Genetic Classification Jasper: Siliceous Rock
Jasper Physical Properties
The best jaspers are mined in Russia’s Urals (mostly the Southern Urals, between Miass and Orsk), in the Altai Mountains and North Caucasus. The most exotic speckled jaspers are found in Mount Polkovnik in Orsk. Jasper is also mined in Ukraine, Eastern Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, USA (patterned jasper from Maine and Arizona), Germany (Saxony), and Venezuela. For centuries, jasper has been mined in Egypt and India.
Application: Jasper is a solid mineral that comes in massive monoliths, in a wide array of colors, and exhibiting beautiful patterns.
They started using jasper to make highly artistic items, such as vases, floor lamps and other décor accessories for royal interiors, in the XVIII-XIX centuries.
Polished plates of landscape jasper are used as pictures that are highly appreciated by the connoisseurs of stones. Currently, they use jasper to make jewelry (such as brooches, pendants, cuff links), as well as writing materials and other souvenirs.
The discovery of jasper in the Urals refers to 1742 and is connected with Catherine’s prospector Fyodor Babin, his son Peter and apprentice Kirill Obvischev. They found four deposits of red and green jasper in the Tura River in 1742 (in the Middle Urals).
In 1743, in the Tura River, cutter Nesentsov with the Yekaterinburg cutting factory discovered dark red jasper with yellow spots.
For almost ten years, the jasper quarries in the Middle Urals were the only quarries which jasper was used to master jasper mining and cutting techniques. According to the old documents, “polished” and “humid” jaspers were considered the best (by “humid” they meant well-polished minerals which looked shiny and moist).
Finding jasper turned out pretty easy. Rich in colors, it was easily spotted. It developed the power of observation and ability to see a beautiful stone in a natural environment. People often relied on pure luck – they would notice jasper patterns on rocks after a heavy rain or under the roots of a wind-fallen tree.
However, jasper proved not easy to mine. To separate a layer, they used wooden wedges. They hammered them in and poured water over them so they would swell and tear the rock out. If it didn’t help, they made fires along the crack, poured some water over the red-hot rock and started striking it with hammers. Fire. Water. Hammers… The rock yielded. However, often all they got were just some small fragment that had broken off.
In 1751, Semen Cheremisinov of Orenburg found “speckled iaspis-like stone” in the mines near Lake Irtyash (the Sothern Urals). In November, Bashkir foreman Agildy Satangulov announced finding green jasper on the midday side of the Chebarkul castle near the Sanarka River.
The following year, in early spring, Bashkirs Umer Yumyshev and Yangildy Biekldishev found light green jaspers on the Beshelyal and Kandabulak Rivers and a red agate-like stone with white streaks on a hill surrounded by swamps near the village of Urazovo. It was Urazovo jasper, also known as meat agate.
This chain of discoveries lead to the discovery of South Ural jasper, one of the most beautiful varieties of jasper, which overshadowed all jaspers found in the Middle Urals and it’s understandable. The jasper in the Middle Urals is mostly one-color, while here, in the Southern Urals, it’s a feast of rich colors, deep contrasts of “hot” – red and “cold” – snow white colors. The cavities and cracks were filled with chalcedony, while the rest was coarse-grain white non-translucent quartz, wriggling like the skeleton of some mysterious body.
The beauty of Urazovo jasper is a restless beauty. It was hard to believe it would submit to an artist. Yet, half a century later, it did. That artist was a talented Russian decorator A. Voronikhin, a fan of classic, ascetic and simple forms, and elegant proportions.
Voronikhin couldn’t be bolder in his search for multi-color solutions. His task was to subdue nature’s wild imagination to a clear, completed and well-balanced form, and it was perfectly fulfilled each time.
Here’s one of the vases. It’s baluster-shaped. It has bronze figures of Egyptians on its wide shoulders resting against the column of its crown. They’re serious and thoughtful. Their arms are folded. You can’t help feeling serenity coming from this Urazovo jasper, the one that was described by us as a mineral with a restless beauty.
The artist has managed to adjust the stone’s “state” to the mood of the bronze grace with amazing ease. The tall vase is split horizontally with small, simple architectural profiles. The stone is literally ruled with it, conforming to their rhythm. This allowed the artist to “calm down” the color craziness of Urazovo jasper and combine it with the statics of bronze.
Urazovo jasper is seen in all its wild beauty in two pairs of vases which were provided to the Hermitage by the Kolyvan polishing factory. Here the bronze authoritatively ties, in elegantly stretched volutes, from the leg to the shoulder, the strong, round, almost spherical body of the vase.
The struggle between the stone and bronze is accumulated in the strong bodies of the roaring bronze panthers. Only half a century separates these two vases, the gems of the Russian stone cutting, from the first jasper quarries in the Southern Urals, from the time when Russia had neither stone nor stone cutting traditions of its own.
What’s jasper? Stonecutters and jewelers call jasper any dense siliceous rock that looks glossy and shiny when polished. Mineralogists call jasper only dense rocks consisting of tiny quartz grains soldered together either by clay or siliceous concrete or chalcedony. Geologists first tried to unravel the mystery of this stone’s origin back in the XVIII – XIX centuries but they are still arguing about it.
Academician A. Fersman depicted the origin of jasper in a curious way. He wrote, “A few hundred million years ago, in the so called Devonian period, there was no such thing as the modern Ural mountain ridge. Those places that are now the mountain ranges of the Southern Urals would either be shallow waters or a deeper sea with separate islands. Although there were no traces of orogenic activity yet, there were lava flows and underwater volcanic eruptions disturbing the peaceful life of the Devonian sea. On the bottom of the sea, flooded by lava, there was fauna in the form of various animals with siliceous skeletons – sponges and radiolarians.” Their remains were accumulating on the deep ocean floor forming layers of siliceous ooze that would soon become jasper.
Millions of years later, orogenic processes gave rise to the Ural Mountain Range and, eventually, jasper. The jasper belt is 1,200 km long and runs along the eastern slope of the mountain range. It can be compared with a necklace because the belt is not solid but consists of separate jasper locations. Currently, geologists claim there are 207 jasper deposits in 12 such locations.
What are the advantages of jasper? Jasper is a very hard stone. You can’t scratch it even with steel. It’s not easy to work with, however a polished stone keeps its shine for a very long time. Jasper never fades like some gemstones do. The greatest advantage of jasper is its colors – color combinations forming unique patterns. Sometimes the colors are so delicate and complex that a polished stone looks out of this world.
We use one-color, speckled, striped and print jaspers. No mineral has more color variations than jasper: reddish-brown, green, yellow and pale yellow, cherry, coffee-colored, black and blue from over 20 deposits.
Some jaspers have no quartz or chalcedony at all. They consist mostly of feldspar (such as greenish gray Kalkan jasper from the Southern Urals – transformed volcanic pyroxene-plagioclase tufa). Among jasperoids, there are the famous Altai Revnevsk and Goltsovsk jaspers (jasperoid hornstones – contact-metamorphized fine-grained clay slates), Korgon jasper (felsite porphyry) and others.
These jaspers are famous due to the stone cutting masterpieces created by the Kolyvan factory in the 19 century, including the dark blue and blue-gray jasper fireplaces of the Moscow Kremlin and 20-ton Kolyvan Vase with a 6-meter long oval mouth made of striated green Revnevsk jasper. This beautiful 1.3-meter tall vase made of Kalkan jasper is displayed in the Hermitage. Industrial jasper (as a rule, one-color gray or dark green jasper) is used to make mortars, rollers, pins and knife-edges of measuring devices.
Medicinal Properties Jasper
Healers and alchemists have been using jasper for centuries to treat various diseases. For example, red minerals were believed to be able to treat “women’s” diseases. Red jasper was also considered to have styptic properties. In some countries, jasper was used to treat stomach, kidney, urinary bladder and eyesight diseases. A well-known alchemist and healer Avitsenn recommended wearing jasper near the stomach to prevent gastrointestinal diseases (he used jasper for it, too). Lithotherapists believe that jasper can treat mental diseases, improve sleep, and help patients get rid of insomnia and nightmares.
The effect of jasper on chakras is unknown.
Magic Properties Jasper
Jasper has been used in magiс rituals since earliest times. It was believed to have magic properties, such as, for instance, protecting homes from curious people and the evil eye. They would lay jasper flooring in homes and temples to ensure that unwanted people wouldn’t get in their secret compartments and rooms. In many countries, they used jasper tableware, bowls and vases in magic rituals and kept magic accessories in jasper boxes. According to witch doctors, jasper can protect people from aggressive animals.
Practitioners of magic use jasper to influence people’s fates remotely. To that end, they set a picture of the person to influence into a jasper frame and perform their rituals.
It’s recommended that people wear jasper accessories as jasper radiates positive energy. To bring peace and harmony in your home, decorate it with jasper vases and boxes. They will protect your home against envy, anger and other negative energies surrounding us like talismans. In many countries, jasper is believed to attract good luck, happiness and wealth.
Experts in stones’ magic properties claim that if you put a jasper stone into the pocket of a person, the stone will protect this person from the evil eye and black witchcraft.
Jasper is the stone of the people born in the astrological sign of Virgo. It opens their eyes, gives them wisdom and protects against misfortune.
Talismans and Amulets Jasper
Jasper is a talisman of travelers, alchemists and scientists. A jasper ball is a great talisman that will prevent you from being reckless. Oval jasper stones are a talisman that can charge you with cosmic energy. An uncut jasper stone is a good luck talisman that can protect you from envy.
Ancient Greeks linked jasper to an ability to be resistant to poison and recover from illness. Thus, Byzantine emperor Manuel gave a jasper bowl to the monastery on Mount Athos which, according to a legend, could resist poison and cure from all illnesses.
The talisman gives wisdom, the power of clairvoyance and strength. It improves the relationships at work, with the management. Its symbolic meaning is courage.
Astrology: it’s recommended for the people born in the signs of Virgo, Sagittarius, and Taurus. It’s not recommended for such astrological signs as Gemini and Aries. The stone is connected to the energies of such plants as Jupiter and Mercury.
Medicinal Properties (Lithotherapy): orange jasper – day stones with high energy levels, broad-spectrum healing stones. Blood red jasper has great blood-purifying and styptic properties and heals wounds. Jasper improves eyesight, heart and stomach function.
Advice: For red jasper, use frames made of German silver, gold, aluminum, titan, and their alloys.
(c) witch Reddy