Marcasite jewellery

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Marcasite brooch made from pyrite and silver

Marcasite jewellery is jewellery made from pyrite (fool's gold), not, as the name suggests, from marcasite.[1] Pyrite is similar to marcasite, but more stable and less brittle. Marcasite jewellery has been made since the time of the Ancient Greeks.[2] It was particularly popular in the eighteenth century, the Victorian era and with Art Nouveau jewellery designers.[2][3] It is frequently made by setting small pieces of pyrite into silver.[3] Cheaper costume jewelry is made by glueing pieces of pyrite rather than setting.[2] A similar-looking type of jewellery can be made from small pieces of cut steel.[1][2]

The gleam of marcasite made it attractive and when diamonds were banned from public display in Switzerland in the 18th century marcasite, along with cut steel, was turned to as a replacement.[4]


  1. ^ a b Thomas, Arthur (2008). Gemstones: Properties, Identification and Use. New Holland Publishers. p. 121. ISBN 1-84537-602-1. 
  2. ^ a b c d Goldemberg, Rose Leiman (2000). Antique Jewelry: A Practical & Passionate Guide. iUniverse. p. 116. ISBN 0-595-08898-8. 
  3. ^ a b Hesse, Rayner W. (2007). Jewelrymaking Through History: An Encyclopedia. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 15. ISBN 0-313-33507-9. 
  4. ^ Clifford, Anne (1971). Cut-Steel and Berlin Iron Jewellery. Adams & Dart. p. 24. ISBN 9780239000699.