Marcasite – Colors, Sizes, and Shapes
Marcasite has been known to the world since the beginning of civilization. For instance, the Greeks used it as a talisman and the Chinese mined it quite frequently. Mayans and Aztecs also used the stone, which today is still used to create certain types of ornaments.
Polymorphs are very interesting; a polymorph of a mineral is when two minerals are made of exactly the same chemical compounds; however, they are arranged or structured differently. This structure might have a lot of similarities, but the two minerals are ultimately different. Other common polymorphs are diamonds and graphite.
Marcasite is a yellow or a yellow brassy mineral. It also comes in hues of green. It is usually lighter and softer than Pyrite, its polymorph. Marcasite is not really used for jewelry because it crumples easily and at certain times it can decay. It can literally turn into powder within a few years, while doing so it smells from sulfur. However, there are certain ornaments that are created from this mineral, many of which come from Native Americans. Marcasite can come in big chunks, but most are small rock-sized. One of the unique features of Marcasite is the cockscomb. It is created when Marcasite crystals are twinned. It truly does look like a rooster’s head.
How and Where is Marcasite Formed and Found?
Marcasite is an interesting mineral that is made from iron. Marcasite is closely associated with Pyrite and is considered a polymorph. Polymorph cans happen quite frequently in the world of minerals. For instance, both Marcasite and Pyrite have the exact same chemicals present, the only difference being is that Marcasite’s chemicals are structured differently.
Marcasite is found frequently near bands of irons and does have a crystal structure, which is opaque. Marcasite is commonly and incorrectly used to denote Pyrite, especially when mixed with silver. Marcasite has a beautiful yellow or yellow brass color and can sometimes come in the hue of green. While it has a hardness score of 6.5, it can crumble quite easily and certain Marcasite minerals tend to decay easily, turning into powder over the course of a few years.
One of the unique features of Marcasite is the twinning feature of its crystal formation. This twinning feature is sometimes called the Cox’s comb because it resembles a rooster’s head. This unique feature is only available on Marcasite.
Marcasite is lighter than Pyrite which is usually more golden and is found in many other minerals, most notably Lapis Lazuli.
Marcasite is fairly common and can be found in the following regions; Mexico, Peru, France, China, Russia, the United States, and England. It was known to the ancient Greeks, Chinese, and Mayans.
The Uses of Marcasite
Marcasite is an interesting mineral, due to the fact that its name is commonly used for a mineral that is similar in composition, but not the same. It should be noted that the name Marcasite is used quite frequently for the mineral Pyrite. It can come in the beautiful color of gold and is in many other semi-precious and precious stones such as Lapis Lazuli.
Marcasite is different than Pyrite; it is a little lighter in color and tends to look like a yellowish brass. It also can come in hues of light green. It should be noted that Marcasite is not used for jewelry per se, but can and are collected by gemstone and mineralogists. There are a few industrial uses such as chalks and a product in the creation of mirrors, but for the most part, Marcasite is not hard enough and it can in certain cases deteriorate. Marcasite is usually much more brittle than pyrite and will crumble very easily.
Some Marcasite stones can decay into dust within a few years. While scientists don’t know for sure why this happens, many theories that abound are that it is eaten by bacteria, that it comes into contact with humidity, etc.
Marcasite – The History and Origins
Marcasite is an interesting mineral that has been confused with other types of minerals for generations. Marcasite is usually yellowish or has a brassy look to it. It can sometimes include the color green. There is an interesting effect that can occur in Marcasite, it is called the Cox’s comb. It is a crystal twinned habit. This occurs when the crystals appear to form the head of a rooster; it is very distinctive and unique only to Marcasite.
While Marcasite has been known for thousands of years to the Greeks, Mayans, and Chinese, most mythology is associated with its Pyrite-type properties. For instance, Marcasite is seen as having a calming effect, as well as a healing effect. In fact, many cultures viewed Marcasite and its cousin Pyrite as a healing stone or to attract wealth or inspire creativity.