Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Learning About: Fool's Gold

No, not the awful Kate Hudson/ Matthew McConaughey film. Do you seriously think that little of me? Ugh. I am also not talking about The Stone Roses song, the manga or the very expensive sandwich popularized by Elvis Presley ("The Fool's Gold Loaf", consisting of a single loaf of hollowed out, warmed bread filled with one jar of creamy peanut butter, one jar of grape jelly, and a pound of bacon. The name of the sandwich is derived from its price of $49.95. In later years, it was priced closer to $100 for the sandwich and a bottle of Dom Pérignon.) (Recipe and pics)

Okay, let me just give you a second to swallow back the inevitable vomit.

So, no, by Fool's Gold aka Pyrite, I meant the lovely "fake" gold that for some reason, every little kid in my elementary school was obsessed with when I was young. I've noticed, as I've written this blog over the past months, that pyrite has been used more and more frequently to create really interesting jewelry. And, dude, it's totally got that American Museum of Natural History gem room cache.

Victorian Pyrite and 10 K Rose Gold Ring, $145

Gusterman Santa Fe Polished Pyrite and Sterling Ring, $195

The word Pyrite is derived from the Greek word puritēs meaning "of fire" or "on fire", which seems to have originated from the resultant sparks that occur when pyrite is struck against steel or flint. The spark made pyrite a very popular mineral in weapons early on. (Early firearms such as the wheel-lock. You'll have to click on the link to find out what a wheel-lock is. Sorry.)

Rafia Pyrite and 14K Necklace, $74

Barse Oval Polished Pyrite Necklace, $150

Interestingly, marcastite and pyrite are often confused due to their similar appearances and names (the word marcasite is actually Arabic for pyrite), but Wikipedia has informed me that one cannot use Marcasite in whole stone form as it tends to crumble into a powder. Fool's Gold is generally formed as a grouping of overlapping cubes, which, in my opinion, makes it more interesting in jewelry use. Almost sculptural.

Kit's Jewelry Pyrite Dangle Earrings, $200

Pyrite also was one of the leading sources of sulfur in the world, so obviously, don't get a pyrite ring if you're allergic to sulfur. As far as I can recall though, the mineral doesn't have the rotten egg smell often associated with sulfur. To read more about it's composition and structure, go here.

Kris Nations "Rough Cut" Pyrite Ring, $50

Of course, what kind of "Learning About..." would this be if we didn't review the spiritual properties of pyrite? It's apparently an excellent protection stone that is useful against many different negative energies. Angel's Esoterica notes, "When worn or carried, it provides a shield around you. It helps keep out the negative vibrations of physical pollutants because of the auric shield it sets up and is very good for people who do dangerous work. Pyrite's energy keeps your physical, intellect, and emotional bodies in a state of well being; functioning at their best. It enhances memory and recall. It allows you to see the motives, etc. behind the actions of others. "
Sounds quite useful.

Linked Pyrite Bracelet, $180

Illinois Pyrite Necklace, $15 each (Money goes to Animal Rescue Site)

What else? Pyrite was also polished and used as mirrors by the Native Americans. It's a very common mineral most often found in Spain, Italy and the US Midwest. It comes in a variety of forms: Cubes, dollars (resembling sand dollars), Masses, cubic twins, etc. which all depend on the place it was found. (Source) More fragile pyrite specimens may decompose if left in humid conditions. So, basically, it's very sensitive mineral. (Source)

And here's a close up of the sandwich again, just for good measure:
A mere 42,000 calories! (Source)


The Seeker said...

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With lots of information and nice pictures.
Thank you for that.

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enc said...

I like pyrite, but that sandwich is another story!

Great post!

WendyB said...

Hmm. Interesting pieces, but I can't see myself working with it. If I want cheap material, there's a lot of stuff that's more beautiful than that.

Jill said...

That sandwich is exploiting my gag reflex. The pyrite I like though. I like the pieces that play up the rough edges.

Anne said...

I've never been a fan of pyrite before but I recently made a suite of items using them. I came across some different shapes and cuts of them and I was instantly attracted to the 'antique' quality of these particular beads so I made some 'grandma' jewelry. They are in the spring collections due out soon.

Umm, I guess I got a little excited by your pyrite post! Lovely pieces.

atelier said...

the avoiding negative properties sounds really great!. I like the rings. and that sandwich??!!:S! I wouldn't pay for it

ambika said...

Those dangle earrings almost look like labradorite. And so pretty, too.

The Clothes Horse said...

I loved finding fool's gold as a child (the stone, not the sandwich, thank goodness). These are lovely.

penelope said...

the jewelleries are so unique! haf never even heard of pyrite until now:S as for the sandwich!! gosh! not in a million years!

riz said...

WHAAAAAAAA?? I CANNOT believe that sandwich. wtf.

and as an aside, i really cannot STAND Matthew McConaughey

LML said...

oh my gosh that sandwich!!!!! this is a perfect pre - st patty's day post! talking about gold and such lol. i saw this fools gold ring in lucky the other day and decided im gonna try and make myself one - what a cool element thats been under our noses this whole time!

bronwyn said...

Lovely post. It makes some beautiful jewelry, I love the rings and pendant necklaces. As for the sandwich........
We have something in South Africa called bunny chow, don't worry - no bunnies involved, which is quite nice, it's a hollowed out loaf of breaad with an Indian curry inside.

pistols at dawn said...

Except for the jelly (since that's a fruit and therefore kind of healthy), I am so about that sandwich.

I am disgusted for you, don't worry.

Robert said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
10 year old fool's gold sandwich hater said...

That sandwich makes me gag!!!!!!Someone call the paramedic!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Seriously, it's totally fricken disgusting. One dude said he admires that sanwich,so do I. NO I'M NOT SAYING THAT I WOULD BUY IT OR EAT SUCH A THING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Speaking of pyrite, i have some and i'm a collector of rocks.And of course a rock scientist would eat a"gagging so bad it makes you puke" sandwich. DON'T MAKE IT AT HOME,PLEASE!!!!!

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