By: Scott Parker, G.G., D.C.A.
JTV Show Host
Breaking News: Have you heard about the new emerald find in Namibia? It is the largest uncut emerald in the world! In carats, it weighs twice that of its predecessor, the “Gachala Emerald” found in the Vega de San Juan mine in Columbia in 1967. The “Gachala Emerald” weighs 858 carats. The new emerald, named “The Dubwana”, meaning the monster in Swahili, weighs 1,782 carats and was found in the Getyamineright Mine in central Namibia last month! Ok………not really…………Happy April Fool’s Day!
It is true, however, that you cannot always believe what you read or sometimes, even what you see. This is especially true in gemology. For example, pyrite is a mineral that has been fooling people for centuries. Pyrite is really not gold, no foolin’! Pyrite is actually an iron sulfide that has a metallic luster and is further differentiated from gold by pyrite’s tougher, broken-faced grains. But, for the gemological novice, gold and pyrite look almost exactly the same.
I remember a television show that was very popular in the 1980’s and is still running today. In one particular episode, a young girl and her friend find glittering gold nuggets in a valley stream. They spend hours and hours pulling each piece out of the water and into bags to take to the local bank to “cash in” their dreams! I remember the look on their faces when the town banker gently told them that they had found pyrite iron and not gold. The little girl, broken hearted, asked if the iron was worth a great deal of money. The banker, pouring the pyrite onto the counter said, “No. Not this. But a whole lot of grown-ups have made the same mistake.” They went back to the stream and poured out all of their hard work and dreams.
Pyrite is not just found in placid streams. The next time you look at lapis lazuli, there may be flecks of gold winding through the lapis. That is Pyrite! In addition, marcasite and pyrite are linked together in jewelry. But this could fool you as well. Marcasite is actually unsuitable and brittle for jewelry. So what are the stones called Marcasite in your old pieces of jewelry? Pyrite. No foolin’!
At Jewelry Television, we are very careful with our information and we know that you count on us to bring you accurate and reliable updates on gemstones, gemology, and the jewelry industry. Our gemstones and jewelry are beautiful and they create dreams themselves. We actually have a few pyrite gemstones and rough available on JTV.com and I encourage you to add one to your collection. They are very reflective and interesting, and it is fun to compare pyrite to actual gold. So if you find some gold in a stream near you; beware! It is probably not gold; but…. it might be!….No Foolin’!