Jasper is the opaque variety of Quartz, which occurs in a diversity of colors, from green, red and brown to yellow, grayish and even black. The color depends on admixture it contains. It can be iron, oxides, or even organic matter. Jasper is a durable stone. Therefore, this gem is suitable for cutting and polishing. As a result, Jasper fits jewelry purposes, though, its frequent use as an ornamental stone.
Jasper got its name from the Hebrew word “yashpeh,” which is very similar in pronunciation. We can prove the version of its origin by seeking the fact in the Scriptures, where this gem is the twelfth stone in the breastplate of the High Priest. However, there are also Greek and Latin transcription of this word.
History and ancient usage of Jasper
Our ancestors knew Jasper and esteemed it in a high degree. There is an opinion that Emerald of the Greeks and Romans was nothing but the green Jasper. It is evident since the ancients used their so-called “Emerald” to create the pillars to their temples. Moreover, these specimens of “Emerald” have been cut in one piece. It follows that the ancients couldn’t use an Emerald to create such immense buildings, due to its lack sufficient. However, they had Jasper in abundance, and they could use it for these purposes.
The ancients also used Jasper to create cameos and intaglios. Moreover, our predecessors used the sophisticated ideas, to create the cameos, made of Jasper. For example, it could be a figure of a warrior whose head made of Red Jasper. His body, in turn, was of black yellow jasper with white stripes. Jasper is the stone of engraving of the portraits of famous military leaders and kings.
Jasper has always been in vogue in China. The seals belonging to the Chinese emperor were made of Jasper.
Mining & Color
The color of Jasper chiefly depends on its origin. Thus, brown Jasper obtained principally in Egypt. Red Jasper primarily comes from Germany (Breisgau and near Marburg). Yellow Jasper usually got on the market from Italy (more precisely from Sicily). It is often an element of mosaic. It also deposits near the Bay of Smyrna in Greece. Green Jasper for ornamental purposes mostly arrive comes from Russia (more precisely, from the Ural Mountains) and China. Blue Jasper is generally of German origin, where it has a nickname “Prussian blue.”
In the Middle Ages, people highly prized Jasper as an amulet, which is capable of protecting against sorrow. Speckled Jasper, according to the sources, could prevent to death by drowning. Jasper is believed to be the strongest remedy against spiders and scorpions. A powder made of Jasper, as people thought, could serve to cure diseases of the stomach, chest, and lungs.