Ocean Jasper is a rare variety of Orbicular Jasper which comes in a wide range of colours and with many different patterns. The spherical orb-like markings that are typical in this mineral are what makes it relatively easy to identify. Although Orbicular Jasper can be found in abundance in many locations worldwide, Ocean Jasper is unique to Madagascar and has only been found on one of the islands' coastlines. About 75% of the plants, animals and minerals that are found on this African island are endemic meaning they cannot be found anywhere else in the world. Sadly however, this mineral is now completely mined out which means there's little or no gem grade material left to mine. This will inevitably result in it gradually becoming more expensive and also much rarer than it already is.
It originally came to light in the 1950's but it could not be confirmed exactly where it had come from. As a result it was quickly forgotten about until a picture of a particularly beautiful specimen was published in an encyclopedia of minerals. Soon after, the source was re-discovered in a remote area on Madagascar's North West coast and the reason it had remained hidden for so long, was because it only became exposed during low tide. For this reason, access was a real issue because of the lack of any decent roads hence the mine could only be reached by sea. Initially all mining was done solely by hand as it was not possible to transport heavy lifting equipment or industrial machinery to the site.
Ocean Jasper re appeared at the International Gem and Mineral show in Tucson, Arizona in January 2000 but by 2006 the mine was exhausted.
The wide variety of colours seen in this gemstone are as a result of many different mineral inclusions. Red is Iron or Hematite, yellow or grey is clay and brown is usually Goethite. Occasionally crystals can also be seen on the surface and these pieces are known as druzy and are the result of Quartz formations. Ocean Jasper can either be opaque or translucent and when held up against a bright light, translucent stones often boast fascinating patterns and markings within the illuminated stone.
In crystal healing it is beneficial for detoxifying, stress, patience, circulation, insomnia, eczema, colds and also for bringing the body into balance. It can bring long hidden unresolved emotional issues to the surface and help one to accept responsibility.
A unique and now relatively rare mineral, ocean jasper is graded 6.5 to 7 on Mohs scale of mineral hardness.