Navajún, La Rioja, Spain


27 cm x 25 cm x 17 cm


8,624 g

Description & Provenance

Pyrite, sometimes called, “fool’s gold” is an iron sulfide found in sedimentary formations in the earth’s crust. Most pyrite is dated at approximately 130 million years old and deposits are typically numerous but small in several locations all over the world. It has been culturally significant as a stone of vitality, wealth, and a talisman of protection. Some Native American tribes even used it for healing and divination, believing it to be imbued with strong, magical power. Today, pyrite is immensely popular among collectors young and old for its wonderfully perfect, geometric forms, and its high capacity for luster.

Although relatively abundant, each pyrite locality produces a distinct variation that differentiates it from the others. Peruvian pyrite, for example typically exhibits gorgeous texture in the form of parallel, linear striations on its crystal faces. Italian pyrite is sometimes known to produce more complicated, modified octahedrons, and Spanish pyrite, is famed for its ability to produce exceptionally perfect cubes that have smooth faces and sharp, exact edges.

This specimen has over a dozen precisely cubic, sharply terminated, pyrite crystals, all partially embedded in its matrix of matte, roughly-textured, white marl. It provides a striking contrast for the exceptionally smooth, metallic, reflective pyrite crystals. With their golden color and intense luster, they appear almost alien in their rough bed which punctuates their perfection. Adding to the impact of the piece is its overall size, approximately a foot in length and width.

The individual crystals themselves are sizeable, and as a piece joined by marl, the collective size of nearly a foot tall and a foot wide and is quite large when considering how evenly dispersed its crystals are against its matrix. To have each crystal outlined in complementary matix, while also having no area wanting in crystals is quite a unique trait. In addition to its impressive crystals, and its size, this piece can be displayed upright, as is pictured, or laid down horizontally, making it an attractive and versatile piece that boasts 360° viewing capability.

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