Pyrite Suns (Pyrite Dollars)
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These Pyrite Suns are from Sparta, Illinois.  Pure Pyrite crystallization with no matrix,  featuring radiating golden crystals
that sparkle in the light.  These are also known as Pyrite Dollars, Sun Dollars, or Miners Dollars.  Collected in a coal
mines three hundred feet below the earth's surface, these suns formed over 350 million years ago!  The Fanned Crystal
Structure is due to compressed growth between sheets of anthracite coal shale.  At one time these were mistakenly
thought to be fossilized sand dollars or lily pads. These are located by gently splitting the layers of shale and then must
be cleaned by a labor intensive process which produces such wonderful treasures!

There have only been seven coal mines in the world where pyrite suns were found. These well-known mines, including
the Baldwin Mine, the Marissa Mine, the Moffett Mine, the River King Mine and the Gateway Mine are all in the Shawnee
Hills located in  Randolph County, Illinois. Six of the seven mines are now closed with only the Gateway Mine (owned by
Peabody Energy) still currently operating. Pyrite Suns used to be plentiful, but as time passed, the coal mines in
Randolph County shut down one by one until it has become extremely difficult to obtain quality specimens either in
matrix or removed individuals. The Gateway Mine is now the last source of Illinois Pyrite Suns. Due to new EPA
regulations this famous coal will not be mined again. Coal with high sulfur content will no longer be used in the industry.
Estimates are that the Gateway Mine will shut down in 2013 or 2014. Since pyrite suns are found 300 feet underground
new finds are unlikely to occur again without mining operations. The pyrite forms that have been found in China (also
called pyrite suns) are very different from the well-known Illinois Pyrite Suns.

Miners haul these delicate specimens out in their lunch boxes, hoping to preserve these beautiful specimens from
getting destroyed. Some of the matrix specimens have been sealed or stabilized and the pyrite sun is loose and can be
removed and replaced. Other specimens have not been stabilized or sealed and the pyrite sun is still affixed to the
shale and cannot be removed. Of course it is possible that the suns have been removed, cleaned and glued back on the
matrix. In any case, the value of these specimens has continued to rise each day as these become very rare finds.

There are also "iridescent" suns on the market. The coloring of the natural iridescence is caused by formation in high
heat conditions, sadly though there has been a market flooding in 2013 of "fake" or "man-made" iridescent pyrite suns.
A search of auction type sites will reveal a myriad of "Iridescent Pyrite Suns" that are altered natural pyrite suns. Around
2005 the practice of "bleaching" pyrite suns became prevalent among unscrupulous peddlers to increase the sale price
for an iridescent specimen. Many honest sellers were not aware that these pyrite suns were altered. Iridescent suns
formed naturally are extremely rare. Currently the market is flooded with "fake" iridescent pyrite suns. We have seen
pyrite suns that have been soaked in bleach, heated with torches or ovens to dis-color the pyrite, and now there is a new
breed of chemically treated fakes which are almost surrounded by a white opal-like glowing exterior with reds and blue
color tones. People please...THESE ARE NOT NATURAL...THEY ARE FAKES! Caveat Emptor...(Buyer Beware)

Here is the problem with chemically treated pyrite suns
Besides making them prettier, it also makes them Much more susceptible to breakdown from moisture in the air. They
have a considerable amount of marcasite intermixed which is typical for shale pyrites. Chemical treatment seems to
accelerate the natural decomposition process. Most of these "iridescent" pyrite suns will be completely deteriorated in 5
to 7 years, leaving a display case full of crumbly gray-white powder giving off
Lots of sulfuric acid fumes. We had
several pieces that were chemically treated. Within 2 years in a dry Las Vegas, Nevada climate we started smelling the
fumes being generated and after 4 years the piece was so deteriorated we had nothing left. Natural deterioration is
normal with Marcasite specimens, but generally may take 20 to 30 years. This acceleration by chemicals so your pyrite
sun looks prettier is not worth the aggravation!

Our suggestion is to not buy "Irridescent" suns, and, if you already have them, get rid of them and consider
the loss as being the cost of an education that's worth a lot more than a colorful pyrite sun. Depending on your location
and how you store your specimens, you'll start to notice that the low luster areas will get darker and darker, eventually
turning into a powder, which will then turn white as it ages. This means that your specimen is starting to deteriorate (aka
Pyrite Disease). After a little while longer, you will really notice the obnoxious "sulfuric" smell. Once the process has
started you can do nothing to stop it. Your specimen will only get worse as time passes.

You will need to separate pieces showing signs of Pyrite disease from the rest of your collection. You can still  have a
separate display for those pieces. It is always hard to throw a nice specimen in the trash, but we've all done it at one
time or another. Any specimen which contains even traces of marcasite is a gamble. These specimens need to be
rarely touched and must be watched carefully. Some of these specimens may be in your collection for 30 years and be
fine, while others will start to deteriorate the day after you get them. Pyrite Suns that come from a shale environment, as
the Illinois suns do, will normally start to disintegrate anywhere from a few months to 20 years.
PYRITE SUN in ANTHRACITE COAL SHALE MATRIX
Pyrite Sun from Sparta, Illinois
Sparkles in natural light! Angled to show patterns on the specimen. This piece measures 3.5 to 3.9" (8.9 to 9.9cm)
Diameter with a thickness up to 0.36" (9mm). This specimen weighs 6.3oz (179g)
Item # PS02149981
3.5 to 3.9" Pyrite Sun from
Sparta Illinois

$34.00
Pyrite Sun from Sparta, Illinois
Sparkles in natural light! Angled to show patterns on the specimen. This piece measures 5.2" to 5.1" (13.2 to 13cm)
Diameter with a thickness up to 0.36" (9.26mm). This specimen weighs 14.7oz  or 0.92 lb (419g)
Item # PS05138992
5.2 to 5.1 Inch Pyrite Sun
from Sparta Illinois

$49.00
Pyrite Sun from Sparta, Illinois
Sparkles in natural light! Angled to show patterns on the specimen. This piece measures 3.4" to 2.5" (8.8 to 6.5cm)
Diameter with a thickness up to 0.32" (8.2mm). This specimen weighs 3.34 oz or 0.249 lb (112g)
Item # PYRS08138861
3.4 to 2.5 Inch Pyrite Sun
from Sparta Illinois

$30.00
Pyrite Sun from Sparta, Illinois
Sparkles in natural light! Angled to show patterns on the specimen. This piece measures 4.1 to 4.0" (10.4 to 10.3cm)
Diameter with a thickness up to 0.29" (7.59mm). This specimen weighs 6.6oz  or 0.41 lb (187g)
Item # PS05139991
4.1 to 4.0" Pyrite Sun from
Sparta Illinois

$38.00
Pyrite Sun from Sparta, Illinois
Sparkles in natural light! Angled to show patterns on the specimen. This piece measures 5.3 to 4.8" (13.5 to 12.3cm)
Diameter with a thickness up to 0.33" (8.5mm). This specimen weighs 13.4oz  or 0.84 lb (382g)
Item # PS05139992
5.3 to 4.8" Pyrite Sun from
Sparta Illinois

$49.00
Item #PYRS11126877
Removable Pyrite Sun on Shale
Matrix from Sparta, Illinois

$89.00
This is a Natural PYRITE SUN in sealed ANTHRACITE COAL SHALE MATRIX from Sparta,
Illinois This is from our personal collection. The pyrite sun is very thick and seats firmly in its
natural impression in the shale but is removable for viewing. An excellent display!

This specimen Matrix is 8.2 x 7 x 1.7 inches (20.8 x 17.8 x 4.4cm).
The pyrite sun is 3.6 x 3.5 x 0.5 inches (9.3 x 9.1 x 1.2cm) and weighs 9.4oz or 0.58lb (267g)
The total Specimen weighs 40.4oz or 2.52 lbs (1145g)
Pyrite Sun from Sparta, Illinois
Sparkles in natural light! Angled to show patterns on the specimen. This piece measures 2.3" (59cm) Diameter with a
thickness up to 0.22" (5.7mm). This specimen weighs 1.3 oz (38g)
Item # PYRS08132601
2.3 Inch Pyrite Sun from
Sparta Illinois

$19.00
Pyrite Sun from Sparta, Illinois
Sparkles in natural light! Angled to show patterns on the specimen. This piece measures 2.4" to 2" (6.1 to 5.2cm) Diameter
with a thickness up to 0.34" (8.8mm). This specimen weighs 2.6 oz or 0.16 lb (75g)
Item # PYRS08132611
2.4 to 2 Inch Pyrite Sun from
Sparta Illinois

$23.00
Pyrite Sun from Sparta, Illinois
Sparkles in natural light! Angled to show patterns on the specimen. This piece measures 3.1" (7.9cm) Diameter with a
thickness up to 0.24" (6.2mm). This specimen weighs 3.24 oz or 0.2 lb (91g)
Item # PYRS08132641
3.1 Inch Pyrite Sun from
Sparta Illinois

$29.00
Pyrite Sun from Sparta, Illinois
Sparkles in natural light! Angled to show patterns on the specimen. This piece measures 3.3" to 3.2" (8.5 to 8.1cm)
Diameter with a thickness up to 0.34" (8.8mm). This specimen weighs 4.9 oz or 0.3 lb (140g)
Item # PYRS08137812
3.3 to 3.2 Inch Pyrite Sun
from Sparta Illinois

$35.00
Pyrite Sun from Sparta, Illinois
Sparkles in natural light! Angled to show patterns on the specimen. This piece measures 3.5" to 3.3" (8.9 to 8.5cm)
Diameter with a thickness up to 0.32" (8mm). This specimen weighs 5.1 oz or 0.32 lb (146g)
Item # PYRS08136812
3.5 to 3.3 Inch Pyrite Sun
from Sparta Illinois

$35.00
Pyrite Sun from Sparta, Illinois
Sparkles in natural light! Angled to show patterns on the specimen. This piece measures 3.8" to 3.7" (9.7 to 9.4cm)
Diameter with a thickness up to 0.25" (6.48mm). This specimen weighs 4.4 oz or 0.27 lb (125g)
Item # PYRS08132671
3.7 to 3.8 Inch Pyrite Sun
from Sparta Illinois

$25.00
Pyrite Sun from Sparta, Illinois
Sparkles in natural light! Angled to show patterns on the specimen. This piece measures 3" to 2.9" (7.6 to 7.3cm) Diameter
with a thickness up to 0.26" (6.8mm). This specimen weighs 2.5 oz or 0.15 lb (70g)
Item # PYRS08132651
3 to 2.9 Inch Pyrite Sun from
Sparta Illinois

$23.00
Pyrite Sun from Sparta, Illinois
Sparkles in natural light! Angled to show patterns on the specimen. This piece measures 3.5" to 3.2" (8.9 to 8.2cm)
Diameter with a thickness up to 0.29" (7.5mm). This specimen weighs 4.4 oz or 0.28 lb (126g)
Item # PYRS08133611
3.5 to 3.2 Inch Pyrite Sun
from Sparta Illinois

$28.00
Pyrite Sun from Sparta, Illinois
Sparkles in natural light! Angled to show patterns on the specimen. This piece measures 3.8" to 3.7" (9.7 to 9.5cm)
Diameter with a thickness up to 0.37" (9.5mm). This specimen weighs 7.5 oz or 0.47 lb (213g)
Item # PYRS08138812
3.8 to 3.7 Inch Pyrite Sun
from Sparta Illinois

$37.00
Pyrite Sun from Sparta, Illinois
Sparkles in natural light! Angled to show patterns on the specimen. This piece measures 3.8" to 3.7" (9.7 to 9.4cm)
Diameter with a thickness up to 0.36" (9.4mm). This specimen weighs 7.4 oz or 0.47 lb (211g)
Item # PYRS08139812
3.8 to 3.7 Inch Pyrite Sun
from Sparta Illinois

$37.00
Multicolor version of a Pyrite Sun that
is accented with Host Slate.  
Multicolor version of a Pyrite Sun that
is accented with Host Slate.  
Multicolor version of a Pyrite Sun that
is accented with Host Slate.  
Multicolor version of a Pyrite Sun that
is accented with Host Slate.  
Multicolor version of a Pyrite Sun that
is accented with Host Slate.  
Rare Multi-texture, Multicolor Pyrite Sun from Sparta, Illinois
This pyrite sun is so unique and rare that we really do not want to sell it so quickly.
This piece has fragmented pyrite stepped formations mixed with shale to create a
very special 3 dimensional artistic presentation. This specimen is very mesmerizing
and quickly became a focal point in our display cabinet.

This piece weighs 1.3 oz (37.5g) and measures 2.3 x 2 (60.7 x 51.7mm)
and steps from 0.14" (3.7mm) up to 0.30" (7.66mm)
Item # PYRS08138722
Rare Multi-texture, Multicolor
Pyrite Sun from Sparta
Illinois

$59.00
Pyrite Sun from Sparta, Illinois
Sparkles in natural light! Angled to show patterns on the specimen. This piece measures 3.3" (8.4cm) Diameter with a
thickness up to 0.39" (10mm). This specimen weighs 6 oz or 0.37 lb (170g)
Item # PYRS09134812A
3.3 Inch Pyrite Sun from
Sparta Illinois

$35.00
Pyrite Sun from Sparta, Illinois
Sparkles in natural light! Angled to show patterns on the specimen. This piece measures 3.5" to 3.6" (8.9 to 9.2cm)
Diameter with a thickness up to 0.38" (9.6mm). This specimen weighs 6.5 oz or 0.41 lb (186g)
Item # PYRS09135812A
3.5 to 3.6 Inch Pyrite Sun
from Sparta Illinois

$35.00
Pyrite Sun from Sparta, Illinois
Sparkles in natural light! Angled to show patterns on the specimen. This piece measures 3.5" (8.9cm) Diameter with a
thickness up to 0.36" (9.2mm). This specimen weighs 6.3 oz or 0.39 lb (180g)
Item # PYRS09136812A
3.5 Inch Pyrite Sun from
Sparta Illinois

$35.00
Pyrite Sun from Sparta, Illinois
Sparkles in natural light! Angled to show patterns on the specimen. This piece measures 4.0 to 4.1" (10.3 to 10.4cm)
Diameter with a thickness up to 0.32" (8.1mm). This specimen weighs 7.7 oz or 0.48 lb (220g)
Item # PYRS09137812A
4.0 to 4.1 Inch Pyrite Sun
from Sparta Illinois

$38.00
Pyrite Sun from Sparta, Illinois
Sparkles in natural light! Angled to show patterns on the specimen. This piece measures 4.5" to 4.6" (11.4 to 11.7cm)
Diameter with a thickness up to 0.32" (8.2mm). This specimen weighs 11 oz or 0.68 lb (311g)
Item # PYRS09138812A
4.5 to 4.6 Inch Pyrite Sun
from Sparta Illinois

$45.00
Pyrite Sun from Sparta, Illinois
Sparkles in natural light! Angled to show patterns on the specimen. This piece measures 4.1" to 4.6" (10.6 to 11.2cm)
Diameter with a thickness up to 0.32" (8.2mm). This specimen weighs 7.7 oz or 0.48 lb (218g)
Item # PYRS09139812A
4.1 to 4.6 Inch Pyrite Sun Spade
from Sparta Illinois

$49.00