I love marcasite jewelry jewelry! Mostly set in sterling silver, the little spikes glitter like gems. Are you the owner of any Marcasite Jewelry? Ever wonder what Marcasites are? You may be surprised to learn that most Marcasite jewelry is not made from Marcasites!
Marcasite or Pyrite?
Marcasite is an interesting mineral that has been confused with other types of minerals for generations. Marcasite, which is sometimes called white pyrite or white iron pyrite is created from iron sulfide. Its chemical make up is FES2. Marcasite is closely associated with Pyrite, but most likely those that think they are buying Marcasite are actually buying pyrite.
This problem arises from the unique chemical make up of each. Marcasite includes the exact same chemicals as Pyrite, except they are arranged differently which makes their inherent qualities different. Marcasite for instance, will be extremely brittle and will crumble quite easily. It is also sometimes recognized by being lighter than pyrite.
Marcasite is usually yellowish or has a brassy look to it. It can sometimes include the color of green.
Marcasite or Pyrite Jewelry?
Marcasite jewelry is mostly pyrite but not all pyrite is marcasite nor is all marcasite pyrite. Got it? (Try saying that sentence five times fast!)
Marcasite jewelry (made from Pyrite) is widely produced and worn. Pyrite has a very similar color and luster to gold, even when tarnished, which makes it great for producing inexpensive costume jewelry that looks expensive and luxurious.
The jewelry is then labeled marcasite—not the mineral, just a classification for the jewelry. Still confused? Don’t worry, it is confusing. Just remember that marcasite is the name for both a mineral and the type of costume jewelry made with pyrite.
Why do we misuse the term marcasite?
Misuse of the term marcasite, when in fact the jewelry is made of pyrite, not marcasite, stems from the similarities between marcasite and pyrite. Essentially, they are the same mineral and would look and act exactly the same, if their molecules crystalized in the same way. We misuse the term simply because it has been misused for so long. When looking for marcasite jewelry, just know that it is most likely made from pyrite, despite bearing the name of a different material!