Rainbow Jasper

Meaning and Properties


Rainbow jasper contains banded colors of red, brown and tan resembling a rainbow. Large rainbow jasper boulders are used to embellish gardens, landscaping or water installations. The cliff dwelling Anasazi Native Americans of Mesa Verde in southwest Colorado formed arrowheads from rainbow jasper.

The word "jasper" is derived from the Greek word iaspi meaning "spotted stone," related to the Hebrew jashpeh and the ancient Assyrian word ashpu. Jaspers were worn by Egyptian priests in amulets covered with inscriptions from their Book of the Dead and wrapped up with mummies for protection in the afterlife. The Minoans of Crete carved seals for the palace of Knossos of jasper.

Jasper was the 12th stone in the breastplate of the Hebrew High Priest, and is said to be the foundation stone of New Jerusalem. Some Native American tribes used jasper to dowse for water and to call rain.

Metaphysical Properties

Rainbow jasper is called a "sustaining stone," and thought to be helpful in times of emotional fatigue or stress. Used for its properties to both calm and sooth, it is believed to be beneficial in collecting one's thoughts so as to help one feel more secure and relaxed when making decisions.

Jasper gives one the courage to speak out and have personal independence. It also protects from fears in the night. Red jasper is thought to help balance the energy in the body. All jaspers help balance the emotional energy in the body.

Geological Properties

Rainbow jasper is a blend of burgundy, brown and gold colors in broad banding patterns. Like all jasper, its deeply banded colors come from organic material and iron oxides imbedded in it. Rainbow jasper is found in Africa and India.

Again, like other jasper gemstones, rainbow jasper is a chalcedony and member of the quartz group. The broad swirls and patterns of colors are actually finely divided minerals such as clay and iron oxide.

Jasper is a variety of quartz that may contain up to 20 percent foreign materials or inclusions, including organic material and mineral oxides, which determine the color, pattern and appearance of the stone. Uniformly colored jasper is uncommon but not unheard of; usually jasper is multicolored, spotted or banded. This stone is opaque, even in thin slices, and takes a high polish. Different types of jasper display different lusters. Like agate, the wide selection of jaspers includes a range of trade names and classifications that are used by jewelry makers and collectors.

Mineral Information Silicate, chalcedony, quartz group
Chemical Composition SiO2
Color Red-golds with tan and brown banding
Hardness 6-1/2 to 7 (Mohs)
Specific Gravity 2.58 - 2.91
Refractive Index 1.54 (Approximately)

Proper Care of Rainbow Jasper

Jasper gemstones are members of the quartz family. These are durable stones and can be found in a range of jewelry designs, with an equal range of exposure to dirt and wear. Remove jasper jewelry before playing sports or any other activity leading to perspiration.

Clean jasper jewelry with a soft dry cloth to preserve polish. Clean quickly if the jewelry becomes soiled, as jaspers can be porous and easily stained. Wash with warm, soapy water and a soft cloth or soft brush. Dry thoroughly.

Avoid prolonged exposure to extreme heat, as prolonged heat is used to change color in quartzes. When storing jasper, wrap in a cloth or a fabric bag so it cannot scratch softer materials or be scratched by metals or harder gemstone.

Designing with Rainbow Jasper

With the fashion world's regular shifting from sky tones to earth tones, this unusual jasper is used more widely in jewelry than ever. It's the perfect stone for all kinds of beaders including those who want to create a southwest look and those who have always loved earth tones.

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