Natural Crystals and Specimen

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      Pyrite, a naturally occurring mineral composed of iron disulfide, derives its name from the Greek word "pyr," meaning "fire," due to its ability to emit sparks when struck by metal. Often dubbed fool's gold, its deceptive resemblance to the color of gold nuggets can mislead the inexperienced observer. Pyrite nodules discovered in prehistoric burial mounds hint at their historical use in fire production. Wheel-lock guns utilized pyrite before the advent of the flintlock, employing a spring-driven serrated wheel against a piece of pyrite.

      Large deposits of pyrite are found in contact metamorphic rocks, with copper-bearing pyrite widely distributed and often of significant size. These deposits typically occur in or near the contact of eruptive rocks with schists or slates. Pyrite weathers rapidly to hydrated iron oxide, resulting in a characteristic yellow-brown stain or coating, especially on rusty quartz.

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