Pyrite derives its name from the Greek word "pyr" meaning "fire," and was so called because it was found that sparks would fly from it if struck against another mineral, especially iron, giving early man one means of creating fire.
Also known as “Fool’s Gold,” this stone has a shiny metallic brassy yellow look and is often mistaken for gold.
Pyrite is actually a disulfide of iron and often crystallizes in cubes or as "pyritohedron", which are twelve faced pentagonal dodecahedral crystals, or octahedrons, nodules, and also occur as shapeless masses of tiny crystals and can even be found as flat discs. It is one of the most common forms of sulphide minerals.
Even though Pyrite is abundantly available and contains a high percentage of Iron, it is not used as a prime source for Iron (the primary iron ores being the Iron Oxides, Hematite and Magnetite), but it is mined as a source for sulphur to produce sulphuric acid, an important chemical used in industry. The Sulphur component of Pyrite was in high demand during world war two as a strategic chemical.
In earlier times, its sparking ability made it popular for use in early firearms devices such as the wheel lock.
It has been used in the jewellery industry for thousands of years, with specimens found in the ancient civilizations of the Greeks, Romans and the Incas. Jewellery made with Pyrite was extremely popular during the Victorian era in England. It is a polymorph of marcasite and is often used in costume jewellery.
Ancient South American cultures including the Mayans, Aztecs and Incas created scrying mirrors out of Pyrite by polishing one side flat and carving the rounded side with mystical symbols to assist in the scrying process. Cultures around the world carried Pyrite amulets for protection and magic. It was among the first healing stones to be used in a Shaman's bag. Native Americans believed that by peering into a piece of polished Pyrite they could look into one's very soul. Their Shamans used it as "a stone of power," and their medicine men used it in certain healing rituals. Pyrite has also been labelled the "Healer's Stone".
The French call it Pierre de Sante, meaning "stone of health" as they say it positively affects the body's health. The reflective qualities of Pyrite make it a wonderful meditation or divination tool.
These metallic crystals are often used to attract money and good fortune.
Pyrite increases physical stamina, stimulates the intellect and helps to transform thought into intelligent action. It is an excellent protective or shielding stone, as it removes negativity from the aura. Pyrite is believed to improve the balance and flow between right and left brain function, helping to transform the intuitive and creative (right brain) thought into logical and well-reasoned (left brain) action. It helps you concentrate.
Pyrite helps you communicate more openly and honestly. It provides both emotional and physical protection. If you are unsure or indecisive having a pyrite with you will help to boost your self confidence.
Containing both earth and fire energies it assists in balancing the root or base chakra. It is widely used to protect against infections and viral attacks. It balances hormonal rhythms, and eases the discomfort of menstruation. It is also useful in clearing up confusion regarding physical symptoms, generating a more accurate diagnosis. Pyrite will draw pain from the body, as well as assist in easing symptoms of depression. It is also said to help in reducing swelling or reducing fevers when used directly on the physical body. It is useful in the treatment of bronchitis and lung disorders.