Locality - Madagascar Size – 134 x 47 x 18mm Weight – 140g
This ocean jasper fish is a very unusual and unique piece! It has a mottled, algae green and mustard yellow body with a dark, slate grey head, nice spotty orbicular patterns (including a distinct little 'eye' in its face), and is expertly shaped and polished. There is an interesting naturally occurring vug near its tail, adding a little extra interest. There appears to have been a repair in the tail (as seen in the last image), but this has been professionally done and does not detract from its overall aesthetics. Ocean jasper has now been mined-out and is incredibly scarce, so this rare item is a true collectors piece.
About Orbicular Jasper
Orbicular jasper is a very distinctive variety of jasper characterised by its orbicular patterns and various colours. Ocean jasper is the name given to the rare variety that occurs exclusively along the shores of Northeast Madagascar, though recent studies suggest in may in fact be a variety of chalcedony. This material has been mined since 1999, however the most abundant deposit was mined out in 2006 and though the most recent deposit was found in 2014, it was mined out in a mere three months. There have been no new deposits discovered since, and it is believed to have been finally mined to exhaustion. Due to both the ever increasing rarity and popularity of the stone, it has become incredibly scarce.
Jasper is a type of chalcedony, a variety of microcrystalline quartz. It is coloured by various mineral impurities which make up to 20% of its structure and so occurs in many different colours and patterns, though is most commonly found in brown or red hues due to an abundance of iron inclusions. Whilst it can appear as a solid colour, most pieces are mottled, spotted, ringed or striped. Jasper is typically found in veins and cracks in volcanic rocks, occasionally in igneous rocks, often together with chalcedony and agate. Though it appears at first to be opaque and is often acceptably described as so, all jasper is actually very slightly translucent, and this can be seen in thin slices when held up to a light. Jaspers occur worldwide and have an abundance of variety-specific names, many are unique to the locality they are found in.
Jasper in History
The name 'jasper' is derived from both the greek word 'iaspis' and the Old French 'jaspre', and means 'spotted stone', though the term was originally applied to green, translucent stones. Whilst there are no recorded documents of its first discovery, there is much archaeological evidence proving that jasper (in the modern sense) has been used throughout history for a variety of purposes, from making bow drills in Mehrgarh (ancient Pakistan) between 4th and 5th millennium BC to making weapons or tools by prehistoric man in Ethiopia. Ancient peoples from many different cultures used the stone to make ornaments, jewellery, sacred talismans and everyday objects such as bowls and containers. In ancient Egypt, red jasper was linked to fertility, as it was believed to be the fertilizing blood of Mother Isis.
A note on Fakes, Treatments & Misrepresentations
Unfortunately, some sellers are attempting to sell polychrome jasper items as 'ocean jasper', presumably due to the fact the latter is highly desirable and fetches higher prices. Thankfully, these two stones differ wildly in appearance so are very easy to tell apart; genuine ocean jasper shows distinctive orbicular patterning and often has more green colouration, whereas polychrome jasper shows swirling, scenic patterns in browns, blues or greys with no orbs. The two stones have no relation to each other whatsoever, apart from their Madagascan locality.