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Jasper, often referred to as the “supreme nurturer” in gemological circles, holds a prominent position in the world of semi-precious stones. With its earthy tones and intricate patterns, this gemstone has fascinated civilizations for millennia.
Rooted deeply in history and diverse in its appearance, jasper is more than just a stone; it’s a reflection of nature’s artistry. Let’s explore the mystique and allure surrounding this captivating gemstone.
What is a Jasper Gemstone?
The Jasper gemstone is an aggregate of multigranular chalcedony or quartz – different specialists categorize it differently, especially when it comes to its multiple variations. It’s an opaque variety of silica and it usually contains up to 20% of foreign materials which are what give the Jasper gemstone its many color variations. For example, the most famous jasper variety, red jasper, gets its hue from the presence of iron.
Because of their unique chemical makeup, Jasper gemstones can come in literally thousands of variations based not just on their color but also on their geographical origin, their patterns, their shape, and so on.
Some of the more famous types of Jasper gemstones to look for include Biggs Jasper, African Jasper, Brazilian Jasper, Imperial Jasper, Carrasite Jasper, Jasper Beads, Mookaite Jasper, Kambaba Jasper, Ocean Jasper, Noreena Jasper, Picture Jasper and Zebra Jasper. We’ll talk about Jasper types in more detail below.
Funnily enough, jasper is often under-appreciated outside of the jewelry industry. That’s probably because it’s not a precious gemstone, with its uses extending to other products such as such as vases, snuff boxes and seals.
The name Jasper means “spotted or speckled stone”. Depending on who you ask, the origins of this name can be either from Ancient Greek, Arabic, Hebrew, Latin or from Old French, although some even think that it just comes from the English name “Jasper”.
Types of Jasper
Just like quartz or agate, there are hundreds of Jasper varieties available, making it a versatile gemstone. Jasper comes in a range of hues and natural patterns, giving you endless options to choose from when shopping.
It would take too long to give an exhaustive list here, but here’s a quick rundown of some of the main Jasper types:
- Agate Jasper – This refers to stones that combines both agate and Jasper. It can also refer to Jasper gemstones that display multicolor or banded patterns, similar to agate.
- Biggs Jasper – This refers to Jasper found in the Biggs Junction area in Oregon. It’s found in shades of brown with beautiful patterns.
- Green Jasper – A fully opaque type of Jasper found in varying shades of green. Green Jasper is a highly popular variety and was extensively used in the past.
- Ocean Jasper – This variety showcases patterns with concentric circles. It’s found on Madagascar coasts.
- Zebra Jasper – Refers to the coloring and the pattern, with alternating dark brown and light brown to white Jasper strips.
- Morrisonite – This is a multicolored Jasper variety found only in the Owyhee River gorge in Oregon.
- Picture Jasper – This type of Jasper has beautiful patterns resembling pictures.
Jasper Gemstones in Jewelry
Jasper is a gemstone steeped in earthy allure and seamlessly marries the worlds of chic classicism and bohemian charm. A striking feature of jasper lies in its distinctive patterns and spots, ensuring that every piece of jewelry crafted from it stands apart, celebrating individuality.
1. Necklaces & Bracelets
Jasper beads, reflecting a mosaic of earth’s artistry, are commonly strung together to create necklaces that make a statement. These beads also lend their charm to bracelets, embracing wrists with nature’s palette.
2. Earrings & Rings
Beyond beads, jasper is often fashioned into centerpieces for earrings – a whisper of nature dangling from the ears. The stone’s durability, marked by its 7 rank on the Mohs scale, lends it exceptionally well to rings, too.
In fact, for those looking for an engagement ring that diverges from the norm, jasper emerges as a compelling choice.
3. Inlay Work
Jasper’s visual complexity makes it ideal for inlay work. This is beautifully exemplified in male and female wedding bands where jasper inlays lend both depth and narrative
What Metals Does Jasper Pair Well With?
When it comes to pairing jasper with metals, several options stand out, each enhancing the natural beauty of this stone in unique ways:
The cool, understated luster of silver forms a stunning contrast with the earthy and warm tones commonly found in jasper stones. This contrast allows the intricate patterns and colors of jasper to stand out, making it particularly suitable for bohemian and contemporary designs.
Silver’s adaptability means it can be molded into a variety of designs, from intricate patterns that mirror jasper’s natural artistry to sleek, modern settings.
Compared to gold or platinum, silver is more affordable, making it a popular choice for crafting everyday jasper jewelry.
2. Gold (Yellow and Rose)
The intrinsic warmth of gold, especially yellow and rose variants, complements the earthy tones of many jasper stones. This pairing results in a cohesive, harmonious look. Gold adds a touch of opulence to jasper pieces, elevating them from casual wear to more luxurious settings. Different shades of gold can highlight different aspects of the jasper. For instance, rose gold can accentuate the redder tones in the stone, while yellow gold can bring out its golden or brown hues.
3. Bronze & Copper
Both bronze and copper have a vintage charm, with their rich, reddish-brown hues. When paired with jasper, they enhance its rustic, ancient appeal, reminiscent of artifacts or heirloom pieces. Both these metals and jasper have earthy undertones. This natural resonance makes them a harmonious pairing, especially for jewelry pieces with a raw or organic design.
The ability to oxidize and develop a patina over time means that bronze and copper can evolve in appearance, creating a dynamic setting for the jasper as they age.
How to Choose Jasper Gemstone Color
As a stone that can come in many different colors, the Jasper gemstone gives the consumer plenty of choices.
It comes in most of the main colors such as red, brown, yellow, green, and rarely even blue. What’s more, even though the Jasper gemstone can be solid in color, it almost always includes various spots, streaks, and other deviations which are what gives it its unique look.
The red, green and blue varieties are the most sought-after, with yellow being sometimes and ignored, and brown – much more so. There are also white, black, gray and orange Jasper gemstones.
Nowadays, the red Jasper gemstone variations are the most frequently seen and used largely because they are the most abundantly found in nature.
Green Jasper gemstones seemed to have been very popular as well, to a point where you can be left with the impression that this is actually the more common color variety.
Jasper gemstone antiques are almost always green and the stone was often compared to emeralds and other green gemstones. Today, the green variation of the Jasper gemstone is often categorized as chalcedony and emerald-like Jasper gemstones are known to be rarer than red ones.
Which color you should choose, however, depends entirely on your personal preferences and jewelry design choices. All Jasper gemstones are typically not chosen for their prestige, so go with whichever color works better for you.
Jasper Gemstones and Clarity
The Jasper gemstone refractive index is categorized as 1.54 – 1.55. It has a double refraction of 0.009 and is opaque in its transparency. In other words, clarity is not the strongest suit of the Jasper gemstone. With up to 20% inclusions in many Jasper gemstones that’s just the nature of the stone.
Don’t look for brilliance or light performance with this gemstone. It’s their rich colors and complex streaks and spot patterns that make them so beautiful.
There are clear Jasper gemstones, ones with almost no inclusions, which are sought after by certain jewelers, especially when they are white in color. In these cases, the stone can look almost clear, but most of the time but these are rare and not the typical look of Jasper.
Jasper Gemstone Cut
Jasper gemstones are typically cut in beads or cabochons as they are typically used in necklaces, bracelets, rings and pendants. They are sometimes faceted to add depth and texture to the stone, but smooth cuts bring out the patterns and body color of the stone best.
You’ll also find carvings made of jasper, as the stone lends itself well to being shaped easily.
Jasper Gemstone Carat Sizes
Jasper gemstones can come in all carat sizes since they are commonly found. However, it’s important to note that a Jasper gemstone’s carat size can also be a bit deceptive, especially for colored stones. They can have varied size-to-weight ratios – some stones can be large but light while others are smaller but can be heavier. In other words, don’t rely on the carat weight to judge Jasper’s size. Focus on its dimensional size instead.
Cleaning and Caring for Jasper Gemstone Jewelry
When it comes to cleaning a Jasper gemstone we’d generally advise against the use of ultrasonic cleaners or steam cleaners. Instead, simple and careful use of a warm, soapy water mixture with a soft cloth or a brush should be enough.
As a variety of quartz, Jasper is relatively hard and durable so as long as the soap mixture isn’t too strong and abrasive, it should be alright. Remember not to soak a Jasper gemstone, however, as it’s also porous and can easily absorb other materials and get stains.
As far as general maintenance and caring are concerned, make sure to avoid prolonged heat exposure as heating Jasper can lead to a change in color. Also, while quartz stones like the Jasper gemstone are stronger than most, they can still be scratched by diamonds, sapphires, topaz or spinel stones so it’s smart to not store them in the same box or pouch. If you have to store a Jasper gemstone together with diamonds, for example, it’s advisable to at least wrap them in cloth beforehand.
What’s the Difference Between Jasper vs. Agate?
Jasper and agate are both made of quartz and have very similar composition. Quartz is one of the most abundant minerals on earth, consisting of macrocrystalline and cryptocrystalline varieties.
Both Jasper and agate are gemstones in the cryptocrystalline category, of the variety known as chalcedony. These gemstones have very fine grains and are smooth and lustrous.
So how do you differentiate between Jasper and agate?
It comes down to transparency and the patterns on the stone.
Agate is translucent and has banded patterns, while Jasper is opaque and has a variety of patterns, including banded, spotted and striated.
One of the ways to tell the two apart is by holding a light behind the stone. If the light shines through, it’s an agate. If it doesn’t, it’s Jasper.
Are There Enhanced or Imitation Jasper Gemstones?
Jasper gemstones aren’t purposefully enhanced as often as other gemstones. The main type of enhancement you can expect is for the stone to be dyed. This can be done either to achieve a specific artistic effect, enhancing the body tone or to imitate a different type of gemstone.
Jasper imitations are not common as the gemstone is quite affordable and easily available. However, you may come across plastic or glass imitations, so watch out for these. Check with your retailer as to the origin of the gemstone and purchase from a reputable store.
Jasper Gemstone Meaning and Symbolism
Because of its unique natural artistry, the Jasper gemstone is often referred to as the “Supreme Nurturer”. It’s categorized as an elemental Earth stone and it’s believed to have a warm, harmonious energy that resonates with our primal selves.02.
In the past, Jasper gemstones were worn by kings, priests, and shamans from multiple civilizations because of the properties the stones are said to possess. It’s a part of the symbolism of the “Supreme Nurturer” that helps ground the wearer’s aura, it provides stability, comfort, and security, and it also has strength and healing properties. Its presence in a person’s aura is meant to add balance, peace, and wholeness.
In Christianity, the Jasper gemstone is believed to be the rock on which apostle Peter would build his Church. In other religions, Jasper gemstones were carved and engraved with symbols from the Egyptian book of the dead and buried with people’s mummified remains to give them safe passage through to the afterlife. In Judaism, a Jasper gemstone was the twelfth stone in the Breastplate of the Jewish High Priest.
Where to Buy Jasper Jewelry
When it comes to buying jasper online, there are several reputable platforms where you can explore diverse collections of this earthy gemstone:
Recognized for its vast range of gemstone jewelry, Angara certainly does not disappoint jasper enthusiasts. With a wide array of settings, styles, and designs, the platform provides ample choices for those looking to buy jasper pieces. The site’s user-friendly interface and detailed descriptions make it easy for customers to make informed decisions. Check out Angara here.
2. Brilliant Earth
While more famed for its ethically sourced diamonds, Brilliant Earth occasionally offers jasper in their diverse gemstone catalog. If you’re looking for pieces that combine both ethical sourcing and stylish designs, Brilliant Earth might just have the perfect jasper jewelry for you. Check them out here.
For those seeking unique, handcrafted jasper pieces, Etsy is a haven. The platform boasts a plethora of artisanal creations ranging from simple jasper bead necklaces to intricately designed rings. Vintage jasper jewelry finds are also a specialty on Etsy, making it an exciting platform for both collectors and enthusiasts. Browse Etsy here.
The retail giant offers a mix of both commercial and artisanal jasper jewelry. You’ll find everything from simple jasper pendants to elaborate statement pieces. The platform also provides a space for independent artisans, so it’s not uncommon to stumble upon vintage or handcrafted jasper treasures. Search Amazon here.
In the vast realm of gemstone jewelry, jasper stands out with its earthy hues and distinctive patterns, offering a unique blend of nature’s artistry and human craftsmanship. Whether you’re drawn to its deep symbolism or its sheer aesthetic appeal, jasper jewelry effortlessly marries timelessness with character. For those seeking pieces that tell a story, resonate with nature’s essence, and make a style statement, jasper proves to be an ever-enchanting choice.