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: Rainbow Pyrite Info

Rainbow Pyrite Gemstone Information

About Rainbow Pyrite - History and Introduction

Rainbow pyrite is the trade name for an iridescent form of 'pyrite druzy'. Druzy is a term used to describe gemstones in the form of encrustations or clusters of minute crystals coating a matrix. Druzy gemstones are actually relatively rare, especially in non-quartz species. Rainbow pyrite is a relatively recent discovery and so far, it has only been found in one location in the world - Russia. Rainbow pyrite is famed for its rainbow-like iridescence, caused by differential refraction and diffraction of light. Top quality materials can shimmer with all colors of the rainbow, including gold, green, pink and blue.

Pyrite is an opaque iron sulphide which usually occurs in a bright brassy yellow color and a strong, metallic luster. It earned itself the well-known nickname of "fool's gold" due to its striking similarities to actual gold. Pyrite is also sometimes known as 'iron pyrite' because of its high iron content, though it is not used as an industrial source of iron. The name pyrite is derived from 'pyr', the Greek word for 'fire', as it is known to produce sparks when struck by steel or flint. Only pyrite that exhibits iridescence is traded as rainbow pyrite.

Rainbow Pyrite Druzy
Rainbow Pyrite
Identifying Rainbow Pyrite Back to Top

Rainbow pyrite is composed of iron sulfide and can normally be identified by its metallic luster alone. Very few gems have a metallic luster. Pyrite forms with a cubic structure and has a hardness of 6 to 6.5 on the Mohs scale. Pyrite is also exceptionally dense, with a specific gravity of 5.0 to 5.20. Only hematite has a higher density than pyrite. Pyrite can sometimes be mistaken for gold, but pyrite is actually much lighter and much tougher than the precious metal, gold.

Rainbow Pyrite; Origin and Sources Back to Top

Although pyrite occurrences can be found in many localities around the world, including Peru, Germany, Bolivia, Mexico, Spain, Sweden, South Africa, Romania and the USA (Colorado), iridescent rainbow pyrite has thus far been found in only one location - near Ulianovsk, Russia, on the Volga River.

Buying Rainbow Pyrite and Determining Value Back to Top

Rainbow Pyrite Color

Rainbow pyrite displays a shimmering rainbow of colors, including shades of gold, green, pink and blue. Pyrite crystals are normally pale-yellow, brass-yellow or gray-yellow in color, and are often tarnished with brown color owing to iron oxide. With rainbow pyrite, quality is not determined just by color, but also by the size and evenness of crystal coverage.

Rainbow Pyrite Clarity and Luster

Rainbow pyrite is an opaque gemstone, which exhibits the strongest and most reflective luster; metallic. Its surface is similar to polished metal.

Rainbow Pyrite Cut and Shape

Rainbow pyrite is typically plain-cut into freeform shapes. It can also be found in more conventional jewelry shapes such as round, oval, pear and cushion shapes. It is considered normal for druzy stones to have jagged and rough edges as well as unpolished and uneven bottoms.

Rainbow Pyrite Treatment

Rainbow pyrite is not known to be treated or enhanced in any way.

Rainbow Pyrite Gemological Properties: Back to Top
Chemical Formula: FeS2; Iron sulphide
Crystal Structure: (Cubic) pentagonal dodecahedra, octahedral
Color: Brass-yellow, gray-yellow, iridescent
Hardness: 6 to 6.5 on the Mohs scale
Refractive Index: Undetermined
Density: 5.00 to 5.20
Cleavage: Indistinct
Transparency: Opaque
Double Refraction or Birefringence: None
Luster: Metallic shiny
Fluorescence: None

Please refer to our Gemstone Glossary for details of gemology-related terms.

Rainbow Pyrite: Related or Similar Gemstones Back to Top
Azurite Druzy
Azurite Druzy

Rainbow pyrite is one of the many types of druzy gemstones. By far, the most common druzies are quartz varieties, such as agate and amethyst druzy. Other rarer varieties of druzy, include (but are not limited to) garnet druzy, rainbow hematite druzy, chrysocolla druzy, calcite druzy, and azurite druzy. The term druzy may be spelled several different ways, including druse, drusy or drusie. However, all of these gem terms refer to the same type of fine crystal encrusted druzy gemstones.

In addition to other types of druzy, pyrite is closely related to marcasite. In fact, it is a polymorph of marcasite. However, marcasite is unsuitable for jewelry. In most cases, gemstones sold as 'marcasite' are very likely pyrite.

Rainbow Pyrite Mythology, Metaphysical and Crystal Healing Properties Back to Top

Rainbow pyrite is known as a stone of manifestation. In early times, pyrite was polished and used as mirrors by the Native Americans. Rainbow pyrite may be used as a protective stone and is ideal for wearing as a talisman or amulet. It is believed that rainbow pyrite can promote psychic development. It is a crystal of positivity and is thought to help reduce anxiety and frustration. It best used to balance and stimulate energies of the third chakra (solar plexus). Physically, pyrite has been used to help with common colds and other infectious diseases.

Disclaimer: Metaphysical and Alternative Crystal Healing Powers and Properties are not to be taken as confirmed advice. Traditional, Ceremonial and Mythological Gemstone Lore is collected from various resources and does not represent the sole opinion of SETT Co., Ltd. This information is not to replace the advice of your doctor. Should you have any medical conditions, please see a licensed medical practitioner. GemSelect does not guarantee any claims or statements of healing or astrological birthstone powers and cannot be held liable under any circumstances.
Rainbow Pyrite Gemstone and Jewelry Design Ideas Back to Top

Historically, pyrite has been widely used in jewelry, but it is not often seen today. Pyrite is hard and durable enough for most jewelry use, but rainbow pyrite is slightly delicate owing to its encrusted formation. Druzy gemstones, including rainbow pyrite have become quite familiar and popular for many jewelry designers and consumers. Druzy jewelry provides a unique look, like that of sparkling sugar and snow. Rainbow pyrite is most popular for use in pendants, but rings, earrings and brooches are also very popular.

Note: Buy colored gemstones by size and not by carat weight. Colored stones vary in size-to-weight ratio. Some stones are larger and others are smaller than diamonds by weight in comparison.

Rainbow Pyrite Gemstone Jewelry Care and Cleaning Back to Top

How to clean your gemstonesRainbow pyrite druzy gemstones can be quite delicate, especially when compared to typical gemstones. The durability really depends on the nature of the crystals and how well they are embedded into their matrix. Pyrite crystals are relatively hard and durable, but any druzy will be more fragile than the crystal in pure form. In addition to taking precautions against scratches and fractures, owners must always be careful to prevent knocks and blows that can cause detachment of the crystals from the matrix.

Rainbow pyrite should only be cleaned using plain water and mild soap. Using a soft cloth may not be efficient when trying to clean small crevices. A soft brush, such as a toothbrush, can be used, but great care should be taken to ensure not too much pressure is applied. Do not use any harsh chemicals or cleaners to clean rainbow pyrite and rinse only with room temperature water.

  • First Published: May-09-2014
  • Last Updated: May-29-2014
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