Since spring, I’ve seen an increasing number of organic, earthy choices showcased in the jewelry industry. These range from rough cut stones, to wood and tribal-inspired pieces, to one of my new favorites – jasper.
Jasper is an opaque semi-precious stone that is quartz based. Jasper contains either minerals or organic materials that often give it interesting patterns, bands and colors. Each piece is unique and after polishing, shapes that resemble landscapes, clouds, or mountains emerge, creating miniature works of art. Jasper is found in all colors including: red, brown, pink, yellow, green, grey, white and shades of purple.
The history of the use of jasper in jewelry making is well known and jasper was a favored gem in the ancient world of Greece and Rome. In the America, rock hounds can find jasper throughout the West from Washington to Utah.
Today, contemporary jewelry designers are incorporating the use of this diverse stone in a multitude of chic looks for fall. According to Cheryl Kremkow, Editor-in-Chief of Modern Jeweler magazine, the use of agates, jasper, patterned rocks, fossils, and other unusual minerals is near the top of her list for fall looks in her article “Top Trends of 2009” (Modern Jeweler, August, 2009). Better yet, in these tough economic times, designers are creating fabulous styles using the colorful, patterned gems that won’t break the bank!
As a stone, jasper lends itself to the creation of beads of all sizes and shapes. Trendsetting jewelry firm Trollbeads recently launched a series of jasper stone beads for use with their personality bracelets and necklaces. These mix well with the Murano glass beads and sterling silver charms for which the company is best known. The use of jasper adds an extra dimension to the line.
Jasper also works well as a cabochon for use in rings, bracelets and pendants — even belt buckles. A good deal of cowboy-inspired jewelry contains jasper in various colors and shapes, most often paired with sterling silver.
Whatever the form you choose, the addition of some jasper simply looks right for fall!
Want to learn more? Check out Ron Gibbs’ lovely book Agates & Jaspers, a photo-intensive look at this gorgeous gem.
Susan McNeill is a wife, mother, author, fashion blogger
and sales manager for the WHIMSY jewelry line. Susan
also writes for http://mcneilldesigns.wordpress.com and