Jasper is a fairly general term that can refer to any opaque variety of chalcedony or aggregation of microcrystalline quartz (crystals too small to be individually visible). Jaspers can be quite colorful due to mineral impurities in the silica and are typically multi-colored. Reds, oranges and browns due to iron oxides in the silica are the most common colors.

There are hundreds, if not thousands of named varieties of Jasper. They are often given trade names based on where they are found, or their appearance, and similar jaspers can be popularly known by many different names. Part of the appeal of jasper is its interesting color patterns and formations with each piece being unique. Some stones that have jasper in their name are not actually jasper. For example Bumblebee Jasper is not actually a jasper as it contains almost no silica and is mostly calcite based.

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