Pyrite is famous for its color as some people think it is gold when they discover it during mining.
Pyrite has many industrial applications.
It is hard to make jewelry from Pyrite due to its brittle crystal structure.
We have compiled a guide to help you learn how to tell if Pyrite is real or fake.
You can become more confident when you learn about its identification.
How to Tell if Pyrite is Real or Fake?
The best way to tell if pyrite is real is to check the odor. Rub the pyrite with your hand or other hard objects. If the pyrite is real, you will notice a sulfurous smell (like rotten eggs).
Pyrite is the sulfide form of iron. You may find different types of sulfides on the earth’s surface because it is one of the abundant minerals.
Some sellers may fill the pyrite into other crystals or sell them as gold.
Some people also called it the fool’s gold.
Sellers scammed people by telling them they were selling gold at a low rate.
They give them pyrite instead of gold.
You can avoid getting scammed when you know how to tell if Pyrite is real or fake.
You can start the identification by performing a hardness test.
Odor and crystal density can also provide some hints.
Streak test and place of origin information are also crucial for crystal identification.
1. To Tell if Pyrite is Real or Fake, Perform the Scratch Test
Hardness can reveal the crystal identity if you combine this test with physical feature identification.
Pyrite crystal has a hardness score of 6 to 6.5 on the Moh hardness scale.
You can test the hardness level by doing the scratch test on a glass.
You can scratch the glass easily when you have pyrite crystals with sharp edges.
The glass or knife should not scratch the pyrite as they have a low hardness score.
Knives usually have a hardness score of 5 on the Moh hardness scale.
Only the materials with a higher hardness score can scratch the pyrite surface.
Quartz crystals have a hardness score of 7.
Diamond has the highest hardness score of 10.
You can use these materials to scratch the pyrite.
It is best to distinguish the glass material from the pyrite crystals.
2. Тo Tell if Pyrite is Real or Fake, Perform the Streak Test
The streak test will distinguish the pyrite from glass and marcasite.
You need porcelain tile for this test.
The porcelain tile is also known as the Streak Plate by some gemologists.
You can also buy this plate from the stone stores.
You can place the tile on the flat surface and take some crystals for the test.
You can perform this test with ease because the pyrite crystals are brittle.
You can use a hammer to convert a small piece of crystal into powder.
This powder will give a greenish-black streak on the tile.
You can also rub the crystal on the tile to get the greenish-black streak.
Some stones can make a white or gray streak when you rub them on the porcelain tile.
These stones do not consist of pyrite minerals.
Marcasite produces a white streak when you rub it on the porcelain tile.
Glass produces a transparent to white streak when you do the streak test.
3. To Tell if Pyrite is Real or Fake, Check Pyrite’s Coloration
Iron pyrite is the most abundant form of iron sulfide in nature.
Iron sulfide also exists in the form of Marcasite.
The color difference will give you confirmation about the crystal’s identity.
Iron pyrite has a shiny surface with a brass-like color.
If the pyrite comes in contact with radiation, it can tarnish the crystal color.
Oxidation can also affect the iron in the pyrite.
You will not see white color in the pyrite.
The case is different from the Marcasite.
Marcasite has lighter color.
It will have a brass-color shade with a white appearance.
Tarnishing is the most important identification feature of the Marcasite.
The mineral surface will tarnish and turn black when you have the Marcasite.
It will take longer to tarnish the surface of the pyrite as it resists air damage.
The tarnish surface will give a different color in the Pyrite and Marcasite.
When the pyrite surface tarnishes, it will turn green-black.
The Marcasite surface will turn gray when it tarnishes.
3. To Tell if Pyrite is Real or Fake, Check Pyrite’s Structure
Pyrite has a different crystal structure than gold or Marcasite.
You can check the crystal structure if you are confused about something you found recently.
Crystal structure will reveal the identity of the pyrite crystals.
You can learn about the crystal structures when you want to confirm the stone’s identity.
- You can find the gold in the form of small flakes or nuggets. Pyrite occurs in the form of crystals. These are isometric crystals with cubic shapes.
- Pyrite occurs in nature in the form of boxes. The boxes form a structure of pyritohedron. The box has 12 sides in the crystal. It is easy to distinguish it from the other minerals.
- You can find the Marcasite in the form of round crystals. These crystals are known as Cockscomb. You can tell the difference by looking at the crystals.
4. To Tell if Pyrite is Real or Fake, Check its Density
It is hard to measure the density of the crystal if you do not have the density measuring equipment.
The best way to estimate the crystal density is by picking the stone with your hand.
It will give you an estimate of the weight and size of the crystal.
Pyrite has a density value of 5.
It has five times the weight of the equal volume of water.
Some people confuse pyrite with copper.
You can distinguish between two materials by picking each in one hand.
Copper has a density value of 8.
It is eight times heavier than the equal volume of water.
Copper has more weight than pyrite.
You will feel the difference in weight when you have both materials in one place.
5. To Tell if Pyrite is Real or Fake, Check for its Specific Smell
The odor test is destructive.
It is better to perform it with caution.
Rubbing the pyrite with your hands or the other pyrite surface will produce the smell of rotting eggs.
It is the smell of the burning of sulfur compounds in the crystal.
Pyrite crystal will release some of its sulfide molecules to give the rotten egg smell.
6. To Tell if Pyrite is Real or Fake, Trace Pyrite’s Origin
You will get no benefit for asking about the place of origin with ordinary pyrite crystals.
Fine pyrite crystals can have a higher price due to their crystal beauty.
High-quality pyrite crystals can come from Colorado, Pennsylvania, Italy, England, Spain, and Germany.
If your seller tells you that he got the high-quality pyrite from India, you should perform other tests to confirm the crystal identity.
7. To Tell if Pyrite is Real or Fake, Check Pyrite’s Size
You can find the Pyrite in inexpensive artwork and jewelry.
Some types of pyrite stones can be expensive.
Pyrite sun is a stone with a peculiar shape.
You will see lines emerging from the center of the crystal to the edges.
It forms when a small central piece gathers pyrite material for a long time.
These stones form from the natural process. It does not involve any living organism.
Some thought that fossils change composition to form these crystals.
Experts do not believe it as it is due to radiating environment.
To Summarize: How to Tell if Pyrite is Real or Fake
There are many reasons to identify pyrite crystals.
You can do it with some tests or physical feature identification.
We have compiled some points to give you an overview of the pyrite identification process.
- Pyrite has a brass color with a shiny surface.
- You cannot scratch the pyrite crystal surface with the glass.
- It produces a rotten egg smell when you rub two pyrite surfaces.
- Pyrite exists in the form of box-like crystals in nature. Marcasite occurs in the form of round balls.
- Pyrite sun can sell for a higher price than ordinary pyrite crystals.
- Pyrite produces a green-black streak when you rub it on the porcelain tile. Marcasite gives a gray streak when you rub it.
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Last Updated on February 27, 2023 by Roger