Past blog hops and challenges

Friday, April 11, 2014

Today is the letter "J" for the Blogging from A-Z Challenge

Today’s topic starts with the letter “J”. 
It’s a very versatile stone and can be found in many shapes, especially if you are a jewelry designer.  It’s an opaque form of chalcedony, quartz, and opal, usually red, brown, green or yellow in color.  It is one of the traditional birthstones for March.  It is derived from the Old French “jaspre” and Latin “iaspidem” meaning “spotted or speckled stone”.  It is Jasper.

Jasper outcropping Romania

Because of the way it would fracture into a smooth round surface like a scallop shell, it was used as a tool by Stone Age man in the form of arrowheads.  It can be highly polished and used for vases, seals, and snuff boxes.  It has been around since the ancient world where it was carved to produce seals, amulets, and carvings.  It was used as bow drills (an ancient way of starting fires) between the 4th and 5th millennium BC. 
In ancient times, jasper was believed to be a transparent stone with a distinct green color where it was compared to emeralds and other green objects.  Stones of that time would probably be considered chalcedony or chrysoprase today.  It has been suggested that red jasper was the first stone of the High Priest’s breastplate and yellow jasper was the tenth stone. 
Jasper has many varieties due to the minerals in the stones, such as, iron and nickel.  Jaspers have many names based on the where the stone was found, a description of the stone’s pattern, or they could have fanciful name such as “Forest Fire” or “Rainbow”.  They can also have descriptive names such as “Autumn”, “Dalmatian”, or “Picture” Jasper. 

Dalmatian jasper
Picture jasper

Chrysoprase is one variety of jasper that is a very pretty apple green color but can vary to a dark green.  Fine grade examples without flaws can be very expensive.  I have some beads that have a dark brown inclusion in them.  When I was first looking for this stone, I would call it a “mint chocolate chip” color. 

Chrysoprase found in Poland

Thanks for stopping by.  Please be sure to stop by again tomorrow when the letter of the day is "K".


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