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Kambaba Jasper Properties, Facts and Photos

polished kambaba stone from Madagascar

1. What is Kambaba Jasper?
2. Kambaba Jasper Geology
3. Kambaba Healing Properties
4  Article Pictures
5. Shop Kambaba Jasper

What is Kambaba Jasper?

Kambaba Jasper, also known as Crocodile Jasper and Kabamba Stone, can only be found in Madagascar. Much of the geological information about this relatively rare and distinctive material is vague and inaccurate.

Although often referred to as a mineral, Kambaba Jasper is a rock.

I was first introduced to Kambaba Jasper in India in 2002 whilst visiting a supplier.  They told me it was called Star Galaxy Jasper.  Upon returning home, I discovered that it was a trade name used only by gem-cutters in Jaipur.

Outside of India, Kambaba Jasper is also known as Green Stromatolite Jasper.  A stromatolite is a rock-like structure that forms in shallow waters from the build-up of a group of bacteria called cyanobacteria.

Also known as blue-green algae, cyanobacteria have a fossil record that dates back almost three and a half billion years.  For this reason, some claim the stone known as Kambaba Jasper is more than three billion years old.

kambaba jasper stone

Kambaba Jasper Geology

Having researched and written about rocks and minerals for more than twenty years, I'm aware that not everything you read about them is accurate, especially in content published online. 

The main reason is that so many articles are plagiarised, and few people check for accuracy before republishing an article written by someone else.

While researching Kambaba Jasper, not one article that I read gave detailed or accurate geological information about the stone.  Nor could I find any details regarding where in Madagascar it was found.   

I then stumbled across a relatively old thread in The Fossil Forum.  It was started by someone who asked whether kambaba jasper was a stromatolite.  The replies, which covered several pages, featured arguments for and against.

Having read the entire thread, I found this comment particularly interesting;

"I’ve been sitting on my hands trying to stay out of this debate. There's a lot of hokum and claptrap kicking around concerning this material which has created considerable confusion. Kambaba Jasper is an invented name for what was hailed in the fringes of the lapidary world as a new material but isn’t.  It's a relatively newly-discovered exposure of an already known material. It has been studied by experts and isn’t stromatolitic or even sedimentary, at least not in the samples that have been analysed.

The EPI (Institut für Edelstein Prufüng) or Institute for Gemstone Testing in Germany published a detailed report in one of its bulletins.  Unfortunately they're only available to members and only in German. Nevertheless paraphrasing from their findings; thin-section and X-Ray diffraction analyses have shown the kabamba material is not a type of jasper at all, it is instead volcanic.  The green groundmass is composed mainly of quartz, pyroxene (aegirine) with orbs of alkali feldspar embedded with streaky aggregates comprising tiny needles of amphibole (riebeckite to pargasite).

The formation is not fully understood but is most likely to be a volcanic rock that has been “overprinted” by a weak metamorphism.

In mineral composition it’s very similar to a rock originating in Mexico that’s generally referred to in the lapidary world as “Eldarite”.  The colour is the reverse of the Madagascan material. Eldarite has a dark groundmass and pale orb-like patterns whereas Kabamba Jasper has a pale groundmass and dark orbicles.

Eldarite is also known in America as “Nebula Stone” because after being polished, the patterns resemble nebulae in outer space. The two rocks are nevertheless sufficiently similar from a mineralogical perspective that the EPI recommends the names “Eldarite” and “Kambaba” (with its several spelling variations) should be regarded as synonyms. They also advise the name Kabamba Jasper should be replaced by Kabamba Stone."

(Here's the original thread) large slab of kambaba jasper stone

The thread had been closed for some time, so I asked in another mineralogical forum that I use whether someone could shed any light on exactly what Kambaba Jasper or Kabamba stone, was.

I received an interesting response from mineralogist and author Marco Campos-Venuti, who had spent time working in Madagascar.

He explained the reason for the confusion over whether Kambaba Jasper is a stromatolite is because two different materials, both with similar names, have over time become mixed up.

Kambaba Jasper or Kabamba as it's known locally, comes from a small area in Madagascar called Kabamba.  Located in the central-western Bongolava region, the name is sometimes written as Kambaba.

This material is an oncolite stromatolite, a rock-like structure that forms in shallow seas.  It's made up of bacteria that have over time, been replaced by silica.

The stone for which it's being mistaken is Kabamby Ocean Jasper, often shortened to Ocean Jasper.  Like Kambaba, it's only found in Madagascar.  It was first discovered close to the remote village of Kabamby on the country's northwest coast.

A type of spherulitic chalcedony, Kabamby Ocean Jasper forms in a totally different way.  For this reason, from a geological perspective, it's a different stone. It's neither a stromatolite nor a sedimentary rock.

Kabamby Ocean Jasper is likely to have been the material that was examined by the Institute of Gemstone Testing in Germany.

Confusion over the names of the two stones, where they're found and repeated plagiarism of inaccurate articles, has led to no end of confusion.
four kambaba jasper cabochons isolated on a white backgroundSome great photos of both stones and my original post in the forum can be found here.  You'll need to scroll almost to the end to see Marco's comments and photos.

Regarding hardness, which refers to scratch resistance, not toughness, Kambaba Jasper grades 6.5 to 7 on the Mohs scale. In geology hardness and toughness are not the same.

Healing Properties of Kambaba Jasper

Kambaba Jasper has a nurturing and grounding energy, which is a healing property associated with all varieties of Jasper.

It brings stability and security and facilitates a deep connection with nature.

Kambaba Jasper encourages a sense of unity, harmony, and reverence for the natural world.  It heightens awareness of the environment and allows for a greater appreciation of its beauty.

The grounding properties of Kambaba Jasper anchor you to Earth's energy restoring balance and harmony.  It melts away stress, anxiety and feelings of being disconnected.

Kambaba Jasper cleanses and purifies the human energy field, removing negativity and promoting vitality. It can help you feel more energised, rejuvenated and aligned with the natural flow of life-force energy.

It can be used to understand your purpose, passions and values, and how they align with your life's direction.

It enhances intuition, allowing you to trust your instincts and make choices that will have a more positive outcome. 

Kambaba Jasper is a stone for those with a passion for life.  It ignites creativity and inspires you to pursue passions and interests with energy and enthusiasm.

Article Pictures

The Kambaba Jasper stones in our first two pictures are from our collection. The third picture is courtesy of Marco Campos-Venuti. The first photo is clickable and redirects to the original image.

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