Rainbow Pyrite Gemstone Information
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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.
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 Gemological Properties: Back to Top
Please refer to our Gemstone Glossary for details of gemology-related terms.
Rainbow Pyrite: Related or Similar Gemstones Back to Top
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.
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
Rainbow 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: November-08-2018
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