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marcasites jewelry in silver or jewelry cleaner it will ruin the
just rub the top surface with my thumb just enough to shine the
surface. But not too much, to remove the patina from the
marcasites jewelry. Or I use a very little silver cleaner on a
soft cloth or a jewelry polishing cloth.
whose name is derived from the Arabic word for pyrite, is a common and
attractive mineral. The two minerals, marcasite and pyrite, are often confused
due to their similar characteristics. Marcasite is a polymorph of pyrite which
means that it has the same chemistry as pyrite but a different structure and,
therefore, different symmetry and crystal shapes. The marcasite/pyrite polymorph
pair is probably the most famous polymorph pair next to the diamond/graphite
pair. Adding to the confusion between marcasite and pyrite is the use of the
marcasite as a jewelry trade name. The term is applied to
small polished and faceted stones that are inlayed in sterling silver - even
though they are called marcasite, they are actually pyrite.
Marcasite is difficult to distinguish from pyrite
when a lack of distinctive crystal habits exists. In fact, many specimens have
been wrongly identified as pyrite or marcasite by even experienced mineral
collectors. For many years the iron sulfide "Suns" found in Illinois coal
mines were called "Marcasite Suns" (also known as " Marcasite
Dollars") until X ray studies showed them to be mostly pyrite. They have a
habit that looks like marcasite. The possibility that they were originally
marcasite and then later transformed into pyrite is being studied. Now they are
correctly called "Pyrite Suns", but the confusion still exists. Many
marcasite specimens are distinctive enough to reveal their true identity and
make interesting and beautiful display specimens.
The most famous habit for marcasite is its "cock's
comb" twinned habit. The crystals appear like a rooster's head crest, hence
the name. The habit is very distinctive and cannot be mistaken for any other
mineral. In recent years, these marcasite cut stones have been used in the
jewelry industry to give marcasite jewelry an antique look.