Jasper is derived from the Greek for "spotted stone". Jasper is usually considered a chalcedony, but put by scientists in a group by itself because of its grainy structure. The finely grained, dense jasper contains up to twenty percent foreign materials that determine its color, streak and appearance. Uniform jasper is rare. It usually is multicolored, striped spotted or flamed.
Some of the most treasured gems are those that show a picture that appears to be taken from nature, called "landscapes". Oregon's Biggs Jasper is now the most common source. Another specialty is bloodstone or blood jasper, also known as "heliotrope", a dark green chalcedony or jasper with flecks of red. Bloodstone is the Zodiac birthstone for Aries.
Where is Jasper found?
Common Jasper treatments
Jasper legends & lore
Jasper comes in all colors, mostly striped, spotted or flamed. A variety of trade names specify colors, appearance or composition.
Agate jasper: Yellow, brown or green blended, grown together with agate
Egyptian jasper: Strongly yellow and red
Banded jasper: Layered structure with more or less wide bands
Basanite: Fine-grained black
Blood jasper: Bloodstone, dark green with flecks of red
Hornstone: Very fine grained, gray, brown-red, more rarely green or black
Scenic jasper: Brown marking caused by iron oxide, resembling a landscape. Oregon's "Biggs Jasper" is now the most common source. "Bruneau Jasper", from Bruneau Canyon, Idaho, is praised for its blue "skies".
Moukaite: Pink to light red, cloudy
Plasma: Dark green, sometimes with white or yellow spots
Silex: Yellow and brown-red spotted or striped
There is no recommendation for color. The saturation of the color defines the value. The choice will more often depend on taste for the appearance and composition of the stone.
Most jasper is opaque and takes an excellent polish.
Jasper is used for ornamental objects, cabochons and stone mosaics. Care must be taken during cutting. Banded jasper tends to separate along the layers.
Jasper location and deposits
Jasper is found in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Egypt, India, Kazakhstan, Madagascar, Russia, Uruguay and the United States.
Common Jasper treatments
Jasper didn't make it yet into the hall of fame for gemstones.
Color: All colors, mostly striped or spotted
Chemical composition: SiO2 silicon dioxide
Crystal system: (Trigonal) microcrystalline aggregate
Hardness: 6.5 - 7 (Mohs scale)
Specific gravity: 2.58 - 2.91
Refractive index: About 1.54
Color of streak: White, yellow, brown, red
Absorption spectrum: Cannot be evaluated
The Jasper zodiac, myth & legend
The name bloodstone, as it indicates, goes back to ancient Christianity, believing that Jesus Christ's blood dripped from the cross onto a dark green stone that lay beneath it.
Bloodstone is the Zodiac stone for Aries.
In Antiquity, as well as in the Middle Ages people believed that the cosmos is reflected in gemstones. The bloodstone is assigned to the planets Mars and Pluto. The esoteric movement revived the ancient belief and the gem industry made it another marketing tool to promote certain gems.
The healing powers of gems remain a controversial issue, but are mentioned for centuries by healers, shamans and medicine men. Whether it's a fact or a placebo effect doesn't matter, if it helps. The safest approach is to wear the gemstone in skin contact to the troubled part of the body. Jasper is said to be of help for pancreas, sciatica and troubled toenails.