makes it brittle and brittle. You need to handle pyrite rings especially delicately – most often it is these types of jewelry that are susceptible to various types of damage.

Thus, it should be taken into account that pyrite is very sensitive to environmental conditions: it does not tolerate moisture, high temperature, or mechanical shock. To preserve the appearance of the stone for as long as possible, such effects should be avoided. However, even with careful wear and care, jewelry made from pyrite will not last long.

Pyrite has a so-called shelf life. So, after 5-6 years of constant wear, the jewelry will begin to fade and lose its unique shade.

In the next video you will find a story about the healing and energetic properties of pyrite.

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