Jasper is an amazing gemstone that appears in a huge variety of colors and patterns. It is a variety of Silicone Dioxide that usually features opaque and neutral colors, including brown, yellow, red, green, and black. It is considered a type of chalcedony, but is set apart from other varieties by its opaqueness and grainy structure. Most jasper specimens also include up to 20% other substances, and can even grow together with agate or opal specimens.
The unique patterns that can be found within Jasper are absolutely unique to each and every stone. No two stones will look exactly alike and each one is created through a different process. For example, some varieties of jasper will get their patterns through the consolidation of volcanic material within the stone, while others will form cracks that are filled with a secondary mineral such as iron oxide. As the stone forms and sets, the patterns become permanent and give the stone its final appearance.
For its uniqueness, jasper is a relatively inexpensive stone. It can be used in jewelry making of all formats, including beads and cabochons, and unique specimens are also carved into pendants.
The name Jasper comes from an old French term jaspre meaning “spotted stone.” It has been used since antiquity in a variety of places- as bow drills in the Pakistan region, carved seals in Greece, and as a favorite gemstone in many countries. It is currently mined all over the world, from Russia to India, Brazil, Australia, and even the western United States.
On the metaphysical side, Jasper is a zodiac stone for Leo, Virgo, and Scorpio. Since there are so many different kinds of jasper, their metaphysical abilities shift slightly with their color. However, it is always considered to be a nurturing stone, uplifting its wearer through turbulent times and providing feelings of peacefulness. It can also be used to alleviate stomach pain and long term illness.