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Pyrite Suns from Sparta, Illinois

The mineral pyrite, also known as iron pyrite, is iron sulfide, the most common of the sulfide minerals. Pyrite crystallizes in the isometric crystal system and is most commonly found associated with other sulfides or oxides in quartz veins, metamorphic rocks, sedimentary deposits including coal beds, and as a replacement mineral in fossils. Pyrite is the paradigm "Fool's Gold". While there are other shiny, brassy colored minerals, pyrite is by far the most common and most frequently mistaken for gold. Pyrite is a favorite of mineral collectors due to its golden, metallic luster and interesting crystals. Pyrite is so common in the Earth's crust that it is found in almost every possible environment in numerous forms and varieties.

One of the most unusual and striking varieties of pyrite are the disc-shaped pyrite "suns", also known as pyrite dollars, which exhibit striations radiating out from the center like rays of the sun. These unique specimens are recovered from underground coal mines near Sparta, Randolph County, Illinois USA, where they occur in narrow, compacted seams of slate interbedded in 300 million-year-old Pennsylvanian Period coal deposits. The origin of pyrite suns has been a subject of speculation and debate. While some authorities have speculated they originated as fossils that were subsequently replaced with pyrite, the current consensus is they are concretions spread out under pressure and forced to grow in a laterally compressed, radiating manner in the seams of slate.

Marcasite, a polymorph of pyrite, has also been identified in pyrite suns. While marcasite has the same chemical formula as pyrite, it crystallizes in the orthorhombic crystal system, making it a distinct mineral. Marcasite is difficult to distinguish from pyrite without laboratory analysis when clear indicators such as well formed crystals are lacking.

Much sought after by mineral collectors and particularly by those with an affinity for pyrite, pyrite suns will become increasingly rare and difficult to obtain as the Illinois coal mines cease production and are shut down one by one.


MineralSpecimen15 - Pyrite Sun - $37.50 RESERVED
MineralSpecimen15 - Pyrite SunMineralSpecimen15 - Pyrite Sun
Locality: Sparta, Illinois
Approximate Overall Size: 7.9 centimeters. Please note the image above may be larger than life to help show the fine details.
Approximate Weight: 105.5 grams

This pyrite sun specimen will find a welcome home in any systematic pyrite, sulfide or concretion collection and be appreciated by aesthetic collectors as well.


MineralSpecimen16 - Pyrite Sun - $37.50 RESERVED
MineralSpecimen16 - Pyrite SunMineralSpecimen16 - Pyrite Sun
Locality: Sparta, Illinois
Approximate Overall Size: 7.7 centimeters. Please note the image above may be larger than life to help show the fine details.
Approximate Weight: 92.5 grams

This pyrite sun specimen will find a welcome home in any systematic pyrite, sulfide or concretion collection and be appreciated by aesthetic collectors as well.


MineralSpecimen17 - Pyrite Sun - $29.50
 
MineralSpecimen17 - Pyrite SunMineralSpecimen17 - Pyrite Sun
Locality: Sparta, Illinois
Approximate Overall Size: 8.6 centimeters. Please note the image above may be larger than life to help show the fine details.
Approximate Weight: 97.5 grams

This pyrite sun specimen will find a welcome home in any systematic pyrite, sulfide or concretion collection and be appreciated by aesthetic collectors as well.


MineralSpecimen18 - Mineral Specimen18 - $37.50
 
MineralSpecimen18 - Mineral Specimen18MineralSpecimen18 - Mineral Specimen18
Locality: Sparta, Illinois
Approximate Overall Size: 7.8 centimeters. Please note the image above may be larger than life to help show the fine details.
Approximate Weight: 93.2 grams

This pyrite sun specimen will find a welcome home in any systematic pyrite, sulfide or concretion collection and be appreciated by aesthetic collectors as well.


MineralSpecimen19 - Mineral Specimen19 - $37.50
 
MineralSpecimen19 - Mineral Specimen19MineralSpecimen19 - Mineral Specimen19
Locality: Sparta, Illinois
Approximate Overall Size: 8.3 centimeters. Please note the image above may be larger than life to help show the fine details.
Approximate Weight: 121.1 grams

This pyrite sun specimen will find a welcome home in any systematic pyrite, sulfide or concretion collection and be appreciated by aesthetic collectors as well.


MineralSpecimen20 - Pyrite Sun - $29.50
 
MineralSpecimen20 - Pyrite SunMineralSpecimen20 - Pyrite Sun
Locality: Sparta, Illinois
Approximate Overall Size: 9.0 centimeters. Please note the image above may be larger than life to help show the fine details.
Approximate Weight: 123.0 grams

This pyrite sun specimen will find a welcome home in any systematic pyrite, sulfide or concretion collection and be appreciated by aesthetic collectors as well.


MineralSpecimen22 - Pyrite Sun - $29.50 RESERVED
MineralSpecimen22 - Pyrite SunMineralSpecimen22 - Pyrite Sun
Locality: Sparta, Illinois
Approximate Overall Size: 8.6 centimeters. Please note the image above may be larger than life to help show the fine details.
Approximate Weight: 112.4 grams

This pyrite sun specimen will find a welcome home in any systematic pyrite, sulfide or concretion collection and be appreciated by aesthetic collectors as well.


MineralSpecimen23 - Pyrite Sun - $29.50
 
MineralSpecimen23 - Pyrite SunMineralSpecimen23 - Pyrite Sun
Locality: Sparta, Illinois
Approximate Overall Size: 9.2 centimeters. Please note the image above may be larger than life to help show the fine details.
Approximate Weight: 115.8 grams

This pyrite sun specimen will find a welcome home in any systematic pyrite, sulfide or concretion collection and be appreciated by aesthetic collectors as well.


MineralSpecimen24 - Pyrite Sun - $27.50
 
MineralSpecimen24 - Pyrite SunMineralSpecimen24 - Pyrite Sun
Locality: Sparta, Illinois
Approximate Overall Size: 8.0 centimeters. Please note the image above may be larger than life to help show the fine details.
Approximate Weight: 67.5 grams

This pyrite sun specimen will find a welcome home in any systematic pyrite, sulfide or concretion collection and be appreciated by aesthetic collectors as well.


MineralSpecimen25 - Pyrite Sun - $29.50
 
MineralSpecimen25 - Pyrite SunMineralSpecimen25 - Pyrite Sun
Locality: Sparta, Illinois
Approximate Overall Size: 9.4 centimeters. Please note the image above may be larger than life to help show the fine details.
Approximate Weight: 128.5 grams

This pyrite sun specimen will find a welcome home in any systematic pyrite, sulfide or concretion collection and be appreciated by aesthetic collectors as well.


MineralSpecimen27 - Pyrite Sun - $29.50
 
MineralSpecimen27 - Pyrite SunMineralSpecimen27 - Pyrite Sun
Locality: Sparta, Illinois
Approximate Overall Size: 9.8 centimeters. Please note the image above may be larger than life to help show the fine details.
Approximate Weight: 123.5 grams

This pyrite sun specimen will find a welcome home in any systematic pyrite, sulfide or concretion collection and be appreciated by aesthetic collectors as well.


MineralSpecimen28 - Pyrite Sun - $29.50
 
MineralSpecimen28 - Pyrite SunMineralSpecimen28 - Pyrite Sun
Locality: Sparta, Illinois
Approximate Overall Size: 8.7 centimeters. Please note the image above may be larger than life to help show the fine details.
Approximate Weight: 86.1 grams

This pyrite sun specimen will find a welcome home in any systematic pyrite, sulfide or concretion collection and be appreciated by aesthetic collectors as well.

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