QUARTZ (var. JASPER)
HISTORY, NAME, LOCALITIES: The jasper variety of microcrystalline quartz (chalcedony) has been utilized since prehistoric times to fashion tools and weapons. Jasper is abundant and widespread with many collecting localities. Notable sources include Australia, Mexico, Madagascar, Canada, Morocco, Egypt, China, Russia, and the United States (Oregon, California, Idaho, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada).
MINERALOGY, PROPERTIES, OCCURRENCE: Jasper, which consists entirely of interlocked microcrystals of quartz [silicon dioxide, SiO2], is translucent to opaque and exhibits a wide range of colors and color patterns. It is a tectosilicate or framework silicate with a Mohs hardness of 6.0-7.0, conchoidal fracture, and a specific gravity of 2.62-2.66. Jasper occurs as nodules and lenses in sedimentary formations when colloidal silica suspensions lose their water and solidify into masses of microcrystalline quartz. Jasper has an extremely wide range of colors, notably deep reds, red-browns, and yellows, and often exhibits attractive, multicolored patterns.
METAPHYSICAL PROPERTIES, LORE, USES: According to modern metaphysical practitioners, jasper is a grounding stone that balances physical, emotional, and intellectual states, while instilling a deep appreciation of nature. With its rich colors, workability, and ability to take a high polish, jasper is fashioned into beads, cabochons, and various decorative objects. The most valuable forms of jasper are apple-green chrysoprase, red carnelian, and those with mottled, multicolored patterns. Jasper has no technological uses.
COLLECTOR’S INFORMATION: Jasper is collected for its range of colors and unusual color patterns.