Iron pyrite is a fascinating natural mineral which occurs in cubes, clusters and nuggets. It exhibits a metallic lustre and brassy yellow hue which has led to it frequently being mistaken for gold. Although the two do indeed have a very similar appearance, the mineral iron pyrite is not quite as heavy as gold and its colour is not quite as yellow. The nickname fool's gold came about during the American gold rush of the early 19th century when prospetors mistook small amounts of pyrite for gold.
This eye-catching mineral occurs worldwide in small quantities within sedimentary, igneous and metamorphic rocks and is particularly popular with children who are fascinated by its similarity to gold. The Rio Tinto mines of Spain produce vast quantities of iron pyrite but Bolivia, Brazil, Peru, Japan, Canada, Italy, Norway, Portugal, Greece and Slovakia have also been known to produce some very fine specimens.
Although iron pyrite is relatively hard and grades 6 to 6½ on Mohs scale of mineral hardness, it's also very brittle so will chip easily or even shatter if knocked or dropped.
Weight (grams): 272.2
Size (cms): 6.7 x 4 x 4.4