Articles

Events

Web Links

Archive

About Minerals

Owhyee Jasper

On the eastern side of Oregon there is a lake called Owyhee Lake, feed by a river with the same name. This area of Oregon is high desert country and contains an abundance of fine jaspers and agates. The various varieties of Owyhee Jasper share a geographic region not a single locale.

There are many different looks to the Owyhee jaspers and they are not all found in the same spot, but all include Owyhee as part of their name. Not only does the Owyhee area jaspers produce the scenic variety, but it also produces artistic works reminiscent of Asian paintings, modern works of art, and strong abstract color patterns. Two example of Owyhee scenic type jasper can be seen to the right, one happens to have a green sky, but Owyhee scenic also produces blue skies in some pieces. Mountains, valleys, and dunes are common scenic features, some with small dendritic plants or tree shapes.

Asian style design and paintings can often be found in the Owyhee Flower Jasper which, by the way, is also sold as Chinese Dendritic Jasper. This jasper is usually cream colored with red splotches, often connected with fine dendrites, and the red areas are often surrounded by pale green halos. The example shows warm, brown-red color zones connected by a fine series of dark lines.

The Owyhee Sunset Jasper, has warmer colors, less details, but often shows us the world with a stylized sunset.

Last, but certainly not least is the Owyhee known a the Cherry Creek variety. This is my favorite type for its bright red color veining that is often surrounded by cream-yellow or even blue areas of color. Sometimes both in the same stone. It often contains fine dendrites and resembles strong abstract art. All of the Owyhee Jaspers appear to come from silicified mudstones or siltstones. They are very fine grained, uniformly hard, take a great polish, they are truly porcelain jaspers of the highest quality.

Ron Gibbs, via MOROKS Newsletter February 2013