Minerals are located all around us, virtually everywhere on the face of the
planet. They are found in the environment around us in almost every part of
the world. What confuses many people about minerals goes with the saying
minerals make up rocks, but rocks do not make up minerals, which is a
somewhat popular misconception by many people. For something to be a mineral,
it has to have certain characteristics for it to be classified as a mineral.
Such as, minerals are solids and only solids. It also must be formed
naturally on Earth. A mineral must also be inorganic, meaning it does not
involve either organic life or the products of inorganic life. All minerals
are crystals, which means they have a repeating inner structure and also have
a crystalline structure. Minerals can range in uses from being changed to
table salt to assist in major construction. Many other minerals are also
valued for their rarity such as diamonds and gold. The mineral I have chosen
for this project is called Iron Pyrite.
Iron Pyrite: N., a common mineral (iron disulfide) that has a pale yellow
Pyrite gets its name from the Greek word "Pyr", meaning fire, as it produces sparks when struck with a piece of steal. Pyrite, which is also known as iron sulfide, is one of the most common minerals located on this planet. It is
many times referred to as "Fools Gold" due to its close resemblance to the
actual mineral. However, Pyrite is harder than gold and looses its glitter
very quickly when exposed to the air.
Location: Pyrite is found in many places around the world with large mineral
deposits in Italy, France, Spain (famous here for its beautiful single cubes
of pyrite), Peru, Bolivia, Mexico, Romania, Sweden, Norway, Germany, Japan,
and in the North American states of Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Illinois, and
History: Pyrite has been used for ornamental pieces and in much jewelry for
thousands of years. Examples of this can be seen from the ancient
civilizations of the Greeks, Romans and Incas. The Incas in South America had
used large, polished slabs of the mineral as magnificent mirrors. The North
American Indians also used Pyrite as amulets. The ancient Chinese symbol, a
golden cube, is also said to be derived from Pyrite's natural cube shape.
Chemical Composition: Pyrite is made up of the elements of Iron and Sulfur,
shown in its chemical structure: FeS2
Iron = Fe
Sulfur = S
Color: A mineral's color is one of many ways to help identify what that
mineral is. To determine a mineral's color, all you have to do is match the
unknown mineral color to that of a known mineral. However, this proves to be
an inaccurate way to identify minerals due to the fact that a certain
mineral's color can change over time. Pyrites color is mostly a bright brassy
Luster: Its luster, which is how the light reflects on its surface, is
metallic, meaning it is very shiny. The other categories of luster are
Submetallic, which is one step below metallic, and Nonmetallic, which is a step below Submetallic.
Transparency: Transparency or translucence is an object's ability to be
totally clear like glass or duller. Pyrite's crystals are opaque; meaning
it is neither transparent nor translucent.
Crystal Habits: Crystal habits are the many different kinds of shapes Pyrite
naturally takes when it forms. Some examples of its natural formations are
cubes and octahedrons. The picture below is a polyhedron view of Pyrite's crystal structure.
Cleavage: Cleavage is defined as how a mineral breaks. If the mineral breaks
along straight lines then it has cleavage. If the mineral breaks with jagged,
non-straight edges, then it has fracture. Pyrite's cleavage is very
indistinct which means is not clearly or sharply faint.
Fracture: Pyrites fracture is conchoidal, which means relating to being a
surface characterized by smooth, shell-like convexities (curves bulging
outward), and concavities (the state of being curved like the inside surface
of a sphere). Basically its break edges are curved.
Hardness: A mineral's Hardness can be determined by using the Moh's Hardness Scale. Moh's Hardness scale was created by a man named Friedrich Moh, a German mineralogist, in 1822. There is already a created scale listing 10
minerals. Diamond is in the number ten spot, being the hardest, and the one spot is Talc, being the weakest. What you would do is take let's say diamond
and scratch the unknown mineral with it. If the unknown mineral is scratched,
then it is weaker then Diamond. Then you would step down to the 9th strongest
mineral and repeat. You would continue this until you find a mineral that
does not scratch the unknown. Then the unknown mineral would be somewhere
within that section of the list. Pyrite's hardness is 6-6.5.
Streak: A mineral's streak is another way that you can determine a mineral's
identity. To perform the Streak Test you must have your unknown mineral and a
piece of unglazed porcelain. You then rub the mineral against the tile to
find its powder color. This test proves to be a more accurate way of
identifying minerals due to the fact that a mineral's streak never changes.
Pyrite's streak is greenish black.
Scratch: The scratch test is also another common way to identify minerals.
The scratch test is somewhat like the streak test except you do not use an
unglazed piece of porcelain. You would take the unknown mineral and scratch
it with a variety of different things such as fingernails, regular nails,
knives, pennies or other minerals. If the scratch object scratches the
unknown mineral then it is stronger than that mineral.
Best Field Indicators: This section indicates which methods are the best ways
to identify Pyrite. These methods include the minerals crystal habits, its
hardness, streak, luster, and brittleness.
Density: Density is defined as the ratio of an objects mass to its volume and
is usually measured in the form of grams per cubic centimeter or milliliters. A common
reference point is water due to the fact that it has a density of 1 gram per
cubic centimeter. To get density of an object you must first get its mass, by
either using a triple beam balance or other tool, and volume, by finding a
graduated cylinder, filling it with water to a specific point, and dropping
the item in. How many milliliters the water level rises, that is the volume
of the item. Then you divide the mass by the volume, which equals the
density. The density of Pyrite is 5-5.02, but on average is 5.01.
In closing I would like to explain Pyrite's metaphysical properties. The word metaphysical refers to the spiritual realm rather than the physical realm. An example of this would be the belief that a four-leaf clover gives good luck to the finder.
For instance, Pyrite has been used to foster intelligence, promote mental
stability, logic and analytical ability. It has also been said to encourage
cleverness and creativity. Possessing the stone is said to encourage
communication between the conscious and subconscious mind. Pyrite has also
been used to promote psychic development, improve memory, practicality,
optimism and strength of will. It has been used to aid in channeling
abilities, learning and perception.
Pyrite helps one match frequencies with others of higher or lower frequencies, and can help bring members of one's support circle into ones
life and makes it easier to feel comfortable with them. It can automatically
ease the process of relating most effectively with the friends and associates
in each lifetime.
Pyrite also possesses a reflective quality that will shield one from many
forms of negative energy. Having a piece of the mineral brings protection to
the physical, etheric, and emotional bodies. It can help to keep out
pollutants by creating an energy field. It can act as a protector when
performing dangerous work.
Thus ends my extensive presentation of all the information I posses on the
mineral known as Pyrite. I hope that, when reading through this, you learn as
much as I did about this mineral as I was researching it.