Marcasite gemstones used in jewelry is made from iron pyrite, which is sometimes called “fools gold”. Pyrite has a cubic crystal structure with a metallic luster. The shape of the raw stone makes it easy to cut and make into jewelry. The stones are opaque and when inlaid into a piece of jewelry they add sparkle and shine.
There is also a mineral called marcasite, however, that is more brittle and flaky. It’s confusing but the (iron pyrite) marcasite we see in jewelry is not the same as the mineral named marcasite.
Marcasite (pronounced MARK-ah-seet) gemstones are often set in sterling silver. The stones measure 6 to 6.5 on the Moh’s Scale, meaning they are very hard and not easily damaged. This makes them a popular stone for women’s rings, because they can take a beating and maintain their beauty.
Marcasite jewelry became popular in France during the reign of Louis XIV. When he was King he declared that he should be the only one to wear diamonds. Marcasite shiny cut crystal stones became substitute diamonds for everyone else. Its popularity rose again during the Art Nouveau and Art Deco periods, when the cut stones were used to accent elaborate jewelry.
These days marcasite jewelry can be made synthetically and sometimes even steel is used. Some collectors suggest asking when you buy marcasite jewelry if the stones are natural. And also make sure the stones are inlaid into the metal and not just glued on.
I’m not a marcasite aficionado and wouldn’t know the difference between natural and synthetic. I just like the pretty geometric closely set sparkly effect of marcasite jewelry. And the good part is that it’s pretty inexpensive and lasts a long time if cared for properly. It’s easy to find used estate marcasite jewelry that can be polished up and made to look brand new.
More from my site
Category: Other Beautiful Jewelry