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Pyrite: April 2013 Mineral of the Month


Mineral Name: Pyrite
Specimen Number: 165
Record ID: 2815
Locality Nickname: Ibex Mine, Colorado
State: Colorado
County: Lake
City: Leadville
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April’s Mineral of the Month brings us one of the minerals commonly referred to as “fool’s gold,” pyrite (iron sulfide, FeS2). Considered a “classic” locality by collectors, the Ibex mine was well known for these amazing pyrites as well as its silver production.  Leadville, the highest incorporated city in the country, became a boom mining town in the 1880s after silver was discovered.  In addition to lead and precious metals, the area mines produced a large proportion of the country’s molybdenum, a strategic metal.  The city rich history also epitomized the old Wild West, playing host to such characters as Wild Bill and Doc Holliday, and remains a popular tourist destination.

This specimen is an extremely fine, nearly complete cube, six centimeters on the edge, showing the typical striations and nearly mirror-like luster.  The mines are now closed, so we are lucky to have this gift from Arthur Montgomery ’31 in the Gem and Mineral Collection.

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