Jasper Gemstone Information
Saying that the jasper gemstone is popular is an understatement. It has a long and storied history, giving it a sense of prominence among people from all over the world. Plus, jasper can be incredibly beautiful. And, with so many kinds to choose from, there’s essentially a type of jasper for any taste.
If you want to find out more about the jasper gemstone, including its uses, properties, history, and more, here’s a look at this amazing stone.
Jasper is often called a gemstone, but, from a scientific perspective, that isn’t the right classification. The stone is actually an opaque form of chalcedony, a microcrystalline variety of quartz. That makes jasper a mineral. However, since some pieces contain a bunch of impurities, some think of jasper as a rock.
Jasper Colors and Patterns
While the color of jasper could qualify as a property of the stone, there are so many jasper colors, that it makes more sense to break them out. Plus, different varieties can have different characteristics, like unique banding or patterns.
Usually, it’s the other nearby materials and oxidation that dictate the color of a piece of jasper. That’s why there are so many versions. With that in mind, here’s a look at some of the most popular jasper colors and patterns.
As the name suggests, the red jasper stone is often a vibrant red. The tone can be deep or bright but is typically incredibly distinct regardless.
The veining on red jasper can be lighter or darker than the main portion of the stone. You may see chocolatey brown, nearly black, or creamy white lines crisscrossing the surface, depending on the piece.
Brown jasper is distinctly earthy. The coloring tends to span from creamy whites to beige to chocolate brown. The veins or bands can be lighter or darker than the bulk of the stone, and it’s also possible to find spotted brown jasper with similar earth-tone coloring.
The green jasper stone features a variety of rich, vibrant green hues. Anything from deep forest greens to bright apple greens to pale spring greens can be found, often swirling in the same piece. In fact, finding a single-colored green jasper gemstone is actually exceptionally rare.
Most pieces of yellow jasper have a mustardy hue. Often, there are also brown bands or veins, making the yellow seem especially earthy.
However, when coupled with white bands, the yellow can seem brighter. At times, it’s bordering on lemon, making it a particularly vibrant specimen.
In comparison to many other kinds of jasper, ocean jasper is a relatively new discovery. It can have a somewhat mottled appearance thanks to the circular or oval pattern you can find on the stone. Its coloring tends to be lighter, including pale blues, grays, creams, yellows, and similar hues. However, it can also have deeper blue, gray, or greenish bands, making it very striking visually.
Picture jasper is technically a brown jasper that contains petrified mud tucked away in pockets. This creates the “picture” – which is often said to resemble landscapes – giving the stone its name.
Like brown jasper, the overall color profile is very earthy. Beiges, sandy tones, brick reds, tree bark browns, and similar colors dominate the stone.
Dragon Blood Jasper
A dragon blood jasper has a mix of green and red coloring. Those base hues can swirl around each other but usually remain quite separate (instead of blending to create a brown or black). However, there can also be hints of black and white, generally in the form of veins, adding an extra degree of visual interest.
Fancy jasper can include a variety of colors. Usually, the pieces feature a dramatic mix, combining a range of colors. Each stone could feature white, cream, pink, lilac, red, green, yellow, brown, and more.
Unakite jasper is similar to dragon blood. But, instead of red, you’ll find pink or salmon hues.
The History of Jasper
Jasper has a history dating back to ancient times. There is Assyrian, Greek, Hebrew, and Latin literature that all refer to the stone. Plus, there is evidence that suggests that Paleolithic people in the area that is now Pennsylvania used jasper to create simple tools and jewelry.
Roman and Minoan jewelry and sword hilts at times featured jasper. Additionally, some stories suggest that during the time of Ur, a Sumerian city, some believed that the earth was covered by a dome made of jasper.
In the simplest terms, jasper’s popularity and notoriety are essentially near-timeless.
Where Jasper is From
Jasper can be found all over the world, though it’s usually spotted in volcanic rock cracks and veins. Not all kinds are located in the same place. For example, ocean jasper is mainly from Madagascar, while picture jasper is more common in the northwestern United States. Red or yellow jasper can be found in Germany and Japan, as well as other places like California.
But those places are only the tip of the iceberg. Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Egypt, India, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Uruguay also have jasper sources.
Jasper jewelry abounds. Not only do these stones look good cut, but they also polish up nicely. This makes them incredibly popular for beads. Their opaqueness prevents you from seeing clearly through the vast majority of them, so you can get a good look at the patterns when jasper is in bead form.
As a result, jasper necklaces, bracelets, and earrings are typically available. Plus, since most forms of jasper aren’t overly expensive, jasper jewelry is usually reasonably affordable, too.
Jasper Stone Meaning
The jasper stone meaning varies depending on the spiritual tradition involved and, at times, the color of the jasper. Some believe that it’s a calming stone while others associate it with strength. Certain systems think that jasper can be healing or that it’s ideal for meditation.
At times, the believed meaning varies depending on the exact type of jasper. Some think that the red jasper meaning focuses on strength, courage, and empowerment. In contrast, the ocean jasper meaning is said to be joy and positive communication by certain groups.
Regardless, it’s also important to understand that there isn’t proof that holding or wearing any stone, including jasper, provides any benefits. You can’t rely on gemstones to treat or prevent any medical condition or disease. However, in most cases, wearing or holding jasper doesn’t pose any risk.
Stones Similar to Jasper
Since there are so many jasper colors, there are plenty of stones that can have similar looks. Green jasper can resemble jade, for example, and it’s easy to confuse certain pieces of agate for jasper and vice versa. Dragon blood jasper and bloodstone can have similar coloring, though their patterning is typically distinctly different.
Virtually any opaque stone with some form of pattering could resemble some kind of jasper. However, since jasper is widely available and reasonably affordable, if you want the look of jasper, going with the real thing is usually the smartest approach.