This golden-hued gemstone got its name for the Greek word pyr, which means "fire." Pyrite gemstones can be used to create sparks if it is struck against metal or another hard material. In fact, pieces of pyrite have been used in flintlock firearms to help produce the necessary spark. Pyrite gemstones were important to the production of sulfur and sulfuric acid, especially during the World War II era. Long before this use though, pyrite was valued by some Native American peoples as a healing stone. During the Victorian Age, pyrite was a favorite stone for creating carved rosettes, shoe buckles, rings and other decorative elements.
Due to pyrite's gold color, luster and high specific gravity, this gem can be mistaken for gold, hence this famous moniker: fool's gold. Pyrite is also quite similar to another gem called marcasite, however marcasite does not have the same brassy hue.