The Very Highest Quality Marcasite Information...

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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".

Marcasite is usually described is being a pale bronze colour, we think it looks rather greyish.

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

It seems strange that marcasite should have imitations, as it is inexpensive, but glass, steel and plastic have all been used as imitations.

Marcasite in Jewellery
Marcasite is frequently found in inexpensive silver jewellery and watches. It was fashionable and popular in Victorian and other times. Marcasite is susceptible to damage if knocked or dropped, but otherwise is quite suitable for jewellery use. It is often used to imitate diamonds. In better quality jewellery it is hand-set with grains or beads of metal from the setting being pushed over the edges of the stones, in cheaper jewellery it is sometimes glued into place, making it more susceptible to loss.

Technical Information
Chemical Composition and NameFeS2 - Iron Sulphide (or Iron Disulphide)
Hardness (Rhombic)6.0 - 6.5
Hardness (Cubic)6.5
Specific Gravity (Rhombic)4.8 to 4.95
Specific Gravity (Cubic)4.84 to 5.1
Crystalline SystemRhombic or Cubic the Lowest Possible Price

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