The Mineral jasper

Slab of Yellow & Brown Jasper

Jasper is an opaque form of Chalcedony, which is a microcrystalline variety of the mineral Quartz. It often contains an abundance of impurities, and therefore some regard it as a rock instead of a mineral. Jasper is usually associated with brown, yellow, or reddish colors, but may be used to describe other opaque colors of Chalcedony such as dark or mottled green and orange. Some forms of Jasper are banded, and these banded Jaspers may appear similar to Agate, but unlike Agate they are opaque. When Jasper is dull and lacking interesting colors or patterns, it is not Jasper but rather Chert.

For additional information, see the gemstone section on Jasper.

Chemical Formula



Brown, yellow, orange, red, green, or blue. May also refer to any form of opaque Chalcedony in all colors. Jasper is usually multicolored or banded.

Crystal System



6.5 - 7
Specific Gravity
2.7 - 2.7
Other ID Marks
1) Sometimes fluorescent.
2) Triboluminescent
3) Piezoelectric

Crystal Habits

Jasper is a microcrystalline form of the mineral Quartz, and does not occur in visible crystals. It most often is in massive form, but may also be botryoidal, mammilary, and stalactitic formations, as smooth rounded pebbles, and as nodules.

Additional Information

Silicon dioxide, usually with impurities of iron oxides or organic substances.
In Group
Silicates; Tectosilicates; Silica Group
Striking Features
Color habits and hardness
Occurs in all mineral environments.
Rock Type
Igneous, Sedimentary, Metamorphic


There are several variety names for Jasper generally used by collectors and dealers, but there is also an abundance of variety names that are made up by dealers to describe a locality or other habit. The varieties section below will only list well-known names that are commonly used.
 -   Opaque multicolored Jasper, or Jasper with banding; may also refer to a single stone with a combination of both Agate and Jasper.
 -   Incorrectly refers to a black, fine-grained variety of Jasper. The proper definition of Basanite is a low-grade Obsidian.
 -   Jasper from Biggs Junction, Oregon, with varying light and dark color brown bands and pretty formations.
 -   Jasper in rounded fragments naturally cemented together in a gray material; appears similar to breccia.
 -   Jasper from Bruneau Canyon, in Owyhee County, Idaho, with distinctive brown, cream, (and sometimes even red or green) banding and patterns.
 -   Reddish Jasper found near Cave Creek in Maricopa County, Arizona.
 -   Jasper from a deposit slightly east of Biggs Junction, Oregon, near the Deschutes River, with good banding and interesting color formations.
 -   Form of Orbicular Jasper with white and gray circles on a red background. It is found as rounded pebbles on the beaches of Egypt. A similar Jasper is found on the beaches of Washington state and sometimes also labelled as Egyptian Jasper.
 -   Jasper with a light to dark green color. Green Jasper differs from Prase and Plasma since it is fully opaque.
 -   May be used as a synonym for Jasper, but more often refers to Orbicular Jasper with concentric rings of colorless or white Quartz.
 -   Leopard Jasper is a form of Orbicular Jasper with tan color rings, appearing similar to the spots of a leopard.
 -   Jasper found in Morgan Hill, California, with small reddish and yellow "poppy" formations. Sometimes synonymous with "Poppy Jasper".
 -   Multicolored Jasper from the Owyhee River gorge in Malheur Co., Oregon.
 -   Form of Jasper or Chalcedony containing dense inclusions of green Hornblende that cause the pattern to resemble moss. Often used as a synonym for Moss Agate.
 -   Ocean Jasper is a form of Orbicular Jasper found on the coast of Madagascar with small, tight, concentric ring formations.
 -   Opal Jasper is a form of Brecciated Jasper in which the cementing material is Opal.
 -   Jasper with rounded concentric rings throughout.
 -   Form of Jasper with scenic picture formations found near the Owyhee River in Oregon.
 -   Form of Jasper with scenic picture-like formations.
 -   Poppy Jasper is a form of yellow Orbicular Jasper with red concentric rings.
 -   Jasper with banded stripes, usually dark red, brown, yellow, or white bands.
 -   Jasper in the form of Banded Jasper with think banded lines.
 -   Green form of Jasper from the Rogue River in Oregon.
 -   Jasper from Russia, usually with reddish spots.
 -   Yellowish type of Jasper in the form of Brecciated Jasper from Stone Canyon (near San Miguel), California.
 -   Jasper from Wasco Co., Oregon, with irregular yellow, pink, and red concentric bands.
 -   Dark brown Jasper with lighter brown to white colored banding streaks.


Jasper is a well-know ornamental stone. It is is carved into ornamental objects, and is used as an inexpensive gemstone in jewelry, most commonly as beads in necklaces, bracelets, and earrings. It is a favorite among amateur gem cutters, as it is very diverse and fairly inexpensive.

Noteworthy Localities

Jasper is very common and is found worldwide.

Common Mineral Associations

Quartz, Calcite

Distingushing Similar Minerals

Jasper is unique and when taking its high hardness into account it can generally be distinguished from most minerals.

jasper Photos


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