Saturday, July 31, 2010


I decided to write this post in response to a comment on my last post from the Ahlstrom family regarding my jasper collection.

My first introduction to jasper was about 20 years ago. My aunt Brenda was in town (Nashville) visiting us and we went downtown to visit some local shops for some basic touristy shopping. There was a street vendor selling rocks. At that time, I discovered a red jasper stone and a tiger eye stone that I loved. I bought them. I assumed at that time that jasper was only red. I had no idea how wide a variety the stone could be. Over the years, I have found a few red jasper stones that I have liked and kept.

About 3 years ago I traveled to a beach in Florida with some of my girlfriends and visited a shop. I fell in love with a stone necklace there and learned from the store owner that it was jasper. This took me a little by surpirse, because the stone was not red at all. It was then and there that I learned jasper comes in a hundred or more varieties, from all over the world.

Why does this matter? It doesn't.

Except that the book of Revelation in the Bible has many verses that describe the New Heaven and New Earth and many of the descriptions include surfaces (floors/walls) made of jasper and other stones. Some quartz, etc. But jasper is mentioned several times. This works beautifully for me as a vision. Now that I have seen so many varieties of beautiful jasper, I can envision my own idea of Heaven. Here, in this life, we emphasize beauty in many natural stones by using it for flooring, kitchen counters, bathroom surfaces, etc. But no one uses jasper for anything. Not to my knowledge anyway. Perhaps it isn't available in huge sheets and slabs like granite or soap stone. I don't know. Perhaps God is saving jasper for floors in Heaven because it is so incredibly beautiful and varied. I of course, don't know. This is why my blog is called "jasper walls". I am referring to the walls of jasper that will make up the new Heaven and new earth according to the scriptures. This life is my journey to Heaven.

Now, don't get me wrong.... I do not at all imagine Heaven to be like a hotel. I do not imagine that I will arrive there someday, check in, be issued my room key, and live forever in a room constructed of jasper. But I do believe there will be jasper. A lot of it. And because it is so rare and unused in this life, I can hold a jasper rock in my hand and I can see it as a special creation by special in fact that it will adorn the walls of Heaven. When I hold a jasper stone in my hand, I am reminded that this life is a journey and a mission, literally. I am reminded that there is reward and beauty in Heaven that I cannot begin to imagine or fathom, but that there is much work to do here before I go there....and I'm thankful to have something inside of me that wants to take this seriously.

When I visited Zimbabwe for the first time, I discovered a rock vender who sells many varieties of jasper. So many varieties and so many colors....amazing. On that first trip, I bought a piece of ocean jasper that was said to have been found off the coast near Cape Town, South Africa. I bought another piece of jasper also, but cannot recall it's name. On that first trip, I saw a rock that i loved, called picasso jasper, but it was so big and so expensive that I didn't have enough money to purchase it. I bargained and the guy did lower his price quite a bit, but I still couldn't afford it. On my 2nd trip to Zim, I specifically took enough money to purchase that rock at the bargain price, if it was still there. It was and I bought it. I also bought 2 more small pieces...and they are such a variety of colors and I do not know the names of them. But in addition to several pieces of red jasper that I have, I also have the one large picasso jasper and 5 other jasper stones that I keep on display in my house. The big picasso jasper rock is about as large as a big potato, and shaped about the same. The other pieces that I have are slightly smaller than an egg. They are very special to me.

So, most of my jasper stones have come from Africa. I also found a bead vendor locally that sells a lot of beads made of a variety of jasper and I have since made a necklace and a bracelet for myself.

So there you have it.... I do love jasper. It excites me.

Thank you Ahlstrom family for inquring..and yes I would love to receive some of your jasper stones if you ever find them from storage. And i'd love to know where they are from and any other info that you might have. You are a sweet family and I'm grateful for the way that you participate in my life through the blog, the emails, and most especially the prayers. I'm so happy to know you all. God bless your sweet family!


Sarah said...

I hope if I ever run across jasper I'll recognize it. I don't know if I've ever seen it in person.

Pete Ahlstrom said...

Hi Melissa,

It's a nice but strange feeling to be the inspiration for a blog! Even if the rest of the family does sometimes accuse me of having rocks in my head!

Your collection sounds very impressive. We'd love to see it sometime! And, when we get ours out of storage, we'd love for you to get to see it too. (Our prize is an Indian grinding stone from California, in two pieces, which the head of artifact collecting for that area saw, and gave back to us.)

Have you ever gone to some of the "do it yourself" rock collecting places around you. We've visited nearly all of them, and they're great - though usually not for jasper. Gold, yes, and many kinds of gems. Here's a partial list -

The best do-it-yourself gold place we visited in the East was the Pittman Gold Mine on highway 221 between Marion and Rutherfordton, NC. Other favorites are the Crisson Gold Mine north of Dahlonega, GA (they throw lots of amethyst in their buckets); The Mine near Cleveland, GA (lots of clear topaz there)- Yvette found a 120 carat piece, and Bill a small emerald.

Then there are the ruby mines near Franklin, NC, emerald mines at Hiddenite and Spruce Pine, NC (the latter's the only one we never got to).

And don't miss Crater of Diamonds State Park near Murfreesboro, Arkansas. We visited there twice, and didn't find any diamonds, but you can buy some nice ones at good prices from lots of the "regulars" who visit there.

In the West, the best gold site we've found is in the Feather River at the head of a big gravel bar next to the River Reflections campground in Oroville, CA.

Our jasper is all from Vandenberg Air Force Base near Lompoc, CA, but we have quite a bit of "jasp-agate" from the Mojave Desert, too. There actually could be some here too. Jasper is a form of "cryptocrystalline quartz," and Yvette reminded me that one area of gravel beds about 30 miles south of here is just full of quartz - sometimes boulders of 30 to 50 pounds, or more. We've never paid attention to whether that includes jasper, but we'll have to look when we get down there again.

Best wishes and prayers for your Zimbabwe trip, and for your family at home.

The Ahlstroms - Pete, Yvonne, Yvette and Bill.