October 17, 2009
Pyrite, sometimes referred to as fool’s gold, is one of the most common minerals. It's usually found in striated cubes and less commonly as an octahedron, as featured above. This photo shows one of the largest octahedral crystal specimens from the former Shipman Mine in Leeds County, Ontario, Canada. It measures approximately 8 inches (20 cm) from tip to tip. Various octahedrals have been found to contain titanite, quartz and augite crystals within the pyrite crystal structure. Also, a small percentage of cobalt may be included. Mining at this site began in about 1870, but when a large amount of pyrrhotite was mixed with the ore compromising the quality of the pyrite, the mining ceased just five years later.