Friday, February 16, 2018

What is Bumblebee Jasper?

Bumblebee Jasper is one of my very favorite minerals.  Personally I prefer the rough over the finished jewelry or cabochons. But what exactly is bumblebee jasper?

Firstly, the beautiful material comes from Mount Papandayan in Indonesia, a 150 mile drive southeast from Jakarta. It is rare stuff on the world market.

Now for the surprise.  Bumblebee jasper is not actually a jasper at all.  That is just how it was marketed when it hit the market a few years.  It actually contains no quartz at all. Bumblebee jasper is actually an agate.  A beautiful combination of volcanic matter, anhydrite, hematite, orpiment, sulfur, angelite, arsenic. The material is soft, with a Mohs hardness of 5 or below. The porous rock is easily cut and polished.

I recently returned from the huge Tucson Gem & Mineral Show in Arizona where I was on the hunt for good bumblebee jasper.  I found very little in my four days searching.  A few cabochons and a little bit of jewelry but not much. I did find one vendor that had a large table of rough. Probably a couple of hundred pounds for sale.  I was able to pick out a really cool specimen to bring home.

You may have seen earlier that one compound in bumblebee jasper is arsenic.  So be careful when handling. Always wash your hands afterwards and certainly do not lick it or anything of that sort!

Bumblebee jasper is also said to have a strong earth energy that embodies the energy of the volcano from which it was born.  The mineral is said to provide a person with confidence and motivation to chase after your dreams knowing that the possibilities are endless.

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