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Fools Gold & Uses for Pyrite from Mines in Kazakhstan

Updated on August 2, 2017
Peggy W profile image

Education does not end when leaving school. It is an ongoing process which certainly makes life more interesting. Hope you enjoy this!

FeS2 also called Pyrite or Fool's Gold
FeS2 also called Pyrite or Fool's Gold | Source

Is It Gold or Is It Pyrite?

When pioneers were heading west in wagon trains in what would later become the United States of America, men on horseback or even afoot scouted the land as they proceeded. Obviously they required some type of shelter as well as a source of water when determining whether to settle on a particular piece of land or continue moving on to better locations.

Even when planning to go further, water was always a precious and necessary commodity to locate in order to live. When finding water, it provided life giving hydration for them and their animals. It was a source in which to bathe, wash clothes and other items.

Oregon Trail in Wyoming
Oregon Trail in Wyoming | Source

Panning for gold was sometimes done in the creeks and waterways along the trail. Some bits of gold may have been washed downstream from its major source due to the weathering forces of erosion.

Sometimes with a good amount of luck gold mines were located. Their locations were carefully guarded. Caches of gold could be exchanged for needed staples to make a settler's life easier.

Many people panning for gold might have easily been mistaken in thinking that they had gathered a small fortune only to be disappointed when finding out that it was pyrite. They would soon learn that real gold is more dull in appearance and is not as shiny and glittery.

The Collected Short Stories of Louis L'Amour, Volume 1: Frontier Stories
The Collected Short Stories of Louis L'Amour, Volume 1: Frontier Stories

Anyone wishing to get a flavor of what it was like during pioneer days should read some books by Louis L'Amour. I am currently working though a collection of books by that author which I inherited from my brother. I am really enjoying each and every one of them!

In some of the Louis L'Amour books the stories revolve around finding gold.

 
Pyrite
Pyrite | Source

"All that Glitters is Not Gold."

There are many references to this saying which means that all is not necessarily what it seems.

From a portion of The Merchant of Venice in a Shakespeare play to a poem by J. R. R. Tolkien or even a Gilbert and Sullivan song, this meaning has been utilized over and over again.

Shakespeare's Comedy of the Merchant of Venice
Shakespeare's Comedy of the Merchant of Venice | Source

Industrial Uses of Pyrite

Iron pyrite or pyrite also called fools gold has a chemical formula of FeS2. It is an iron sulfide and can be located in a number of differing types of rocks and even coal. Sometimes over time it has even replaced the minerals in bones or shells of fossils.

Pyrite has many commercial uses. Listed below are a few examples.

  • In reading about pyrite I learned that the paper industry relies upon it for part of the process in manufacturing paper.
  • People who use rechargeable batteries are benefiting from the use of this mineral.
  • Those who wear marcasite jewelry are actually wearing pyrite. There are many more uses which is why it is actively mined.

A marcasite silver brooch in the shape of a lizard.
A marcasite silver brooch in the shape of a lizard. | Source

I acquired a small box of minerals from a neighbor lady who was moving. A small card identified the pretty piece shown in the photo at the top as pyrite. Its origin was the Sarbaiskiy mine near Rudniy in Kazakhstan.

Rudniy (also spelled Rudny) is a town which was created when lots of iron ore was discovered there back in the 1950s. Primarily iron is extracted at the open pit of the nearby Sarbaiskiy Mine.

Location of the mine from which my piece of pyrite was unearthed.

A
Rudniy, Kazakhstan:
Rudny 110000, Kazakhstan

get directions

Open pit mining in Russia
Open pit mining in Russia | Source

Kazakhstan is a huge country! It is the ninth largest one in the entire world. Within Kazakhstan there are many mineral resources.

Much geological exploration has been going on there for many years attracting much in the way of foreign investments.

They declared independence from the Soviet Union on December 16, 1991.

From a nomadic past the people living in that country today are some of the most literate in the entire world.

If you wish to learn much more about this vast and beautiful country from which my piece of pyrite originated, be sure to watch the video below.

Watching this next video will enable viewers to see many different types of pyrite from a collector who loves to show off the various ways in which it is formed.

Everything about Pyrite

Did you learn some things about pyrite aka fools gold after reading this?

See results
Pyrite from Peru
Pyrite from Peru | Source

© 2017 Peggy Woods

Comments are welcomed!

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    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      2 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello Nyesha,

      I am pleased that you found this article about pyrite to be interesting. It was fun for me when I did some research on it.

    • Journey * profile image

      Nyesha Pagnou MPH 

      2 months ago from USA

      Thanks for sharing this interesting hub about fool's gold. I enjoyed reading it.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      3 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Adrienne,

      That would have been fun discovering it even if it was only fool's gold. Nice to be able to add to your rock and mineral collection that way.

    • alexadry profile image

      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 

      3 months ago from USA

      I found some fool's gold once walking my dogs nearby a river in Missouri. We sort of knew it wasn't real because it wasn't as heavy as gold would be, but it was still nice looking, so we kept it and I still have it stored with my small rock and mineral collection. Thank you for this information.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      5 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Patricia,

      Gold seekers would indeed be disappointed to find out that what they had was pyrite or "fools gold." Glad you liked the videos. I found this information interesting.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 

      5 months ago from sunny Florida

      How disappointed those weary travelers must have been to find their 'gold' was not gold after all. It is interesting to read the uses for pyrite today. Who would have 'thunk' it? Interesting too were the videos which gave us even more to ponder and consider. As usual I am always glad I have come to read or reread your articles Peggy. Once again many Angels are headed your way ps

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      6 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Eileen,

      Yes we can dream. Ha Ha! I am glad that you found this interesting.

    • ethel smith profile image

      Ethel Smith 

      6 months ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Thanks Peggy fascinating. We had some fools gold at one time. We can but dream of real thing

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      8 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Kelley,

      Interesting that there is a lot of the iron pyrite in the Sacramento area. Good luck if you pan for gold as well as pyrite. May you find much more of the gold!

    • Kosmo profile image

      Kelley Marks 

      8 months ago from California

      Yes, all that glitters is not gold. Thanks for telling me much more about iron pyrite, a lot of which can be found here in the Sacramento area. Gold is here too, and one of these days I may pan for some of it and hope to find a little of both. Later!

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      10 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Greetings Adrienne Janet Farricelli,

      So happy to be able to enlighten you as to what you found after a heavy rain in Missouri. Pyrite certainly is pretty!

    • alexadry profile image

      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 

      10 months ago from USA

      So that's what it was!! Many years ago, I found this gold-looking rock after it rained heavily in Missouri. It looked exactly like the picture. Thank you for helping me figure out what its actual name is.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      12 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Nithya,

      I am glad that you found this article about pyrite to be informative. Thanks for your comment.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 

      12 months ago from Dubai

      An interesting and informative article about fools gold thank you for sharing.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      12 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Sherry,

      So glad to know that you enjoyed reading this article. Now you know the origin of marcasite among other things. I enjoyed learning about the country of Kazakhstan since we have a friend who was born there.

    • Sherry Hewins profile image

      Sherry Hewins 

      12 months ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      What interesting article. I never knew marcasite was made from iron pyrite.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      13 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Nell,

      Glad to know you enjoyed reading this a 2nd time. There is much to learn regarding the element but also geography where this pyrite originated. Thanks for your comment.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      13 months ago from England

      Forgot that I had read this as it was totally interesting again! lol! I know that a lot of alchemists used it to cheat people into thinking they had made gold out of various elements, read that recently!

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      13 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Mary,

      Enjoy the jewelry given to you by your aunt no matter how she described it. Black gold sounds like a good description.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      13 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thanks for this info. I was given by an aunt a piece of jewelry and she called in black gold but I think it is pyrite as you have described it.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      16 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Bill,

      As to your being a miner...you are successfully doing that with words. Your writing is superb! You should stick to that! :)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      16 months ago from Olympia, WA

      It's just as well I'm not a miner. I'd fall for the fool's gold every time. :) Great information...thank you for the education.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      16 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Jackie,

      I hope your dream of panning for gold comes true someday and that you get a huge gold nugget. That would be nice!

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      17 months ago from The Beautiful South

      Pan for gold is on my bucket list! I hope I one day will. Maybe that pure gold nugget is waiting on me.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      17 months ago from Houston, Texas

      I agree with what you wrote. Diversification is key!

    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 

      17 months ago

      Yes, in some countries money can become little more than paper. Even in those countries people can buy more stable currencies. Diversification is a good idea. Metals shouldn't be thought of as a financial cure all.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      17 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Robert,

      I know that there is fluctuation in the price of metals as well as paper money. In some countries with wild runaway inflation investing in metals might be a better option rather than their paper currency. Obviously there is risk just like everything else. Diversifying investments at least spreads the risk if one type of investment outpaces another or takes a downturn. From your comments I know that you are well aware of this.

    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 

      17 months ago

      The truth is metals gain and lose value just like anything else. One thing to consider with metals is they are sold above spot price and and are usually bought back below spot price. If it's 3% each way, good numbers, it has to gain 6% just to break even.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      17 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Robert,

      I guess some people still prefer investing in metals rather than paper money. At least most of the time it holds its value.

    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 

      17 months ago

      In the early 80s buying metals seemed to make sense. Buying them was easy enough there are many places that sell metals.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      17 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Robert,

      It would be interesting to know how and why you acquired those ingots. Is there a story behind it? If so you might wish to make it into an article for this site.

    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 

      17 months ago

      That's fine, I just didn't want to claim credit for something that isn't mine. I had a platinum ingot a long time ago as well as a couple of palladium ingots.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      17 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Robert,

      You certainly seem to be interested in not only gold but platinum. You wrote this in another comment: " The name is derived from the Spanish 'platina', meaning little silver. " Not sure we are supposed to put links in the comments so I deleted that one of yours. If I am wrong at least your quote is in this one. Hope you understand. Thanks!

    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 

      17 months ago

      Yes, I think it was from the time of the Conquistadors the natives had gold and this other metal they didn't know anything about, platinum, so they considered it worthless.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      17 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi again Robert,

      So platinum was considered worthless at one time? Interesting!

    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 

      17 months ago

      Interesting, I remember reading platinum got it's name because it was considered worthless.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      17 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Robert,

      I just gave a small sampling of the uses for pyrite. Yes it is definitely of value in many ways.

    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 

      17 months ago

      Thank you. I never knew of the uses for "fools gold". I guess a saying could be made just because it's not gold that doesn't mean it's worthless.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      17 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Nell,

      What I found particularly interesting was the information regarding Kazakhstan. So glad you liked this!

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      17 months ago from England

      Hi Peggy, that was fascinating! I learned a lot. and yes I do remember that old saying, all that glitters is not gold, great hub!

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      17 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Thelma,

      Glad you enjoyed learning something about Pyrite by reading this post. I appreciate your comment.

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 

      17 months ago from Germany and Philippines

      I have not heard of Pyrite though I have heard the saying of "not all that glitters are gold.". I use this saying sometimes, too. Thanks for sharing this information. Yes, I have learned a lot from reading your hub.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      17 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Chitrangada Sharan,

      I agree that most often experts are needed to tell one type of mineral from another. The same goes for gemstones. Glad you liked this article.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      17 months ago from New Delhi, India

      Very interesting information! I had not heard about Pyrite though I understand that all that glitters is not gold. And you need experts to identify them.

      Loved your pictures and the video. Thanks for sharing this well researched and well written article!

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      17 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Audrey,

      I watched 5 or 6 videos regarding Kazakhstan before I selected this one to show. I'm so glad you took the time to watch it. It is amazing all the things that I learned about that country...and yes, it is huge! It is also so beautiful!

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 

      17 months ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      A very interesting hub on gold. I enjoyed this. I had no idea that Kazakhstan is the 9th largest country in the world. The videos are just wonderful. Thanks Peggy!

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      18 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi manatita44,

      I just finished reading another Louis L'Amour book this afternoon. They are all good from what I have read thus far and it certainly gives one an idea of what the settlement of the west in America was like back in those days.

      I have heard of Tanzanite but do not know particulars about it. Will have to look that up.

      Will head on over now to read your poem.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 

      18 months ago from london

      Interesting bit of crystal (mineral) including the cubes and spheres. Tanzania has something called Tanzanite, very important to them.

      I use to read Louis L Amour's books. Must have passed, right? Seems a long, long time ago. I believe they made some movies from his books and showed the aspects of greed driving men during the gold rush. Short but informative.

      Note: I wrote a poem for you. You have not been over, I don't think. Peace and higher blessings this weekend.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      18 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Shyron,

      Like you, I think that most of us have heard of Fools Gold. The gift from my neighbor who gave me a box of identified minerals sparked this article. It is always fun learning new things and I am pleased that you liked it.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 

      18 months ago from Texas

      Peggy, I had not heard of Pyrite, but heard of Fools Gold many times.

      This is a very interesting read.

      Thank you for all the information.

      Blessings always

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      18 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Martie,

      I will admit that "Fool's Gold" is easier to remember than pyrite. Happy to hear that reading this instigated your search for more information about the subject. This world of ours holds many wonders! Thanks for your informative comment.

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 

      18 months ago from South Africa

      Peggy, I hang my head in shame - I've never heard of pyrite. Searching for more information - specifically about the mining of pyrite in my country - I stumbled upon the fact that it is actually one of eleven most dangerous minerals. "Oxidation of pyrite releases toxic metals and metalloids such as Arsenic, which is poisonous for humans. Arsenic-containing pyrite in coals still poses a severe health problem for millions of people in the Guizhou province in China."

      I've also learned that the flotation of pyrite is of great importance to the gold mining industry in South Africa and Australia.

      Thanks to you, I have learned something new. I think, however, I will forget the name 'Pyrite', but definitely not the name 'Fool's Gold'. To think anybody could have fooled me!

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      18 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Linda,

      Happy to hear you liked learning these facts. As to the lizard brooch made using marcosite, it is a beauty for sure.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      18 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Bill,

      So happy to hear that you enjoyed learning more tidbits of information. As an author I am sure that you truly appreciate this. Thanks for your comment.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      18 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      You've shared some very interesting facts, Peggy. I love the lizard brooch!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      18 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I like learning stuff like this; never grow tired of filling my brain with little tidbits. :) So thank you for the education.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      18 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Patricia,

      I am so happy to know that you enjoyed learning a bit about pyrite and some of how it is used.

      If you get a chance take the time to watch that video about Kazakhstan. It is an amazingly beautiful country with rich traditions. They are very forward thinking with regard to helping the rest of the world. We have a good friend here in Houston who was born in that country so it was of particular interest to me.

      Thinking of you and your dear family. Will be contacting you soon.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 

      18 months ago from sunny Florida

      You have so many interesting hubs, Peggy, I usually read them more than once. This is so interesting...and yes, I really did learn a lot reading this ...so much I did not know.

      Thank you for filling in the gaps in my knowledge.

      Angels are on the way this morning, once again ps

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      18 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi FlourishAnyway,

      I agree with you that the piece of pyrite left to me is beautiful. My former neighbor also left some other mineral pieces as well. Learning about uses for pyrite I also found very interesting. Thanks for the first comment on this piece.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      18 months ago from USA

      Peggy, this was very interesting. Although I knew about its use in paper manufacturing the rest was new to me. Your neighbor left you a real beauty of a collector's piece.

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