Where To Find Pyrite (Fools Gold) in The United States!

Where To Find Pyrite in The United States

Pyrite is one of those minerals that it’s hard to forget. Generally found as cubic, brass-colored crystals, the material’s main claim to fame was being mistaken for gold in the past. These days it’s generally sought after as a mineral sample by collectors, who recognize the mineral’s unique cubic crystals and bright, metallic shine as something beautiful.

So, if you’re looking to collect your own samples of pyrite then you’re in the right place. Let’s take a look at some of the spots in the US where you can find pyrite!

1. Eagle Mine, Colorado

The Eagle Mine in Colorado bears world-class examples of pyrite. Well-formed crystals seem to be the rule here, often found in large clusters with a bright golden color. The mine itself was an old zinc mine and a very productive one. It produced a lot of sphalerite that helped out as a source of the metal although it was never quite able to crack into being a top producer.

This area is riddled with tunnels from the previous underground workings although the mine is considered to be mined out. Like all abandoned mines, this is an unsafe situation and you should stay above ground and be very careful not to step into a shaft. With a bit of caution, these areas can be safe, but it’s still a pretty big risk just poking around.

Specimens from this area are best collected from old mine dumps and tailings. These are safe to search since they’re above ground and generally dumped in an area where the ground is stable. The mine was actually a superfund site, meaning that it was considered so polluted the feds had to intervene with a plan to clean it up. These days it’s supposed to be much less toxic.

This location is worth a search if you can make it out there. The pyrite here is fantastic, considered world-class, and it’s very common in the tailings that have been left behind.

2. Roxbury Iron Mine, Connecticut

Another spot with world-class pyrite is the Roxbury Iron Mine in Connecticut. Here the pyrite is often found as large, geometric crystals with striations on the faces. These are often even more fascinating than they appear at first glance since the common form is generally embedded in sphalerite or siderite.

Alongside these minerals, there is also a considerable amount of quartz in the area. This too is sometimes enmeshed with the pyrite, creating fascinating samples that are hard to replicate. This is an old mine, closed down in 1815, with all of the usual features (and dangers!) that implies. You should always be careful searching around old mines. At the very least you need to stay above ground and be very wary of the ground’s stability as you’re walking around.

The pyrite is best found by looking through old areas of tailings and dumps. Pyrite wasn’t considered a desirable material, so it was often discarded with other rocks and minerals pulled from the mine as it was dug. These are the best places to take a look, and you stand a good chance of finding some truly amazing specimens!

As long as care is taken, this is a great spot for those looking to find some pyrite samples. Those with a less adventurous nature will be pleased to know that you can also find crystals from this location sold online quite easily.

3. Sulfur Spring, Connecticut

Pyrite is a common find in Connecticut, owing to the previous hydrothermal vents in the area that commonly produce sulfide minerals. The area around sulfur springs is, predictably, an excellent place to find samples of the material. It’s a well-known spot, but a bit hard to research owing to the vast number of places that also bear the same name across the United States.

The area still has springs and is at the base of Tim’s Hill in the state. Here the crystals of pyrite are often embedded in pyrrhotite or chalcopyrite, making for excellent samples. The original geological mapping of this location is a good hint at how common it is. It was just circled and labeled “iron sulfides.”

While this location isn’t the best known, it appears to have yielded some exceptionally large crystals of pyrite over the years. Poking around at the base of the hill is sure to yield results for a seeker, and the area doesn’t bear many other minerals that it could be easily confused for.

While a bit less certain than the mine above, this location is still worth a look for local rockhounds.

4. Sparta, Illinois

Sparta, Illinois, bears a unique form of pyrite that’s not found anywhere else in the world. These pyrite “suns” are embedded in the rock of the area, creating a wonderful golden display that’s quite different from the majority of iron pyrite formations out there. They can be found in the local shale of the area, and are considered a true oddity.

When they’re found, these crystals range from the size of a penny to the size of a dinner plate. Most are much more modest than the extreme ends, being around 3-4” in diameter. The discs themselves are a unique formation that appears to be due to the construction of the shale in the area.

When found and separated from the matrix, you can see the more familiar cubic shapes along the edges of the pyrite discs. This seems to indicate that the crystals found a place to grow inside the shale. These often have a line of separation on the sides, allowing you to see where they began to grow in the past.

These specimens are unique in the world of pyrite and don’t seem to be found anywhere else. As such, they’re a must-have for those who are seriously into collecting pyrite or sulfides in general, and fortunately, they seem to exist in large quantities in this region!

5. Putney, Vermont

Putney, Vermont hosts a large amount of pyrite in the bedrock. Most often this is found in road cuts, where previous excavation has left large walls of bedrock split through the middle. One of the most common forms found here is single, large cubes that can be separated from the surrounding stone.

Like most of New England, pyrite is a common find throughout the state of Vermont. It just so happens that this area has a ton of roadcuts that exposed larger crystals of pyrite. Some of these are quite safe to take a look at, but you should always take care if you choose to get a closer look at the rock walls on a road.

There are also other interesting minerals held in the rock here, although most are less common than iron pyrite. These include oddities like blue anatase and harmotome. It can be quite an exciting afternoon sorting through some of these roadcuts, but safety is always a consideration when you’re near vehicles.

For those who are willing to explore, this is a promising region. It’s definitely worth a look if you happen to be in the Vermont area and get a hankering to pick up some pyrite. 

6. Spruce Ridge, Washington

In King County, Washington, you can find one of the few sources of pyrite on the Pacific side of the United States. While there are a few small concentrations here and there, for the most part the West lacks the sulfide minerals that give so much diversity to the stones of the states bordering the Atlantic. That’s not to say you can’t find interesting things, it’s just that pyrite, galena, and sphalerite aren’t exactly abundant when you’re in these states.

This is another location where you’ll often find quartz intermixed with pyrite. Spruce Ridge is known for its sceptered quartz as well, which are formations where a broken quartz crystal has formed a new, larger growth of crystalline silica on the top. These can even be found intermixed with the local pyrite!

This area also hosts a bit of amethyst. These often show up as sceptered quartz with a tinge of purple on top, but the material shows up intermixed in quartz clusters as well. It’s generally only the tips that have enough iron to be colored in this area, so it’s not going to match the deep purple of Brazilian amethyst, but they do make unique and beautiful specimens.

While the pyrite here is fairly spectacular, the real draw is finding one of the intermixed specimens that litter the area. Take a look, some of the specimens found here are truly wonderful!

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