In the 19th century, America’s obsession with Westward expansion was combined with the promise of gold in the California hills. Needless to say, this led many young entrepreneurs to strike out on their own, traveling across the continent to pan for gold in hopes of securing vast wealth. Some of these miners were disappointed to discover that their treasures were actually fool’s gold.
Iron pyrite proves the adage that “all that glistens is not gold.” But that’s not to say that fool’s gold isn’t desirable in its own right. As a decorative piece, iron pyrite has a way of drawing admiring eyes. It makes for an interesting conversation piece as well, especially if the owner can trick his guests into believing it’s a lump of pure gold.
The popularity of last year’s action blockbuster “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” brought renewed interest to a niche of Mesoamerican art. Crystal skulls have been discovered as artifacts and stored in museums and private collections. These skulls are themselves replicas of actual human skulls with some level of artistic license. The shape and color of the crystal goes a long way in determining a piece’s overall aesthetic effect.
Modern day craftsmen and craftswomen continue the tradition of carving crystal skulls. There are numerous apocryphal tales that imbue these skulls with supernatural powers. They have been said to cure diseases or enable the owner to become clairvoyant. For most people, however, crystal skulls make a striking decorative piece for the home.