I have to get something off my chest. First, let me say I know very little about the history of the evolution and conflict between Russia and Ukraine. I also think I understand why NATO cannot (or will not) get involved for the fear of starting another world war or the use of nuclear weapons.
My heart is heavy, heavy, heavy.
How can the world sit back and watch the destruction? How can we watch innocent people tortured and killed and simply sit back and observe the atrocities?
Won’t history hold us all accountable?
Is it possible there is NO solution?
What if this was happening on our soil?
I just cannot balance the reality and futility.
I am not expecting or looking for answers, but am simply screaming in the darkness.
Pull up a chair – I’ve got lots of ‘splaining’ to do. Of all the gemstones and minerals that carry the wrong or creative marketing names, jasper has to be one of the most misidentified.
I do not find jasper easy to define, but I will give it my best shot. There are various definitions and they do not always agree. Jasper is a microcrystalline form of quartz. Here’s where it gets tricky. Chalcedony is also a microcrystalline form of quartz and most agree jasper is an opaque form of chalcedony and agates are translucent forms of chalcedony. Regardless, both are microcrystalline forms of quartz. Agates are translucent and jasper is opaque. The definitions get more complicated but we will stop here.
Jasper is usually associated with more earthy colors, reds, greens, browns and sometimes yellows. These colors, the patterns, and the opaqueness come from the impurities it contains. Jasper comes in at 6.5-7 on the Mohs hardness scale.
All quartz, chalcedony, agates, and jasper carry the risk of silicosis when cut or ground. Quartz is rated high for silicosis. Although chalcedony, agates and jaspers are rated as low toxicity they are all from the quartz family and it is important to wear a mask when cutting this material. Some minerals also contain copper which can be dangerous to the endocrine and central nervous system. If you want to do lapidary work, learn about the stones you want to cut.
I fell in love with a beautiful yellow stone known as bumblebee jasper which is not a jasper at all. It is a calcite made up of realgar, orpiment, and pyrite that comes from volcanic fissures near Mount Papandayanin Indonesia. I have several pieces, but I have not used it for jewelry or attempted to cut it because you see realgar and orpiment both contain arsenic. I can find articles that say it is safe to handle and wear and just as many that say it is not. I will admire its beauty from a safe distance.
Other jaspers that are not jaspers at all include dalmation jasper (which is actually feldspar), Picasso jasper (actually a dolomite marble), and ocean jasper which might be a jasper or an agate or a chalcedony. The photos below are a mix and match of some stones I have cut. Now just which ones are jaspers, which are agates, and which are fossils? I am not 100% sure I know the right answer! The first test I recommend is to shine a light (I used my iPhone) behind it and see if the light shines through. I was surprised how many we’re actually agates and not jasper.
I am not aware of any commercial applications for jasper. The patterns to me, make this one of the most interesting stones to work with, both in cutting and designing jewelry. It is also extremely affordable.