Tuesday, September 20, 2011

American Picture Jaspers: Biggs, Deschutes and Bruneau

The term "picture jasper" encompasses a wide range of stones. Jasper in general is found all over the world, but American picture jaspers are a broad part of this spectrum.

Most picture jaspers in the U.S. come from Idaho or Oregon. Oregon in particular has produced some stunning jaspers. While stones are often named for the person who found them (for example, Pietersite is named after Sid Pieters, the man who discovered it), most jasper names indicate their location. Biggs jasper is from Biggs, Oregon. Bruneau jasper comes from Bruneau Canyon, Idaho. And so on. Each jasper is distinctive and (for the most part) easily identifiable.

Biggs and Deschutes jaspers come from a very similar area of Oregon, and sometimes it's hard to tell them apart. Both are relatively rare in today's market as, depending on what you hear, the mines(s) are either "played out" (e.g. not producing any more), or inaccesible due to being paved over by a highway...what I can tell you for sure is that when I do run across either of these jaspers for sale, which isn't all that often, they are a good bit more expensive than most other jaspers I buy. But buy them I do, as I can afford to, because they are truly lovely stones.

Here's the first money shot:

A nice Biggs oval with some good color variation. I've shot it vertically but am thinking of setting it horizontally, like this.  Here's the side view:

This is a more "true" shot of the coloring. The edges are pretty good, though a little uneven, and it's a fairly thin cab, which of course also plays into the cost factor. The bigger and thicker the stone, the more it costs, of course. Here's a great example:

Here's another Biggs cab. LOOK at how thick this is! And it's a more unusual cut. The colors are good, as you'll see in the next shot:

Oh yeah. This is what I would consider a "specialty" cab. It's pretty large, it's an unusual cut, and the coloration is GREAT. And no, it was not in-expensive. But I can't wait to build some big, beautiful design around it.  :)

Funny how neither of those look like the first Biggs I posted, eh? I believe that's because the first one might be considered a "Biggs blue", which is an even less plentiful version of the Biggs jasper.

On to the Deschutes:

Talk about some kind of beautiful stone...another "specialty" but it is just so lovely. And it's also thick:

There's going to be a lot of metal invested in this gorgeous rock.

Last but not least, a horizontal shot (which may be how I set this one, too):

So now you're a little more familiar with some of the predominant Oregon jaspers.  Last but not least, Idaho!

Idaho's best-known stone is the Bruneau jasper, from Bruneau Canyon in south-central Idaho. It comes in a variety of colors, but is mostly known as pale brown and cream. I would say it is always "soft" colored - at least the Bruneau I've seen. It's more pastel-hued than popping with some of the rich colors found in other stones, but the soft beauty is what makes it gorgeous. See for yourself:

This is the only piece of Bruneau that I own. As usual, the darkish spot toward the bottom of the stone is from the camera. When I bought this stone, it was the first time I'd seen Bruneau Jasper. I knew nothing about it (fortunately the seller was also the stonecutter and he made sure I was informed). It was a bit costly even back in the day - I've had this stone for several years -  and it's a really great example of the soft lines and colors typical of this stone. EXCEPT for that pink at the top...it's not real. The camera read it as pink when it's a mid-colored brown. The more accurate colors are shown below, in the side view:

The sides are absolutely flat and even, and the stone is cut BEAUTIFULLY. The man I bought this from lives in Arizona and he cuts some gorgeous, gorgeous cabs.

Now you're a little more educated about some American gems. Stay tuned to for future posts once these are set and finished!  :)


  1. This is very nice and so silky stone and that's jewelry also will be so beautiful.
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  2. they seem to me greast indeed. But are they cheap?

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