If you've been reading this blog for any length of time, following me on Facebook, or just know me as a person, you know I'm a fan of Jasper...BIG fan of Jasper, and pretty much any Jasper will get my heart going pitter-pat. Butterflies and everything.
I think the main reason I am so enamored with Jasper is because each individual stone is so different. Much like us humans, even stones within a particular variety of Jasper are so different. And each individual stone wants to be treated differently, wrapped differently, viewed differently, which stretches me as an artist.
This month I wanted to talk about Imperial and Royal Imperial Jasper, which I don't think I've talked about before with you. What's the difference, you ask? Well, let me just tell you...
Imperial Jasper and Royal Imperial Jasper are both dense, very fine grained and exceptionally hard Jaspers. Because of their fine grain, porcelain jaspers are harder and take an excellent polish.
Imperial Jasper is found near the border of Jalisco and Zacatecas, Mexico, about 50 miles northwest of Guadalajara. The site covers a large area on a steep slope of a canyon, covered by heavy vegetation.
Royal Imperial Jasper is found over the ridge to the east of Imperial Jasper. It was actually found first as a surface float in the 1980's. The larger deposit of Imperial Jasper was not discovered until the 1990's. (1)
Imperial Jasper forms in veins or large nodules in a host rock. It is known for coming in many colors, but each piece is usually limited to just one or maybe two colors.
The Royal Imperial Jasper is very similar to Imperial Jasper, but is formed in much smaller nodules with a white chalky skin. The Royal Imperial Jasper is also known for is patterns of orbs or "eggs". Imperial Jasper rarely has these patterns, but Royal Imperial Jasper almost always does.
In my research for this blog, I found out that often Jasper and Agate are confused for one another. So guess what? There's an easy way to tell. Put light behind the material. If you can see light through it, it’s Agate. If you can’t, it’s Jasper. Additionally, on a microscopic level, you can see the difference between Jasper and Agate based on their crystal structure. Agate is a fibrous cryptocrystalline, which is visible to the naked eye in its areas of translucence. Jasper is grainy cryptocrystalline, and this manifests to the naked eye in its opacity. (Thank you, Dakota Stones, for that great nugget of information).
Here are some 'afters' of both Imperial and Royal Imperial Jaspers, all of which can be seen in person (and purchased) at Kress Emporium in downtown Asheville or at one of my upcoming shows. While these are not custom, I have more unwrapped Jasper in stock that I can make the perfect custom piece of jewelry for you.
Treat yourself like royalty...with Royal Imperial Jasper.
Until next month, Your Majesty,