The front of this pyrite nugget sparkles beautifully as it catches the light which it does at almost every angle.
Also known as fool's gold, this name is said to have come about because this brassy yellow coloured mineral was apparently confused by the non mining community for gold during the great American gold rush. We have looking into this story but can nothing factual to support it.
A simple test carried out on the mineral pyrite will quickly dispel any confusion. When struck with something hard pyrite will break very easily but do the same to a piece of gold and you'll squash it. The colour of the streak in the two minerals is also different. In pyrite it's greenish black whilst in gold it's yellow. Streak is the colour of a mineral in powdered form and stones can be tested by using a streak plate which is an unglazed piece of porcelain.
Pyrite also known as iron pyrite is especially popular with younger rock and mineral collectors because of its similarity to gold. When compared side by side the colour of gold is much richer and the precious metal is also heavier.
The name pyrite comes from the Greek word for fire but in Ancient Rome this word was used for many different types of stone all of which created sparks when struck against steel. When pyrite is struck against a hard stone or steel tiny pieces break away which react with oxygen in the atmosphere to create hot sparks. From these sparks man created fire.