1. Ocean Jasper Spherulitic Chalcedony
2. History of Kabamby Ocean Jasper
3. More Ocean Jasper Facts
4. Article Photos
5. Ocean Jasper | Explore Our Collection
6. Read More
Kabamby Ocean Jasper Spherulitic Chalcedony
Kabamby ocean jasper as this stone is also known is a rare and colourful material that's long been described as a variety of orbicular jasper. It can only be found on the north west coast of Madagascar but the original stone is now completely mined out.
Orbicular jaspers are known for their orb-like or small spherical markings. Stones can be found in many countries around the world but the variety known as ocean jasper is unique to Madagascar.
The colours are caused by various mineral inclusions. Red comes from iron in the form of the mineral hematite, yellow or grey is clay and shades of brown tend to be from goethite.
Ocean jasper is a registered trade name for what is now known to be a spherulitic chalcedony. Chalcedony is a cryptocrystalline variety of quartz. Cryptocrystalline means its crystals are too small to be seen with the naked eye. A spherulite is a small rounded body often with a radiating structure made up of fibrous needle-shaped crystals. They mostly occur in vitreous volcanic rocks. The greyish white inclusions in snowflake obsidian are spherulites. In ocean jasper the sperulites sit between grains of chalcedony and quartz.
History of Kabamby Ocean Jasper
The deposit where ocean jasper was first documented to have been found in the 1950's was incorrectly recorded as Kabamba which is central Madagascar. It should have been documented as Kabamby which is a remote location on the north west coast. For this reason it was quickly forgotten about and remained hidden until it was rediscovered almost fifty years later.
There is some evidence to suggest ocean jasper from Kabamby was discovered even earlier. On a receipt dated 1927 associated with a stone owned by German mining engineer and mineral collector Richard Baldauf [1848 -1931], ocean jasper was referred to as "augenjaspis" meaning "eye jasper".
Renewed interest in finding the deposit followed the publication in 1977 of a photo of a particularly striking stone in a French encyclopaedia of minerals. Twenty two years later in 1999 the area where ocean jasper could be found was finally rediscovered. The remote location that wasn't accessible by road plus the fact the area was only visible during low tide, had contributed to the difficulty in finding it.
With the only access being by sea, large mechanical digging equipment could not be used. The stone was therefore extracted by hand before being taken by boat to the nearest large town.
Ocean jasper was first introduced to the world at the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show in 2001.
A total of seven deposits have been found so far but most if not all are now completely mined out. The original deposit was exhausted by 2006.
Kabamby ocean jasper is often confused for kambaba jasper. Kambaba is also known as kabamba after the area in the Bongolava region of Madagascar where it's found. The two stones are quite different but due to articles online constantly being reproduced incorrectly, facts about both have become completely mixed up.
A Few More Ocean Jasper Facts
When used for its metaphysical properties ocean jasper can clear, balance and align the chakras. It can also be used to improve patience and understanding. A stone of serenity and fulfillment, ocean jasper is perfect for those who feel run down because of the pressures of work. Its gentle nurturing energies bring a sense of calmness and relaxation to the mind, body and spirit.
Kabamby ocean jasper grades 6.5 to 7 on Mohs scale of mineral hardness. Being a relatively hard stone makes it fairly easy to cut and polish.
The photo at the top of our page was taken by us in London's Natural History Museum. The ocean jasper in our second photo is from our own collection.