1. Jasper Type of Chalcedony
2. Healing Properties of Jasper
4. Identifying Different Jaspers
5. Some History of Jasper
6. Varieties of Jasper
7. Our Collection of Jasper
8. More Information
Jasper Variety of the Mineral Chalcedony
Jasper which is a well known stone in the world of rocks and minerals is a microcrystalline variety of the mineral chalcedony. Microcrystalline means its crystals are too small to be seen with the naked eye. Although often referred to as a mineral jasper is in fact a rock because although made up primarily of the minerals quartz and/or chalcedony, it often features impurities of other minerals and substances. Not only is this the reason why jasper is opaque but the impurities are also responsible for the stone's many different colours and markings.
The presence of iron oxides usually in the form of hematite turns jasper red, clay introduces a yellowish white or grey colour and the mineral the mineral goethite causes shades yellow and brown. Jasper stones often exhibit more than one colour and whilst blue is rare, shades of red, yellow and brown are most common although many other colours can often be seen.
The formation of jasper begins when loose sediments become stuck together which happens when groundwater containing silica that has seeped into sedimentary rock subsequently dries up. The silica then acts like a glue and cements everything together. The different types of sediment will determine the colours present in the jasper whilst the stone's patterns are often the result of the motion of natural forces that brought the sediment (or volcanic ash) together.
Well known for its wide variety of colours and markings jasper is widely used for decorative purposes and also for gemstones. A relatively hard material which grades 6½ to 7 on Mohs scale of mineral hardness, different varieties can be found in almost every country in the world.
Healing Properties of Jasper
Jasper stones are widely used in conjunction with alternative therapies such as healing and reiki. Although the many different varieties have their own unique properties, in general jasper is considered to be profoundly grounding with strong healing and nurturing abilities. It can be used to re-align the chakras which is important because when out of alignment you can feel as if you're being pulled in all directions. Jasper is also associated with deep relaxation, calmness and tranquility and is a great companion for those having to deal with stressful situations. It's a protective stone which absorbs negative energy which means it should be recharged regularly. The colours present in jasper are not sensitive to light so stones can be placed outside in the shade on a sunny day or be left to absorb the energy from the moon
Identifying Different Jasper Stones
Identification of the many different types of jasper that can be found around the world is sometimes made slightly easier because the first part of the name may offer a clue to a specific characteristic or the locality where the stone is mined. Dalmatian, leopardskin and zebra jasper all exhibit markings said to resemble the respective animals. Landscape, scenic and picture jasper are all types of mudstone and mookaite which comes from Western Australian is named after Mooka Creek where it's mined. There are literally hundreds of different names but many including noreena, polychrome, poppy and imperial to name just a few offer little or no clue to the origins or characteristics of the stone.
Red Jasper Veined with Quartz. Clickable Photo. Stone Mania ©
Some History of Jasper
Although known for thousands of years the stone that was referred to as jasper by ancient writers such as Theophrastus (c.371 - c.287 BC), Pliny the Elder (23 - 79 AD) and many others was not the same stone as the jasper we know today. In ancient times it was mostly described as being translucent, some stated it may also be cloudy and was often associated with 'smaragdos' the stone known today as emerald. Although documented as being green, some writers including Pliny claimed jasper also occurred in blue, purple, pink and some varieties were colourless.
It's widely believed that iaspis as it was known at that time was probably a generic name for translucent or transparent varieties of the mineral quartz that were not known by any other name. There are however indications that the mineral fluorite and even jade may also have been included in this group because it was once common for rocks and minerals to be grouped together according to colour.
The stone referred to as pink jasper is likely to have been rose quartz, blue would have been a type of chalcedony, green chrysoprase and those which exhibited hues of brown were probably smoky quartz. All of these stones were widely used as seals which has helped historians to identify them correctly.
Jasper is known to have been used as a carving material for thousands of years and was especially popular for use in jewellery. There are references to it in Greek, Hebrew, Assyrian and Latin literature and in the Bible (Exodus 28.20) jasper is identified as one of the gemstones in the high priest breastplate. Iaspis is said to have been the third stone in the fourth row of this sacred garment.
Popular Varieties of Jasper
- Landscape, Picture , Scenic (varieties of mudstone)
- Mookaite (Australian Jasper)
- Owyhee (type of picture jasper)
- Willow Creek
Our Collection of Jasper Stones