This article is copied from a recent post at http://www.firemountaingems.com
by Leslie McLane, Marketing Content Development Group, Exclusively for Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®What exactly IS marcasite? Technically speaking, marcasite is iron sulfide with an orthorhombic crystal structure. Sometimes marcasite is confused for pyrite, since pyrite is iron sulfide with a cubic crystal structure. Both structures have a short bonding distance between the sulfur atoms, but the structures differ in how exactly they bond. Marcasite is a pale yellow to almost white with a metallic luster. Marcasite is not easily cut and tends to be lighter and more brittle than pyrite. Pyrite is also in abundance compared to marcasite. This has led to many jewelers turning to pyrite for imitation marcasite jewelry in order to make production easier and keep cost down. The extra cost for authentic marcasite is well worth the investment, as marcasite jewelry is a favorite for heirlooms and has been valued since the time of the Incas and Ancient Greeks for its beauty. Even Cleopatra was seen adorned in marcasite stones.