Our last blog post was about agates… the banded (striped) semi-translucent to transparent form of chalcedony (aka microcrystalline quartz, or quartz crystals that are only visible with a microscope). We touched on how jaspers are also microcrystalline quartz but are totally opaque. The latest necklaces up on the website feature both agates and jaspers, so I wanted to recap the difference between the two and show you some examples.
The dramatically-patterned coin-shaped stones in our Mahogany necklace are paintbrush jasper. You can see that they are completely opaque and there is no banding. Rather, as the name suggests, the patterning looks like it was created by a Japanese sumi-e brush.
The Succor Creek jasper in our Rye necklace comes from a canyon in eastern Oregon. Its patterning is often described in terms of a landscape with mountain (brown) and sky (bluish gray) elements. Lapidarists intentionally cut the stone to accentuate this pictorial imagery.
Baobab and Peony, on the other hand, are made with different varieties of crazy lace agate. The Laguna lace agate in Baobab is simply one mine’s name for Mexican crazy lace agate. The translucency of these bright and complexly banded stones is more apparent in Baobab because of the flatness of the bead cut. To learn more about how these agates are formed and why they have such delicious bands of color, please read this informative blog post.