They say every picture tells a story – well if one gemstone could speak, we would want it to be Picture Jasper! This stone shows just how amazing Mother Nature can be at times. Picture Jasper, a remarkable form of brown Jasper, is characterized by masterful “scenes” and landscape patterns that some people believe to contain hidden messages from the past!
Picture Jasper is an opaque, microcrystalline variety of Quartz with extraordinary colour bands and flow patterns. This artistry is created by petrified mud, dendritic inclusions, and high iron content. It forms most often in shades and combinations of brown, beige, light gold, tan or ivory, though other colours such as red and blue may be present. On cut or polished stones, these colour variations appear as detailed images or “scenes”. Because of its unique landscape patterns, Picture Jasper is one of the most famous varieties of Jasper known around the world.
Picture Jasper is a relatively rare stone that forms in extremely ancient volcanic ash beds that date back to the Upper Cretaceous period, around 100 million years ago. This type of formation is mainly found in multiple sites along the Muddy River in the desert of Jasper County, South Dakota. However, remnants of opal mining produce the same look. Those cuts usually come from Brazil, Indonesia, and a handful of countries in Africa.
Throughout history, Picture Jasper has held many purposes. Ancient civilizations treated them as sacred stones with protective qualities and used them to grant strength and courage. Ancient Egyptians used the stone as a jewellery material while the Minoans used it to make seals. Picture Jasper was used by American Indians to search the land for water. They believed that the stone helped heighten the searcher’s sensitivity to the elements of the earth. Even today, in some cultures, Picture Jasper is considered a symbol of power, abundance, and status.
Picture Jasper has been used in ancient times as a material for dishes, vases, and weapons. At one time it was used to make bow drills. In modern times, Picture Jasper is well sought after for decorative and ornamental purposes. More recently it has become popular within crafting and jewellery-making spheres, often fashioned into beads, cabochons and pendants.
Picture Jasper is a type of Jasper, which is an opaque and impure variety of Quartz that contains variable amounts of other mineral impurities. Geologists refer to a stone of this composition as “chert”’ or a hard and opaque rock made of Silica. Historians classify it as “flint,” a hard rock consisting of chert. The stone is rated 6.5 to 7.0 on the MOHs hardness scale, which means it’s tough and durable enough for cutting and polishing applications that involve abrasion.
Picture Jasper is said to represent the “Rainbow Bridge” connecting Heaven and Earth. It is believed to be a stone of happy dreams, as well as bringing calming reassurance to oneself during periods of stress or worry. It is said to soothe those who are grieving the loss of a loved one or pet and help one to focus on the present moment rather than dwelling on what has been, or what may be yet to come.