Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Tucson 2017 - Picture Jaspers

Jaspers occur all over the world. Many of them are known for their ability to look like small landscapes; thus they're called "picture jaspers".

This large lovely is Owyhee jasper, from the Oregon-Idaho border. This is an excellent example of the blue color morph or "blue sky" of Owyhee jasper, which not all Owyhee's will possess. Many of them are soft neutral shades of brown and beige, but to me the blue contrast is what makes them standouts. Essentially this (and several other jaspers from Oregon / Idaho that are classified as Owyhee) are petrified mud. They take a very high polish and often contain stunning desert vista "scenes" on their surfaces.

I took this beautiful gem to Tucson this year, as it's been in my hoard for some time, and I wanted to find it some earring mates. I'm not a fan of "matchy" jewelry designs, but sometimes, with something as specific as this, it's nice to have a pair of earrings that complement it.

And that search led me to:

Rocky butte jasper (bottom two). Apparently the Rocky Butte claim is not far from the Owyhee claim; the similarities in color and patterns and pretty obvious. I don't mind that the earring and pendant gems are not the same; it's an overall look that I'm going for. :) And just to throw another jasper into the mix, the earrings in the photo above are actually Deer Creek jasper. Idaho and Oregon (particularly Oregon) are well known for their variety of really gorgeous picture rocks. ;)

So...the earrings I found to "go with" the big Owhyee? Here they are:

At some point this year, those are going to be made up into some gorgeous jewelry!

As a side note, most of the American jaspers are kind of a niche-y product. You won't find too much about them online, and they tend to be cut by American gem cutters, rather than sent overseas to India or China like a lot of other gem rough. Which means that you (or rather, I ) purchase them from - usually - grizzled older men who look exactly like you'd expect. Weathered, stubbly-chinned, gnarled fingers, sitting in tiny booths in small gem shows, with a selection of amazing gems that you truly have to see to believe.

One of my favorites to buy from is Gary Wiersema, of Gems of the Earth. He has no online store, no Etsy shop,  he barely has a Facebook page. But he has the most AMAZING cabs.

Here's an example:

The top gem is another Rocky Butte, but the bottom is a Deschutes (Oregon) cut by Gary. I only bought one from him last year (I only bought two last year; these are spendy beauties) but they are truly special treats. That mountain and what looks like a cliff (or river) below it? It must be my Southewestern background, but that stuff just grabs me.

Here are the cabs I purchased last year:

that top one went for a custom order, for a very special lady:

such a stunning gem. I wish I could tell you how much I love what I do. :)

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