This is a beautiful specimen of North Carolina Pyrite in matrix.
Mohs Hardness of 6.5 with a cubic crystal structure. Pyrite occurs as cubes or as "pyritohedra", which have twelve faces, and each of those faces having five edges. It has been used in the jewelry industry for thousands of years, as specimens have been found in the ancient civilizations of the Greeks, Romans and the Incas.
Today it is most often used for costume jewelry, but being as brittle and fragile as it is, it requires very careful cutting.Cultures in ancient Mexico made scrying mirrors out of pyrite; they were created by polishing one side flat, to use for scrying, while the rounded side was carved with mystical symbols to assist in the scrying process. Cultures around the world cared amulets for protection and magic from pyrite, it was even one of the first healing stones to be used in a Shaman's bag.
Pyrite found it's name from the Greek word pyr, which means 'fire', the French call it Pierre de Sante, meaning "stone of health" as they say it positively effects the body's health.
The matrix is pyrophyllite a aluminum silicate hydroxide in the disilicate subclass of minerals. Pyrophyllite has cleavage in one direction. It is sheet like, with a flakey fracture.
Both earth and fire energies are captured within the pyrite stone; a perfect tool to assist in balancing (or activating) the root (1st) or base chakra. Pyrite helps one to communicate more openly and honestly, providing both emotional and physical protection. If you are indecisive, or unsure about something, carry a pyrite with you as a touchstone to help boost your self confidence. The reflective qualities of the stone make it a wonderful meditation or divination tool....just as the ancient Inca's used it.
Pyrite increases physical stamina, stimulates the intellect and helps to transform thought into intelligent action. It is a wonderful stone for use in wealth magic or assisting in manifestation of needed energies. An excellent shield-stone, pyrite removes negativity from the aura to help one concentrate.
Pyrite is said to balance hormonal rhythms, and to ease the discomfort of menstruation. It is also useful in clearing up confusion of one's physical symptoms so as to generate a more accurate diagnosis. Pyrite "suns" draw pain from the body, as well as assist in easing depression symptoms. It is also said to help in reducing swelling or reducing fevers when used directly on the physical body.