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MINERAL OF THE MONTH

June 2008: Ocean Jasper

At the request of a customer, I am going to again feature Ocean Jasper as the Mineral of the Month. Ocean Jasper made an appearance on the original web page several years ago, but it deserves to come back.

Until I completed an Internet search about Ocean Jasper while preparing this web page update, I wasn’t sure exactly when I first saw Ocean Jasper. Now I realize that it was at the Denver Show in 2000. I remember that I was visiting the exhibits housed in motel rooms. As I walked down the corridor, I passed a room that had a slab of Ocean Jasper that was six foot tall! It stopped me in my tracks! Although their high prices were appropriate given that it was a brand new mineral, I thought I would be smart and check out the Ebay prices when I returned home. I was successful in purchasing some of the magnificent mineral, but I paid for it. I bought the two specimens below from a couple in Great Britain. I paid $150 for the round slab and $75 for the egg. However, they are still two of my favorite pieces of Ocean Jasper. Notice the chrysoprase band in the round specimen and the agate pockets in the pink egg-like specimen.

Ocean Jasper

I also must correct the historical information about this mineral that I have been presenting at the museum. I was told years ago that it was discovered eight years ago by two guys who were rock-climbing on the northern coast of Madagascar. Instead, it appears that the mineral had been discovered at the early part of last century. An article appeared about the unusual mineral in 1922. Then, the mineral was basically lost to the world for over 70 years. In 1997, the Mineralogical Encyclopedia (GRUND Publisher) reproduced a picture of the mysterious jasper showing the orbicular structures. The caption for the photo said that the source of the mineral was unknown. This picture excited rockhounds, including the field explorers for Madagascar Minerals who launched an expedition to locate the source. Their first attempt failed, so they regrouped and decided to methodically search the entire northern coastline of Madagascar. They spent 45 days navigating the coast, stopping in villages to ask locals if they were familiar with the mineral. Finally, they found the 50 x 30 yard deposit in shallow water in a remote area, It could only be seen and mined during low tide. The company had to work from boats, since the isolated region is not near a town and has no road access.

It is rare for new minerals to be discovered in this well-traveled world. Usually, new materials brought to market are usually just new deposits of already known minerals. However, Ocean Jasper is an exception.

It is thought that Ocean Jasper formed as a rhyolitic igneous rock, rich in silica. As the lava cooled, the silica precipitated out of the magma, forming little spherical balls. Later, the entire formation converted to pure silica made up of a combination of microcrystaline agate and jasper, as well as macrocrystaline quartz. The small deposit contains a wide array of color including white, green, red, yellow, and pink. There are also botryoidal and druzy quartz formations throughout the matrix. The genesis of the orbs in this beautiful rock is not known. However, research is being conducted at the University of California at Berkley to try to uncover the mystery.

The mineral is also known as Orbicular Jasper and Fish Eye Jasper. Similar, but less dramatic jaspers are found elsewhere in the world including Poppy Jasper from Morgan Hill in Santa Clara County in California and Rain Forest Jasper from Australia.

The metaphysical properties of Ocean Jasper are thought to: enhance one’s joy, help you better connect in loving relationships, improve cooperation, and help you focus on the positive aspects of life.



Mineral of the Month Archives

May 2007: Rainbow Fluorite

June 2007: Lake Superior Michipicoten Agate

July 2007: Labadorite

August 2007: Rain Flower Agate

Fall 2007: Malachite

December 2007: Nepheline Syenite

January 2008: Native Copper

February 2008: Amazonite

June 2012: Moqui Marbles

March 2008: Lake Superior Agate

April 2008: Shadow Agate

May 2008: Apohpylite

June 2008: Ocean Jasper

Summer 2008: Marra Mamba Tiger's Eye

September 2008: Mohawkite

October 2008: Mexican opal

November 2008: Prehnite

December 2008: Picture Jasper

January 2009: Sea Shell Jasper

February 2009: Polychrome Jasper

March 2009: Selenite Desert Rose

Spring 2009: Coyamito Agate

July 2009: Obsidian Needles

August 2009: Goethite

September 2009: Banded Iron Formation

Fall 2009: Fairburn Agate

March 2010: Fossilized Dinosaur Bone

April/May: 2010 Kentucky Agate

June 2010: Nantan Meteorite

July 2010: Mookaite Jasper

Aug/Sept 2010: Polyhedroid Agate

Fall 2010: Ammonite Fossil

Winter 2011: Argentina Condor Agate

Spring 2011: Petrfied Wood

September 2011: Petoskey Stones

January 2012: Mary Ellen Jasper

March 2012: Mexican Crazy Lace Agate

September 2012: Chlorastrolite Greenstone

March 2013: Jacobsville Sandstone

August 2013: Unakite

November 2013: Skip-an-Atom Agate

April 2014: Tiger's Eye

September 2014: Black Corundum

February 2015: Condor Agate

June 2015: Petoskey Stone

November 2015: Slag

June 2016: Lake Superior Copper Replacement Agates

August 2016: Puddingstone


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