The mineral pyrite (also known as iron pyrite) is iron sulfide, the most common of the sulfide minerals. Pyrite crystallizes into an isometric crystal system and is most commonly found associated with other sulfides or oxides in quartz veins, metamorphic rocks, sedimentary deposits including coal beds and as a replacement mineral in fossils. Pyrite is also known as ” Fools Gold”. While there are other shiny, brassy colored minerals, pyrite is by far the most common and most frequently mistaken for gold. Pyrite is a favorite of mineral collectors due to its golden metallic luster and interesting crystals. pyrite is so common in the Earth’s crust that it is found in almost every possible environment in numerous forms and varieties.
One of the most unusual and striking varieties of pyrite are the disc-shaped pyrite “suns”, which exhibit striations radiating from the center like rays of the sun. These unique specimens are recovered from underground coal mines near Sparta, Illinois, USA, where they occur in narrow compacted seams of slated inter-bedded in 300 million-year-old Pennsylvanian Period coal deposits. The origin of the pyrite suns has been a subject of speculation and debate. Some authorities have speculated they originated as fossils that were subsequently replaced with pyrite, others believe that they are concretions spread out under pressure and forced to grow in a laterally compressed radiating manner in the seams of slate.
Pyrite “suns” are believed to enhance metaphysical abilities.