Jasper derives its name from the French JASPRE, the Latin JASPIS, and the Greek IASPIS, meaning "spotted or speckled" gemstone.

Jasper is a silicon dioxide mineral of dull, vitreous luster. It is a variety of chalcedony which is a microcrystalline quartz (its crystals cannot be seen by the naked eye). Chalcedony can either be translucent, transparent or opaque. Jasper is opaque which means no light can pass through it. It is opaque because it contains enough non-chalcedony material (impurities and foreign material) to interfere with the passage of light. It is these impurities and foreign materials that give jasper its color and opacity. Iron, iron oxide and manganese are typical mineral impurities in Jasper.

Jasper comes in all colors mostly in striped, spotted or swirling patterns of red, green, yellow, brown and black and organic-looking patches that make jasper an amazing and unique gemstone.

Jasper's hardness is 7 on the Mohs scale. In other words, Jasper can scratch a piece of common glass and they are hard enough to be made into any type of jewelry. As jaspers can be found all over the world, they are quite affordable.

Jasper was one of the stones that was highly esteemed and admired by the ancient people as far back as thousands and even millions of years ago. Primitive stone axes that were made from jasper were found in the Omo Valley of Ethiopia that were estimated to be 2.5 million years old.

Archeologists had found tools that were two million years old at Olduvai Gorge site in Tanzania. These tools were made from different materials like flint, chert, quartite, opal and jasper.

In the ancient city of Ur in Sumeria in 3800 BCE, the ancient people believed that the Earth was covered in a dome made of jasper adorned with stars and the constellations.

Human evolution can be mapped out by what archeologists dug out from the earth. Tools for basic survival were excavated, studied and dated.

Green jasper was used to make bow drills in Mehrgarh, Pakistan between 7000 to 2000 BC.

Jasper pendants and beads were excavated from Irish tombs in the Lambay Island of Ireland. They belonged in the Neolithic period of the Stone age about 12,000 years ago.

In the Bronze Age of between 3300 to 1300 BC, from the Harappan civilisation to the Minoan civilization, ancient Egyptians and Greeks had carved jasper into tools, seals, beads and ornaments as evidenced by archeological recoveries.

The ancient Egyptians and Greeks also used jasper to make touchstone for assaying (testing the purity) precious metals like gold.

Red jasper was also known as the blood of Mother Isis in Ancient Egypt. Isis was the Mother of God. It was said that red jasper was her favourite stone and her girdle, called the Tyet of Isis, was made of jasper.

According to the Book of the Dead, a New Kingdom funerary text, a tyet amulet made of red jasper had to be placed at the neck of a mummy so that the power of Isis would keep them safe and protected from any harm in their trip to the afterlife. Jasper was found in the very ancient and holy Egyptian town of Heliopolis.

The Native Americans used this stone, known to them as the blood of Mother Earth, as an offering during rain-making rituals. It was also used in pendulums as a dowser or water finding divination tool. They also believed that red jasper empowers the body and could defend them in astral journeys to the sacred realms.

As early as 12,000 years ago, jasper was being mined in Pennsylvania, United States by the ancestors of present-day Native Americans. They made knives and arrowheads out of jasper.

The ancient Babylonians used jasper to make seals as old as 1000 years before the Christan era.

During the Middle Ages, the jasper was highly recommended by physicians and philosophers for relieving severe stomach pains and for stopping hemorrhages.

Jasper was mentioned numerous times in the Bible and it was one of the stones in the high priest's breastplate. Many early Christians wore "bloodstone" which is called a heliotrope to remind themselves of Christ's sacrifice as they believed that the red speckles were Christ's blood that landed on green/dark jasper at the foot of cruxificion.

Green jasper was worn as an amulet for good luck as it was a good counsel for traders. It was also believed that certain talismans made out of jasper could give riches and favor. A hare cut in jasper gave protection from demonic influences.

There are many different types of jasper in the world. Names of jaspers are indicative of its color, pattern and origin. Following are some of the well-known jaspers:

Moss jasper - contain dense inclusions of green hornblende that cause the pattern to resemble moss

Ocean jasper - contain small concentric ring formations found on the coast of Madagascar. It comforts and soothes the mind

Opal jasper - a form of brecciated jasper in which cementing material is opal.

Zebra jasper - dark brown jasper with lighter brown to white coloyred banding streaks. It encourages sympathy and concern

Dendritic jasper - which displays feather-like patterns. These dendrites increase the worth of each jasper

Owyhee Jasper – contain desert scenes and blue skies. It is found near the Owyhee River in Oregon. It is excellent for financial success.

Flame Jasper – which comes in lovely swirls of red and orange

Mookaite jasper - contain fossils. It is a combination of yellow and red jasper and is originated in Australia. It protects the wearer and bestows power

Picture jasper - contain scenic picture-like formations. It is grounding and harmonizing

[Note: Dalmation and bumblebee jaspers are not Jasper at all].

Jasper can be found on every continent in the world. But the main producers of Jasper are India, Indonesia, Australia, Venezuela, Russia, Brazil and Uruguay, Madagascar, and the United States.

Jasper is one of the main stones for Period 8 feng shui. Throughout history, jasper has been known prominently as the “Supreme Nurturer." It is a stone of endurance, perseverance and tenacity. It comforts and protects, calms and relaxes, soothes troubled minds and restores balance to the body and spirit.