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Russian Pyrite


Hello all, Can anyone tell me if Russian Pyrite (rainbow pyrite)
is color stable? We have seen some beautiful stones and wonder if
the color is natural or somehow enhanced.

Gary Dirks
Redding, Ca

Can anyone tell me if Russian Pyrite (rainbow pyrite)  is color

Hi Gary, The color is definitely natural: I have seen it in situ
within large geode halves. However it can fade, although not for the
reasons you’d probably expect. I learned the following from a stone
cutter a couple of years ago.

It was commonly accepted that the bright colors often seen in
rainbow pyrite were not permanent because, by the time the material
had gone through the cutting process, most of the colors had faded to
pastel greens and oranges. Eventually, some bright-eyed lapidary
realized that the color change only occurred after the stones were
left to soak in soapy water – a common practice for cleaning them
after cutting. It turns out that the fading is due to water, not
other factors, and can be avoided by not soaking this material. You
can use soap and water to clean it; just don’t let it sit in water
any longer than necessary.

I’ve used a lot of brightly colored rainbow pyrite in my jewelry and
never noticed any fading, even under the halogen lighting I use in my
show booth, though I couldn’t swear that it would never fade if left
out in bright sunlight.



Gary, Rainbow pyrite (russian or otherwise) does happen in nature.
However, most that you find on the market (99.9%) has been treated
with chlorine. The color is stable, although molecularly thin. It can
certainly wear off if exposed to wear. If you have some regular
pyrite, you can rainbow it by exposing it to swimming pool chlorine
concentrate. BE CAREFUL!

Mark Thomas Ruby
SunSpirit Designs
Loveland, CO
970 622-9500 studio
970 622-9510 fax