Introduction to Jaspers

Jasper is an opaque variety of Chalcedony, and is usually associated with brown, yellow, or reddish colors. Sometimes referred to as the "First Cousin" to agate stones. Jasper is almost always multicolored, with unique color patterns and habits. Agates are also a variety of Chalcedony but are translucent.

Both Jasper and Agates are in the quartz family which is composed of the mineral silicon dioxide. Chalcedony is a form of quartz made of tiny crystals called microcrystalline crystals. Agates and jaspers are made of microcrystalline crystals and are put into the category of Chalcedony.

Agates are translucent to semitransparent chalcedony. Some light can still pass through agates. Jaspers are opaque where no light can pass through. They both are made of microcrystals but in agates the crystals are larger fibrous quartz crystals, which results in it being translucent. The crystals in jasper are small, round grains of quartz crystal, which pack together tightly and do not allow light to pass.

Jasper forms when fine particulate materials are cemented by silica. This often occurs in soft sediments when silica precipitates and cements them into a solid mass. These included particulates are what give jasper its color and opacity. A sedimentary material known as chert forms in extensive bedded deposits, and as an opaque variety of chalcedony it receives the name “jasper.” Jaspers are also known to form when volcanic ash is cemented into a solid material from the precipitation of silica from solution.

There are many colors of jasper in the market place with many trade names. To name a few: picture jasper, ocean jasper, rain tree forest jasper, porcelain jasper, red jasper.



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