The word jasper originated from the Greek word meaning “spotted stone”. It is a semiprecious stone composed of mostly chalcedony, microcrystalline quartz along with other minerals which provides patterns and colorful bands. The characteristic patters of the particular stone give it its name – landscape, ribbon, orbicular and picture. Among these varieties, the landscape type is the most popular as it offers a small panorama in stone. This semi-precious gemstone is found in India, Germany, U.S.A, Sicily, North Africa, France and many more countries. It is an opaque fine grained stone which is found in a multitude of colors such as yellow, pink, brown, green, grey/white and shades of blue and purple. The patterns and colorful bands are formed due to the organic material and mineral oxides within the stone matrix. Massachusetts has this stone as its State Rock. The stone is moderately hard, rating a 6.5-7 on Mohs scale.
As discussed earlier, this stone occurs in nature with a wide variety of patterns and colors. Dalmatian variety is off white in color with black spots like a Dalmatian dog, and it is believed to give protection from nightmare and increases patience of an individual. The fancy type occurs in colors ranging from off-white to beige with swirls of green, grey and lavender, and is said to help alleviate depression and bring mental and physical well being. Green Jasper is used to keep the balance between the physical and spiritual side. The leopard type may have orangish tan color with red, yellow, dark brown, pink or black spots. It resembles the fur of a leopard which used to improve the vibrations of the body. The red form of this gemstone is believed to offer protection, helps in sense of smell, promotes physical energy etc. The Rainbow variety of the stone is used as tonic for good health. Ocean jasper has wavy greenish gray, beige, pink, maroon or white and it helps in breathing during meditation.
This gemstone is widely popular in the design and making of fashion jewelry. This popularity can largely be attributed to the varieties of stone that are readily available in the market today. This large range of colors and patterns mean that the stone can be paired with base metals like copper, as well as with precious metals like silver. In fact, a darker variety of gemstone combines beautifully with a brilliant sterling silver setting. In addition to being used in fashion jewelry, it is also used to create ornate decorative bowls and other objects.
It is believed that it can strengthen the stomach and cure the gynecological troubles. It is also used to drive away evil spirits and protect against the bites of snake and spider. It is known to protect against the dangers of the night and is mentioned in the bible several times. The red variety is used to bring luck for actors. These stones help to balance the emotional energy in the body. It is associated with Leos and Virgos and it is the birthstone of people who born in the month of October. While cutting, extreme care should be taken because banded varieties have a tendency to separate along the layers.