This polychrome jasper sphere features chocolate brown and denim bluish-grey tones in neat, 'splotched' and and swirling patterns. It has been shaped to perfection and polished to a high lustre. About Polychrome Jasper
Only discovered in 2006, polychrome jasper - also known as 'royal Savannah jasper' or 'desert jasper' due to its locality, and 'Picasso jasper' due to its scenic patterning - is an opaque chalcedony that boasts a wide variety of vibrant colours and patterns. Specimens such as this are from a small deposit in the deserts of Madagascar and are highly sought after, though some are also found in Australia.
Jasper in History
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.
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.