Bumblebee gemstone cabochons natural gemstone 17cts 29*16mm
I recently attended a rock show out in Issaquah, Washington with my coven-sister W. and her husband. It was a blast, and I do have to admit to coming home many dollars lighter. One of the many highlights of the excursion was my introduction to this stone, bumblebee jasper.
Now, this stone comes from the solfataras surrounding Mount Papandayan in Indonesia, a 150 mile drive southeast from Jakarta, and the natives there call it batu badar blerang, which can be roughly translated as ‘coal becoming sulfur.’ It is essentially a sedimentary rock matrix of volcanic ash–deep earth mud with sulfur layers. It is largely composed of layered gypsum, sulfur, hematite, all glued together with tuff. Lapidarists suspect that the yellow sulfur layers contain realgar and orpiment, both arsenic sulfides, and therefore take a lot of caution when working with the material. It is a fairly soft stone–softer than travertine marble–so many also stabilize it with materials and epoxy akin to concrete sealant before working with it. It has grown in popularity in the west since the mid 1990s when an Indonesian rock dealer first shipped a few samples to rock shows in Arizona under the more whimsical name of “bumblebee jasper.”
The name has stuck, much to the dismay of many rockhounds as it is definitely not a jasper (a cryptocrystalline form of silica with intergrowths of quartz and moganite). Others call it bumblebee agate, but as agate is a very similar stone to jasper, this really doesn’t solve the nomenclature problem. Personally, I rather like the poetry behind ‘coal becoming sulfur’, but that is a bit of a mouthful.
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