Jasper belongs among general gemstones, it is a variety of chalcedony. Admixtures of other minerals cause its different tones – jasper occurs in virtually all colors (shades of red (the most common), yellow, green, brown, etc.), however usually we can see color combinations forming different drawings; it is opaque. Around the world, there are many sites in the south and north America, Asia and Europe, including the Czech Republic (4 sites in the Czech Republic). The name “jasper” comes from Greek word for “spotted stone”.
It was used already in ancient Egypt and it is mentioned several times in the Bible as well. Cretan Minoan culture prefered green variation of jasper, as evidenced by seals found with this stone; green jasper was popular also in cultures of the Assyrians, the Greeks, the Persians, the Hebrews, and not only for the production of jewelry, but also for larger items such as variety of vessels. Other historical usages include beads, seal rings, pendants and charms, carved objects, decorative plates for walls or as part of the furniture, the use for church buildings etc .; and we have to bear in mind not just the beauty but also the constant belief in magical powers of gems. Large collections of the jasper items can be found eg. in St. Petersburg Hermitage Museum, which shows a vase from a single piece of jasper weighing 700 tonnes. In the Czech Republic, the stone was used to decorate chapel of St. Catherine (1138 stones of mainly jasper and amethyst from the Ore mountains, with size up to 3 dm²) and St. Cross (2496 pieces of the same stones) at castle Karlstejn and in the chapel of St. Wenceslas in the St. Vitus Cathedral (coming from the Ore Mountains – mine in Ciboušov). Jasper from local sources was processed also in the Renaissance at times of Rudolf II. in the cutting center in the Imperial mill and especially in workshops of family called Miseroni. For centuries the jasper is attributed to a range of protective and healing functions, it is believed that it energizes. It has excellent hardness and durability, yet avoid scratching it by harder materials. It can be cleaned with soap and water followed by rinsing.