The mineral pyrite, or iron pyrite, also known as fool's gold, is an iron sulfide with the chemical formula FeS2 (iron(II) disulfide). Pyrite is considered the most common of the sulfide minerals. Pyrite can form in extremely well-crystallized examples of cubes, pyritohedrons, and octahedrons. Combinations of these forms also occur. These cubic like shapes that the mineral is really famous for.
In the old mining days, Pyrite was sometimes mistaken for Gold, as they frequently occur together and Pyrite's metallic luster and pale brass-yellow hue give it a superficial resemblance to gold, , although Gold and Pyrite can very easily be distinguished. The color has also led to the nicknames Fools Gold , brass, brazzle, and Brazil, primarily used to refer to pyrite found in coal. The name pyrite is derived from the Greek πυρίτης (pyritēs), "of fire" or "in fire",in turn from πύρ (pyr), "fire". In ancient Roman times, this name was applied to several types of stone that would create sparks when struck against steel.
Pyrite has the same chemical formula as the rarer mineral Marcasite, but it crystallizes in a different crystal system, thereby classifying it as a separate mineral species. Aggregates of iron sulfide (FeS2) where the crystal structure cannot be determined without complex analyzing material may be wrongly labeled by dealers.
Pyrite was polished by the Native Americans in the early times and used as mirrors.
Pyrite remains in commercial use for the production of sulfur dioxide, for use in such applications as the paper industry, and in the manufacture of sulfuric acid.
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