• Register

Information for users from the old Q&A site
If you have an account from our old Q&A site, your account was transferred over, but you need to reset your password and confirm your email address.
Reset Password here
Confirm Email here

2,207 questions

3,853 answers


48,962 users

Dusty pyrite?

0 votes

I have a small selection of pyrite beads that I've purchased over the years and haven't used. When I looked at them recently a couple varieties were the same, a couple were slightly "dusty", and the rest were, to varying degrees, covered in a white coating that was crystal-like at times. I have no idea if this is equal to tarnish on silver, needing to be cleaned, if it is highly toxic or if it is some type of prized material. My luck would be somewhere between toxic and tarnish. Could someone please advise? I've searched appropriate terms but haven't found an answer. Thank you.

asked Feb 12, 2013 by Rockycreek (200 points)

3 Answers

0 votes

alt text I've attached a picture, hopefully, shiwing what I've tried to describe.

answered Feb 12, 2013 by Rockycreek (200 points)
0 votes

That is pyrite decay. Its caused by a breakdown of the sulfur in the structure. The decay is toxic, and will spread to other healthy sulfides, so throw them out before it spreads.

This is also known as pyrite disease. Read this forum post: http://www.mindat.org/mesg-6-36559.html

answered Feb 13, 2013 by hershel (51,840 points)
0 votes

Thank you for your quick and informative answer. I didn't think it was good, but I had no idea it was so dangerous. I have been designing jewelry for 20 years out of anything and everything imaginable, but my first love has been the simplicity of the stone, regardless of its value. I am glad to have found this group, to help me in the future, possibly stop from damaging my health or someone else's through my ignorance.

This box is probably 10 yrs old, untouched, until I did some housekeeping recently. The stones that are "clear", without any visible sign of disease, are they sealed or safe perhaps. I love the organic look of pyrite and didn't remember even owning any. I hate the thought of chunking good stones.

answered Feb 13, 2013 by Rockycreek (200 points)