The last type of jasper that I want to share with you is my personal favorite, Imperial Jasper! Found specifically in Mexico, north of Guadalajara, this porcelain jasper has terrific colors and takes a great polish. The veins that resemble abstract spider webs were actually formed when the original jasper material cracked during geological formation, and the cracks filled with transparent chalcedony. When the material is found with bulls-eye or orb shapes it is known as "Royal" Imperial, which is the most sought after by collectors. Usually found in rounded chunks or nodules, the outside is a softer chalky white but the jasper inside is filled with soft shades of green, pink, cream, beige, and muted reds that can resemble a watercolor painting. Good pieces of both Imperial and Royal Imperial are difficult to find and can be quite costly, but it is a favorite material by all jewelry makers.
About 130 pounds of hand-picked, Imperial Jasper rough with windows, waiting to be cabbed. Private collection, Dale Armstrong.
Imperial Jasper cabochons and slabs. Private collection, Dale Armstrong.