Monday, June 7, 2010

Sea Jasper

Sea Jasper

Birthstone Month:
Jasper is associated with the birthstone month of January.

Jasper is associated with the zodiac signs of Aquarius and Leo.

Chemical Symbol:

Chemical Make-up:
Jasper is a microcrystalline variety of Quartz, and a member of the Chalcedony family. It often contains organic material and iron oxides that account for its interesting patterns, bands, and colors.

History & Lore:
The name Jasper means “spotted stone”, and is ultimately derived from the Persian word 'yashp'. Ocean Jasper is mined near the ocean, thus the name.

Jasper was a favorite gemstone of ancient times and can be traced back to Greek, Hebrew, Persian, Latin, and Assyrian literature.

Jasper is a protective stone and is said to align the chakras and balance the yin and yang energies. In legend, Jasper was believed to protect against evil spirits and forces, and was also believed to bring courage and relief from pain. It is also said to protect against venomous snake and spider bites.

Sea Jasper is a recently discovered gemstone that is enjoying increasing popularity. Currently supply meets demand, though deposits may possibly dry up in the future.

Sea Jasper was recently discovered along with Ocean Jasper on the northwest coast of Madagascar, where it is mined along the ocean during low tide.

Sea Jasper is rated at 6.5 to 7 on the Moh's Scale of Hardness and should be protected from scratches and sharp blows. Sea Jasper, being volcanic in origin, is rich in silica and is the product of rhyolitic flow. It is a translucent green gemstone with areas of yellow to yellowish orange, and scattered, small spots of opaque white. This unique stone technically should be labeled as an Agate because Jaspers are described as being an opaque variety of Chalcedony.

The value of Sea Jasper is determined by the saturation and richness of the colors, the level of translucency, and the design in which it is formed.

Common Cuts:
Jasper has been used for sculptures, bowls, vases, seals, and other ornamentation purposes dating back thousands of years. As a gemstone, Sea Jasper is most commonly found cut into cabochons and beads.

Routine Enhancements:
There are no known enhancements for Sea Jasper.

Care & Cleaning:
Jaspers are often sealed with petroleum products therefore they should not be cleaned with water because it can remove the coating / polish. It is best to clean your Jasper jewelry with a soft dry cloth. As with most gemstones, Jaspers should be kept away from prolonged exposure to extremes of heat and household chemicals that can damage the stone. Always keep your Jasper jewelry in a fabric-lined box away from other jewelry items in order to avoid damage / scratching.


  1. Sea jasper, sea agate, and ocean agate are other names for a unique find called Ocean Jasper (qv). In the trade, sea jasper is commonly known (and trademarked!) Ocean Jasper. It was discovered nearly 100 years ago, but its location was lost before mining could begin. It was rediscovered by Paul Obiniche, who spent 45 days exploring the northwest coast of Madagascar before he found it. Ocean jasper is inaccessible except by boat at low tide. Unlike many mining operations, ocean jasper miners have been fairly compensated, and profits shared to build schools and clinics and to teach lapidary skills. The sole deposit of this unique orbicular jasper was mined out in late 2006 and prices for the "old!) material are going up slowly. I have not seen this stone sealed with petroleum products, probably because it is such an unusually hard form of jasper. Actually more agate than jasper (since it is volcanic and highly silicified), it takes a brilliant polish. The two examples shown here don't even scratch the surface of the colors and patterns that have been brought out. (Look for other pix listed under "Ocean Jasper.") Name a color combination and I've seen it. Many of the orbs look like tiny planets with rings. About the only "lore" I've heard about ocean jasper is that it aids circular beathing for meditation.

  2. We have a beautiful Tortoise made from Sea Jasper which I purchased in 1998 from a dealer in Simonstown, South Africa. It measures 26cm in length, 19cm in width and is 13 cm high; it weighs a staggering 5.4Kgs. The workmanship and detail are so realistic and the different colours in the Sea Jasper are a real beauty to behold. I bought it as a birthday present for my wife so I do not want to sell it but I would appreciate any advise on obtaining a "present day" valuation. We live in Bristol, UK so if anybody can recommend a good local company that has the required knowledge and expertise to provide a valuation of this work of art I would be most grateful if you could "point me" in the right direction.

    1. I would love to see some pix of this carving. It is said to have been made in 1998, before the rediscovery of Ocean/Sea Jasper. It may actually be a new type of orbicular stone. After the original vein of OJ was exhausted, miners followed the land in the hope it could be found again. They discovered a few surface areas of the stone, but they played out within months. BTW,the most striking quality of OJ are the multitude of tiny orbs of various colors against a background of different colors. A small area of the mine produced some transparent/translucent pieces, with complete orbs "floating" in the matrix. Some dyed OJ was produced in the early years, so if you see an ocean jasper colored completely in cyan, fuschia, etc., know that the stone has been dyed. Virtually no blue or true purple OJ was ever found, and although a green background is not rare, green orbs are quite uncommon. has the best article on OJ in English.