saf-ahyuh r

Pyrite has a shiny golden-yellow color and a metallic luster. Its name comes from the Greek word pyr, meaning "a gemstone that strikes fire," due to the sparks produced when pyrite strikes iron. While pyrite has a history of being mistaken for gold, they are differentiated by pyrite's lighter, tougher, broken-faced grains. You may hear pyrite called by its nickname "fool's gold". Marcasite is a polymorph of pyrite. It has the same chemistry, but a different crystal structure. In the jewelry trade, the names pyrite and marcasite are often used interchangeably.

Pyrite Polished
Pyrite Classification
Common Name Pyrite
Species Pyrite
Pyrite Optical Properties
Transparency Opaque
Refractive Index Over The Limit 1.810
Fluorescence SWUV: Inert
LWUV: Inert
Pleochroism None
Pyrite Characteristic Physical Properties
Hardness 6-6.5
Streak Greenish To Brownish Black Streak
Specific Gravity 4.900-5.100 Typical:5.02
Toughness Good
Luster Metallic
Fracture Conchoidal, Uneven
Cleavage None
Pyrite Chemistry & Crystallography
Chemical Name iron sulfide
Chemical Formula FeS2
Crystal System Cubic
Chemistry Classification Sulfide

Pyrite Colors

  • Yellow Pyrite Yellow

Alternate Names

Fools gold

Countries of Origin

Afghanistan; United States of America (the); Madagascar; Spain; Morocco; Unknown; China; Russian Federation (the); Brazil; Italy; Mexico; South Africa; Peru


Normal, gentle handling. Avoid acids and chemicals.

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Tim Matthews


Tim Matthews

Tim Matthews is President and Chief Executive Officer of Jewelry Television® (JTV), as well as a member of the company's Board of Directors. He oversees and leads all aspects of the company's powerful omni-digital retail platform that uniquely specializes in fine jewelry and gemstones. His passion for business and gemstones has led him to become a recognized expert in the field of gemology. He is a life member of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain (Gem-A) and has earned Gem-A's highest degrees, the Gemmology (FGA) and Diamond (DGA) diplomas. He is also a Graduate Gemologist (GG) of the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and has also completed GIA's Graduate Diplomas in Diamonds, Colored Stones and Pearls. Under his leadership, JTV has become the leader in the sourcing and selling of color gemstones and jewelry.

This page was created on June 27, 2014.

This page was last edited on October 24, 2019.