The name Pyrite comes from the Greek word "pyr" meaning "fire," and was named such because it was found that sparks would fly from it if struck against another mineral (best if Iron or Steel). In early times, this sparking ability gave man one way of creating fire; in later times, this ability made it popular for use in early firearms devices such as the wheel lock.
Pyrite is sometimes a bit sad that this beautiful and fascination mineral has a nickname like "Fool's Gold" because it has a history of being mistaken for gold. As it does resemble gold in it's physical appearance, that is where the similarities end. Ironically, Gold is often found adjacent to Pyrite deposits, and the only thing foolish about finding "Fool's Gold" would be in not searching a bit farther.
Having the same chemical makeup as Marcasite but with different structure, symmetry and shape, Pyrite is thus a polymorph of Marcasite and it can be extremely difficult to distinguish between the two. The name Marcasite is derived from the Arabic word for Pyrite. The confusion between the two minerals is amplified as the jewelry trade uses the trade name of Marcasite when in reality what they are selling is Pyrite. True Marcasite cannot be used in jewelry as it has an even higher tendency than Pyrite to crumble into a powder.
Pyrite also closely resembles Galena, but Galena has a higher symmetry. Another mineral, Bravoite, is very closely related to Pyrite too, but contains 20% more nickel, although some go so far as to list it a variety of Pyrite.
Pyrite can not be bent or shaped like gold, it is much too brittle. Striking it with steel can even cause the sulfur in it to spark.
Pyrite is actually disulfide of iron, and the metallic crystal grows in cubes, nodules, masses of tiny crystals, and can even be found as flat discs.
Pyrite enjoyed brief popularity in the 16th and 17th centuries as a source of ignition in early firearms, most notably the wheellock, where the cock held a lump of pyrite against a circular file to strike the sparks needed to fire the gun.
Pyrite was very often used for scrying. The Mayans, Aztecs and Incas, at one time, all were known to polish large slabs of Pyrite to a mirror-like finish which they used for this very purpose. Native Americans believed they could look into one's very soul when peering into a polished piece of Pyrite. Their shamans used it as "a stone of power," and their medicine men used it in certain healing rituals. Pyrite has also been labeled the "Healer's Stone".
The ancient Chinese viewed the earth as a golden cube, a vision well emulated by Pyrite. They also believed that Pyrite would guard against crocodile attacks.
These Pyrite crystals are often used to attract money and good fortune. It is also widely used to protect against infections and viral attacks, and to help one attain a more ideal state of health.
An interesting parallel...Edgar Cayce, commonly known as "The Sleeping Prophet", recommended that "to carry a piece of Carbon Steel in one's pocket (preferably a groin pocket) would inhibit one from catching a cold or infection". Carbon Steel is a mixture of Iron and Carbon, to which Pyrite is similar and claims the same health benefit.
The ancient Greeks used polished Pyrite in various types of jewelry and amulets. During the Victorian Age in England, jewelry made with Pyrite was extremely popular.
Astrological : Leo
Both earth and fire energies are captured within the pyrite stone; a perfect tool to assist in balancing (or activating) the root (1st) or base chakra.
Pyrite is one of the most grounding stones in use today. Conducting, Energizing, Increases Wealth. Used for focus, practicality, logic, memory, clearing fuzzy thinking/scatteredness etc. like Hematite.
Pyrite enhances intelligence, mental stability, logic, analysis, memory and psychic development. However, its major property of protection is shown by its naturally cubic form. This signature of containment translates to the human energy system as a shielding quality.
Pyrite helps one to communicate more openly and honestly, providing both emotional and physical protection. If you are indecisive, or unsure about something, carry a pyrite with you as a touchstone to help boost your self confidence.
The reflective qualities of the pyrite make it a wonderful meditation or divination tool just as the ancient Inca's used it.
Pyrite increases physical stamina, stimulates the intellect and helps to transform thought into intelligent action.
Pyrite is a wonderful stone for use in wealth magic or assisting in manifestation of needed energies. An excellent shield-stone, pyrite removes negativity from the aura to help one concentrate.
Strongly suggested for people who tackle large conceptual ideas in business, the arts, or education. Effective in attracting money to its owner. The stimulation of the mind can be enhanced by using pyrite in conjunction with Fluorite and Calcite.
Pyrite is said to balance hormonal rhythms, and to ease the discomfort of menstruation. It is also useful in clearing up confusion of one's physical symptoms so as to generate a more accurate diagnosis.
Pyrite "suns" draw pain from the body, as well as assist in easing depression symptoms. It is also said to help in reducing swelling or reducing fevers when used directly on the physical body.
Beneficial to the respiratory and circulatory systems. Connected to the transfer of oxygen from the lungs to the bloodstream. Helps the skin protect itself from the elements, and also aids the digestive tract, lessening irritation by ingested toxins.
Pyrite can be used in the treatment of bones and in the healing of cell formation. It treats lung disorders and bronchitis and has been used to reduce swelling and fevers. Pyrite aids in the treatment of infective disease, whilst also providing protection from the disease for the caregivers.
Please note : it is not a good idea to place pyrite directly on the skin because the iron sulphide compounds it contains can cause irritation. Rough Pyrite stones can leave a black deposit on the hands, which should be washed off.