Interesting facts about fools gold

Pyrite or gold blende is the most abundant sulfide in nature. Iron sulfide of a bright yellow golden color is similar in color to gold, for which it received the name "fool's gold".

This is how pyrite was christened at the time of the conquistadors. The Spanish conquerors mercilessly killed and plundered Indians for the sake of a large number of pyrite products, adjacent to gold jewelry. The mineral was revered by the indigenous people no worse than gold, and was considered a "sacred stone". The Spaniards, who believed that this was gold, were taken home to Europe as booty. Of course, educated people laughed at the knights who sailed from a distant journey with whole holds of ships of cheap mineral.

Pyrite was also confused with gold during the Alaska Gold Rush. Pyrite always accompanies gold. This is well described by Jack London. However, then educated people also became gold miners, so there were an order of magnitude less tragedies.

Pyrite began to be called pyrite in the Middle Ages. Miners called this the sulfides of copper, iron, arsenic and other chemical elements, which have a bright metallic luster. At this time, the mineral was widely popular in Europe under the name "Almaz Alpine". The fashion for pyrite jewelry was especially widespread in France. They were adorned with shoe buckles, garters, bracelets, watch cases and even sun umbrellas. But the decorations quickly darkened, and in a humid environment, oxidation of pyrite led to the formation of a brown, loose mineral limonite - what we call "rust" in everyday life.

Pyrite from Greek means "stone that carves fire", which is associated with the property of pyrite to give sparks upon impact. Due to this property, it was used in the locks of flintlock guns and pistols as flint (steel-pyrite pair).

Today, pyrite is used for industrial purposes, and only a small part of it ends up in the hands of jewelers. Sulfuric acid and sulfur, iron vitriol are extracted from it. It is used for the production of concrete.

Unfortunately, the "lifespan" of pyrite is short. Under normal conditions, it disintegrates in a few years. It decomposes under the influence of atmospheric oxygen into iron oxide - rust - and an unpleasant-smelling sulfur dioxide gas, and if there is also water, then into corrosive sulfuric acid. Collectors suffer the most from this, since many fossils contain a significant proportion of pyrite, and it is impossible to restore it once the decomposition process begins. Some store it in a vacuum display case (which is already expensive). The rest are looking for their own ways - they are boiled in paraffin or rosin, soaked in vegetable oil, and varnished. Guaranteed, except for storage in a vacuum display case, has not yet been found.

By the way, it is not difficult to distinguish pyrite from gold. You just need to lightly press something on the surface. Gold is soft, it sells (for this purpose, it was previously tried on the tooth). Even glass can be scratched with pyrite.