What is marcasite?
Marcasite is a genuine gemstone cut from the natural mineral 'iron pyrite'. Because of its individual metallic sheen and elegant sparkling finish, marcasite is very popular in jewelry.
What is the difference between the materials 'marcasite' and 'pyrite'?
Marcasite and pyrite are similar minerals found in nature, and are both composed from iron sulfide. Despite their apparent similarities there are some important differences, which determine why the one can be used to cut gemstones and the other cannot. A mineral is defined both by its chemical composition and its crystal structure. In some cases two different minerals have the same chemical composition but different crystal structures, resulting in different physical properties. Pyrite, with its cubic structure, has a metallic luster and a yellow-gold color that has earned it the nickname 'fool's gold'. With a hardness of 6 - 6.5 on the Mohs scale, pyrite is hard enough to be used in jewelry. Marcasite tends to be lighter in color, with an occasional greenish tint or a multi-colored tarnish, that is the result of oxidation. Marcasite has an unstable crystal structure and is prone to crumbling and breakage. For these reasons the mineral marcasite is unsuitable for jewelry.
Why is the cut gemstone called 'marcasite' if the mineral is called 'pyrite'?
Until 1845, the distinction between marcasite and pyrite was not investigated and both materials were called 'marcasite'. One can only suppose that this is the reason why the term is still used for the jewelry stone today, even though it is now clear that the raw material used to cut marcasite is 'pyrite'.
What is the origin of marcasite/pyrite?
Pyrite is found in many parts of the world, but only a small fraction of it is suitable for cutting and can therefore be used to create marcasite jewelry.
What is the meaning of marcasite?
The word 'marcasite' originates from the Arab term for 'fire'. The word 'pyrite' comes from the Greek term 'pyros', which also means 'fire'. In fact, the mineral creates sparks when struck against steel and is renowned for its shimmering reflection and fiery brilliance. Marcasite has been used as a personal adornment since ancient times. In the past, people believed that it had the power to stimulate positive energy and protect from negative influences, to improve a person’s communication abilities, and to protect those who performed dangerous jobs. During the reign of Louis 14th of France, only the King was allowed to wear genuine diamonds. Marcasite became very popular in the region as a diamond imitation, and was worn by high society and also by women at court. During queen Victoria’s reign in the 19th century, marcasite jewelry was cherished in the UK both for its elegance, and for its ability to be combined with pearls. It quickly gained in popularity and soon reached a wide audience.
What makes Swarovski Marcasite so special?
At Swarovski, we take only the finest quality rough gemstones and shape them to perfection with our precision cutting techniques. Thanks to Swarovski’s exceptional expertise and innovative technology, our precision-cutting techniques bring out the best natural qualities from every single stone. Our polishing techniques give each gemstone an elusive, metallic sheen and a characteristic sparkle. The mirror-like surface and shimmering finish of Swarovski Marcasite make jewelry elegant, fascinating and precious.