Collecting Varieties of Jasper

I have been thinking of collecting jasper stones for some time.  Recently my spouse got me started on my collection with some inexpensive items containing the newest find called Bumble Bee (which is a yellow, black, and white) jasper and a small Australian jasper called Mookaite. 

4 Jasper Varieties
Why did I think it would be such a cool stone to collect?  It is an ancient stone and jasper is one of the many stones mentioned in the Bible.  Wikipedia lists some of the stones history as “Green jasper was used to make bow drills in Mehrgarh between 4th and 5th millennium BC. Jasper is known to have been a favorite gem in the ancient world; its name can be traced back in Arabic, Persian, Hebrew, Assyrian, Greek and Latin. On Minoan Crete, jasper was carved to produce seals circa 1800 BC, as evidenced by archaeological recoveries at the palace of Knossos.  However, most people remember this stone for the reference to “walls of jasper” in heaven.  Jasper is so well known in religious circles that there is even a Gospel trio called the Walls of Jasper.

Jasper comes in a wide range of natural colors including shades of red, yellow, brown, or green.  The word jasper stands for spotted or speckled stone.  However, it can be striped or banded as well.  Jasper is a grainy, fibrous mineral referred to as cryptocrystalline, because it is made up of very small crystals. Jasper is usually named according to the patterns that may be found within it cause by the mixing of other crystals within the rock.  The most common names include the words: picture, ribbon, brachiated, Poppy, zebra, and more. Picture jasper may be one of the most popular as people often see the resemblance of a painted landscape in them.  Poppy jasper is also very popular as it looks like it is a stone full of tiny flowers.

Why would anyone else want to collect jasper?  Jasper is great for jewelry since it has a Mohs hardness between 6.5 and 7.  It is relatively inexpensive when bought as beads or purchased in pre-made jewelry.  Also, the uncut stones look great in the top of bonsai pots, miniature cactus, or potted succulent gardens.   Stones and cabochons come both polished and unpolished.  The polished pieces look nicer for jewelry and the unpolished stones appear more natural to go with plants.

Jasper is sometimes confused with agate or chalcedony, which are other members of the quartz family popular in jewelry.   Agate is typically banded in a circular pattern of cut to show the stripes.  Jewelry quality chalcedony is typically solid colors.  Rock hounds may collect some of the dendritic varieties as well.

When researching Jasper, I found a blog listing all the types that particular gem hunter knew of, a shopping site with pictures of many types, and an article that includes a few jasper identification charts.  I also found a GemstoneSelect page on how to buy jasper, how to identify it, and where it mostly comes from  around the world.    The United States is one of the biggest sources for high-quality jasper. During my research, I also found pages listing Jasper as alternate birthstones for February. March, and October.  I found some scientific data on the semi-precious gemstone of jasper as well.

If you collect jasper and know of other great websites or photo locations you would like to share, please put them in the comments below this post.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Looking to label your collection of Jasper stones? You can find all types of labels and zebra brand ribbons to start tagging your gems.