Gem News International Gems & Gemology, Summer 2014, Vol. 50, No. 2

Bumble Bee “Jasper” from Indonesia

Bumble bee “jasper” cabochon
Figure 1. This Bumble Bee “jasper,” measuring 32 × 54 mm, is a mixture of volcanic lava and sediment. Photo by Robert Weldon/GIA; courtesy of Robert E. Kane.
At the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show, All in Vein (Quartzsite, Arizona) exhibited slabs and pairs of Bumble Bee “jasper,” which was sold elsewhere at the show as Eclipse “jasper.” The term jasper is a misnomer, as this vibrantly colored orange, yellow, and black material (figure 1) actually formed from a mixture of Indonesian volcano lava and sediment. A carbonate-rich rock first discovered on the island of Java during the 1990s, the material is soft, with a Mohs hardness of 5 or below. The porous rock is easily cut and polished, and most specimens are filled with Opticon (H. Serras-Herman, “Bumble Bee ‘jasper’: A colorful volcanic lapidary material,” Rock & Gem, Vol. 43, No. 8, pp. 26–29).

Stuart Overlin is the editor of Gems & Gemology.