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What is Fools Gold?

Updated: Apr 25, 2021

You may have heard this phrase or even seen this advertised in the form of small stones at a museum gift shop or at a local holistic store. It typically has a shiny metallic hue that is eye-catching, and can attract attention easily.

Although small amounts of Pyrite can be affordable to buy, larger quantities can be quite costly.

So what exactly is it?

Fool’s gold is the nickname of a mineral called Pyrite. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica The name pyrite originates from the Greek word pyr, which means fire.

Pyrite is a sulfide mineral that can be found in coal, and consists of iron and sulfur. It also contains a trace amount of real gold. The monetary value of Pyrite is still up for debate, but the deciding factor on how much a piece of it will cost depends on how much gold is inside each piece.

According to, gemologists say it’s common to find gold in pyrite because both metals are usually formed underground in the same conditions, and it’s this small amount of gold that scientists say is responsible for the yellowish-metallic color of the pyrite itself.

Pyrite can also be formed in molten rock, and in the deposits of sedimentary rocks, like limestone and shale.

At the time of this writing, gold sells for $1500 an ounce.

Additionally, they presume that if a ton of pyrite is mined, and the average amount of gold in the ore is .25%, then they estimate that based on the current market value of gold, that one ton of pyrite would be worth more than $100,000.

In the 16th and 17th Century, Pyrite was used as a source of ignition for fire arms. It was also used by many indigenous populations to help start fires. Today it is used as the primary source in commercially produced sulfur dioxide.

While Pyrite is a practical mineral. Many believe Pyrite also has the capacity to ward off negative energy, is capable of transcending the physical and emotional boundaries of the material world, as well as enhancing memory and intellect. According to Blog of Light, Pyrite can stimulate creativity, optimism, and overall health.

Some gemstones, such as the Lapis Lazuli, are known to contain flecks of pyrite.

It’s important to note that environmentalists consider pyrite to be harmful to the environment. This is because when coal burns, pyrite is oxidized and then arsenic is released into the atmosphere, which is dangerous for both the human respiratory system and the Earth’s ozone layer.

According to the largest producers of Pyrite are China, Italy, Russia, and Peru. CIEC reports that in Feb 2021 China exported more than 1,168.906 tons of unroasted iron Pyrite, and averages a monthly exporting total of 1,367.878 tons.

Pyrite is a mineral that has all sorts of uses, both practical and aesthetic. There are even some makers that design and craft jewelry out of this mineral.

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