Pyrite may be prepared artificially by gently heating ferrous sulphide with sulphur, or as brassy octahedra and cubes by slowly heating an intimate mixture of ferric oxide, sulphur and salammoniac. It is insoluble in dilute acids, but dissolves in nitric acid with separation of sulphur.
It has a somewhat brassy colour, and occurs massive or as hexagonal plates; it is attracted by a magnet and is sometimes itself magnetic. The mineral is abundant in Canada, where the presence of about 5% of nickel makes it a valuable ore of this metal.
The massive mineral sometimes occurs in mammillary and botryoidal forms with a smooth brassy surface, and is then known to Cornish miners as "blistercopper-ore."