How to Hunt for Pyrite

By Hobbies, Games & Toys Editor

How to Hunt for Pyrite. Pryite, also known as fool's gold, is a common but beautiful mineral in the earth. Finding pyrite is easy if you know where to look. Here's how you can find pyrite of your own.

Learn about the basic characteristics of pyrite, a shiny, metallic mineral that is brassy-yellow in color. Pyrite crystals are often shaped like small cubes or spheroids. You'll find pyrite as isolated crystals or as aggregates of crystals, depending on the particular deposit.

Look for Pyrite in mineral veins where fluids moved through bodies of rock. Mineral veins typically contain the most prized pyrite crystals.

Find Pyrite in sedimentary rocks such as shales. These shales, deposited in low oxygen conditions, tend to be dark in color and the pyrite crystals may be scattered or in big accumulations. In addition, pyrite crystals may replace fossils in shales. This type of pyrite is highly sought after by collectors.

Purchase a guidebook of mineral collecting in your state or local area. Sometimes state geological surveys will publish guides to help you locate minerals in your state.

Gather all of the materials you'll need to hunt for pyrite. See the list in "Things You Will Need" in this article. Use the hand lens to look more closely at the characteristics of pyrite and use the rock hammer to help excavate the pyrite.

Talk to other rock hounds and mineral collectors in your area. They may be able to give you tips on pyrite localities, as well as general tips on mineral collecting. You may even be able to find a buddy to go hunting for pyrite with you.

Tip

When collecting minerals, be respectful of the land and of other collectors. Do not take everything that you find. Leave some for others. Be mindful of not collecting on private property. If you do wish to collect on private property, get the owner's permission first. You can look at geologic maps to locate deposits like the ones discussed in Steps 2 and 3. Talk to your local geological survey about finding these maps or ask local rock hounds for advice. In some deposits, pyrite can be broken down by natural weathering. Look at localities that are less weathered to find good pyrite specimens.

Warning

Use caution when using a rock hammer. You may want to wear safety glasses or goggles when using a rock hammer to protect your eyes.