What is Marcasite?
Marcasite is a natural mineral that is called iron sulfide and is often mined in South America although it is found naturally all around the world and marcasite is related to iron pyrite which is also called “Fools Gold” due to its likeness to gold but relative low value – miners would mistake iron pyrite for gold when staking a claim and only realising their mistake later.
The color of marcasite ranges from dark grey to black often with sparks of yellow or gold throughout the stone. As with all natural stones, the color can differ slightly. Marcasite was considered to reduce negative energy and improve communication.
Marcasite Becoming Fashionable
Marcasite jewelry became fashionable in the Victorian era – its black color was popular at the time especially at the end of the Queens reign when sombre clothing and adornment were the vogue. Cameo pendants and brooches/pins were especially popular and there are many examples of the dark marcasite contrasting with ivory.
Modern marcasite jewelry is now fashionable due to its links with the past. A whole niche has been created for what is often called “vintage style” where traditional materials are used to make new, fashionable pieces and are often seen being worn my a selection of celebrities who enjoy the style.
Taking Care and Cleaning Marcasite
Often, marcasite is secured in its setting with jeweler’s cement and because of this, it may require special cleaning.
Wipe gently with a soft and clean damp cloth.
Dry with a clean, soft and absorbent cloth.
Use a towel to ensure that the piece is entirely dry.
Use a steamer, hot water or sonic cleaner
Expose to chemicals or cleaning agents
Expose to extreme heat
Soak in water
As with all jewelry, a bit of care and patience gives its own reward with longer lasting pieces.
Martin Mallett is webmaster and co-owner of Milton Gems Jewellery [http://www.miltongems.co.uk/] which is a UK online store with a good selection of marcasite jewellery [http://www.miltongems.co.uk/jewellery/marcasite-vintage-176/].