Here is a sturdy table fetish/sculpture of a mountain lion, protective and hunting Guardian of the North, in Zuni lore. That is the tradition behind this carving; the material is exceptionally non-traditional peacock pyrite.
This amazingly handsome stone looks like something out of a treasure cave, but is a mineral called chalcopyrite. A form of pyrite (often called Fool’s Gold), chalcopyrite takes on glittering iridescent hues when it becomes tarnished. When polished, the gold-lookalike metal becomes visible. The carver has adroitly used both properties of this fairy-tale-looking stone in his mountain lion.
The traditional color for mountain lion fetishes is yellow, so the gleaming gold surfaces are right in line. But the artist wanted to retain the magical iridescence of the stone, as well, so some areas are polished, and some are left rough, exposing the gorgeous range of hues. Inlaid turquoise forms the eyes, but all the rest of the piece is solid pyrite.
Fascinating stone and established artist together create a truly unique mountain lion fetish.