One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A rare mineral occurring mainly in serpentinites and hydrothermal vein deposits as yellowish or greenish tabular or platy crystals; (also attributive) designating a group of minerals having a similar crystal structure.
Mid 19th century; earliest use found in James Dana (1813–1895), geologist, zoologist, and teacher. From pyro- + classical Latin aurum gold + -ite, after Swedish pyroaurit, so called because it turns golden-yellow on moderate heating.
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