Bzzzzz It’s not really Jasper, Bzzzzzz ….or Agate Bzzzzzzzzzz!
Bumblebee Jasper is a bit of a misnomer. It does resemble the colour and markings of Bumblebees, but Jasper it isn’t – or not strictly speaking. It’s made up of volcanic minerals and sediment, first found in Java, Indonesia in the 1990s. The combination includes sulphur, hematite and ilmanite. It’s not very hard – only around 5 on the MOHS scale and so whilst it is incredibly visually striking, it’s not particulary durable.
Most Bumblebee stones used in jewellery are stabilised with epoxy resin before lapidary (cutting & polishing) takes place. Basically, cracks, fissures and fault lines are glued to toughen it up. Opticon seems to be the glue of choice as it sets clear and is widely used on a number of other stones too (notably emerald because of its refraction rating). When I first found this out I thought ‘Oh! What a cheat!’ but when I think about it, I’d rather have jewellery that doesn’t shatter or chunks fall out of if I accidentally bash it!
Wearing Bumblebee Jasper is said to unleash ones creative energy and infuse the wearer with a sense of joyfulness, resulting in extra energy and buzz.