Gemstone Guide: Jasper
Over the past few months, we’ve been highlighting some of our favorite gemstones including amethyst, turquoise, and Larimar. Today we’ll be talking about another beautiful gemstone, jasper– particularly red jasper.
We’ll show you a few of our favorite pieces of red jasper jewelry as well as help you understand what makes it such a popular gemstone.
Let’s get started!
What is Jasper?
While jasper jewelry has been around since the days of the ancient Greeks, the word jasper is actually French, and means “speckled stone.”
That’s an accurate name if I’ve ever heard one! Chemically speaking, jasper is an opaque form of silica quartz. However, its beauty comes from inclusions of other minerals and elements that give jasper its unique speckled, spotted, or banded appearance.
The Many Shades of Jasper
Jasper actually comes in quite a few beautiful colors, including green, yellow, blue, red, black, and many more. These colors are the result of chemical “inclusions” within the stone itself. Different chemicals produce different colors and some colors are more common than others.
Even though there are dozens of varieties of jasper, red jasper is by far the most commonly found and most often used in jewelry around the world.
Where is Jasper Found?
As I mentioned earlier, unique combinations of chemicals produce different colors of jasper. This means that some colors are found only in certain locations. Some forms, like Mookaite jasper (found only in Mooka Creek in Australia) are named after where they’re found. Other forms get their color from very specific combinations of chemicals found in the areas where they’re mined.
In general, however, jasper is more common than many other gemstones, meaning it’s not only beautiful, it’s affordable, too! In fact, it’s mined all over the world. You’ll find jewelry made from jasper mined in Oregon, Australia, Europe, Mexico, and around the world.
5 Fun Facts About Jasper
- Jasper is the birthstone for March.
- Some of the earliest drill bits in history were made from jasper– nearly 8,000 years ago!
- Red jasper is believed to have many spiritual properties– including the ability to prevent car crashes! Don’t forget to buckle up anyway, though!
- Jasper is the state rock of Massachusetts.
- Some pieces of jasper can actually be a window to the past, containing ancient volcanic gases and mud!
Working with Jasper
Jasper Throughout History
For over 2500 years, jasper has been used to make jewelry like rings. The beautiful green jasper ring pictured here dates back to somewhere between 300 and 600 BC.
In addition to jewelry, Jasper has been used for more utilitarian uses as well. Just look at this seal from around the year 1300, used for creating wax seals on letters and important documents.
Red Jasper Today
When it’s mined, jasper is usually quite rough and needs to be polished before it can be used to make gorgeous pieces of jewelry. You’ll commonly find red jasper in beaded necklaces, pendants, bracelets, rings, and earrings, as well as many other pieces of jewelry.
Once it’s polished, many artisan jewelry makers enjoy working with jasper because it’s a stone that is easy to work with, yet hard enough to be durable. Because of this, jasper jewelry doesn’t require as much special care as more fragile stones due to its hardness and other chemical properties.
Our Favorite Pieces of Red Jasper Jewelry
We just love red jasper! It’s one of our favorite stones and one that many of the traditional artists we work with love, too. Let’s take a look at a few of our favorite pieces of red jasper jewelry.
Jasper & Sterling Silver Butterfly Necklace
Matching Pieces & Inlay Options Available
Isn’t this red jasper and sterling silver butterfly necklace just gorgeous? It’s inspired by classic, vintage designs and the niello-darkened finish adds texture and really makes the red jasper inlays pop!
Ask us about other special order inlay options, or take a look at a few matching pieces like these red jasper and silver butterfly earrings:
950 Silver & Jasper Fan Necklace
Inlay Options & Custom Sizing Available
This beautiful Taxco silver necklace with red jasper inlay is one of our most popular necklaces and with good reason! It’s simply stunning!
The contoured panels showcase for a gorgeous blend of 950 Taxco silver and colorful red jasper inlays. You’ll love the way the necklace fans across your collarbone. It’s an amazingly flattering style that looks great on everyone. If you’re looking for a lightweight, elegant statement piece, look no further than this red jasper necklace!
This necklace is also available in a variety of inlay options, including turquoise, malachite, amber, treated larimar, and more! And don’t forget to ask us if you need a special size!
Red Jasper & Silver Cuff
Inlay Options & Matching Pieces Available!
Do you love geometric designs as much as we do? If so, you’ll absolutely love this red jasper and silver cuff bracelet. The craftsmanship on this piece is just incredible. Deep, rich red jasper inlays stand out against the niello finish of the silver cuff.
It’s the perfect piece for any occasion! Plus we carry a few beautiful matching pieces like this one-of-a-kind boho chic chiclet necklace:
Contact us for more information about special order inlay options.
Wearing Red Jasper Jewelry
Like many of the stones we feature in our jewelry, red jasper is extremely versatile and can work with nearly any outfit. You can dress it up for a special occasion, or wear it with casual clothes every day of the week!
Additionally, the dark red colors of our jasper help it to pair well with a wide variety of clothing, hair colors, and skin tones. No matter what your style is like, you’re sure to find a piece of red jasper you’ll want to wear!
Plus, since it’s a tougher, hardier stone, you won’t need to be as concerned with chipping or cracking it! Just put it on and love the way you look!
Do You Love Red Jasper?
If you love red jasper as much as we do, let us know in the comments below! And don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter so you can be the first to know about our new products and great monthly sales!
Photo Credits: Jessa and Mark Anderson, Wikipedia, Portable Antiquities, Matthew Sharp, KaseyEriksen