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Marcasite



Name:

There is some confusion over what should correctly be called Marcasite. Originally the name Marcasite was applied by mineralogists to an unstable form of iron sulphide crystallising in the rhombic system. The Marcasite found in jewellery is also iron sulphide, with the same chemical composition, but crystallising in the cubic system. Both forms are also called pyrites or iron pyrites.

Marcasite should be pronounced "markazeet", not "marquisite", and pyrites should be pronounced "pie-right-eeze", not "pie-rights".

Description:

The non-gem Marcasite is yellow and may exhibit some green tints. It may also have white or brown colorations. It is a relatively soft stone with a hardness of approximately 6-6.5 on the Moh’s Hardness scale. It forms into what are called coxcomb aggregates, where the crystals are separated into crystals that are similar in shape to the head of a top of a rooster’s head. Because of this special formation, Marcasite is prized in collections.

Marcasite is the name given the mineral iron sulphide, which is mined all over the world. However, most of the gem called Marcasite used in jewellery is actually iron pyrite, since genuine Marcasite often crumbles into dust and is thus too delicate to be used in jewellery. The composition of iron sulphide and iron pyrite are the same, however they crystallize differently. Iron pyrite is commonly referred to as fool's gold; because throughout history many gold miners believed they had struck it rich when encountering iron pyrite with bright, brassy streaks.

Holistic Properties:

Marcasite brings the energy of the Sun into the physical. It increases physical stamina, stimulates the intellect and helps to transform thought into intelligent action. It is a wonderful stone for use in wealth magic or in trying to manifest needed energies. An excellent shield-stone, Marcasite removes negativity from the aura.

Sourcing:

Marcasite occurs world-wide, and is easily found in the chalk near Dover, Folkestone, and the French side of the English Channel. Marcasite used to be cut in the Jura mountains of Switzerland or France, but nowadays is likely to be produced in lower labour cost countries.

History:

Marcasite jewellery has a history that stretches back hundreds and hundreds of years. Archaeologists have discovered examples of iron pyrite jewelry in Incan burial places in Peru, and ancient Greeks were also known to use it to adorn themselves. Marcasite was popular during the 18th century and was frequently seen in lockets, and brooches.

This gem was also favoured during the Victorian era and was widely used in that time period. After the death of her husband, Britain's Queen Victoria chose to wear the black clothing and jewellery symbolic of widowhood and continued to do so until her death decades later. Her subjects followed her lead, and sombre clothing and accessories in dark and muted shades were the fashion for many years. Iron pyrite's darker hues made it ideal for this type of jewellery, and its low price tag made it a favourite.