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Gold vs Fools Gold & Uses for Pyrite from Mines in Kazakhstan & Elsewhere

Updated on June 22, 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
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.

 

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.

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.

Oregon Trail in Wyoming
Oregon Trail in Wyoming | Source
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. To read a portion of the Shakespeare play where this phrase is used and learn about more references to this time worn saying, click here.

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.
  • Click here to read about other important uses for FeS2.

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 markerRudniy, 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 image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 27 hours 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 36 hours 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 image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 7 days ago from Houston, Texas

      I agree with what you wrote. Diversification is key!

    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 8 days 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 image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 8 days 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 9 days 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 image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 9 days 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 10 days 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 image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 10 days 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 2 weeks 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 image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 2 weeks 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 2 weeks 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 image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 2 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi again Robert,

      So platinum was considered worthless at one time? Interesting!

    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 2 weeks ago

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

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 2 weeks 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 2 weeks 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 image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 2 weeks 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 2 weeks 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 image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 3 weeks 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 3 weeks ago from Germany

      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.

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