THE GOLD OF THAT LAND: Biblical Minerals & Rocks  


40.     jasper

Hebrew: yshphh, a polished thing. Exodus 28:20, 39:13; Ezekiel 28:13.

Greek: iaspis, a spotted stone. Revelation 4:3, 21:11,18,19.

Probable Identification:

    Biblical jasper is translucent chrysoprase or green chalcedony. Descriptions and information by Roman sources affirm that iaspis specifies a green, translucent or transparent stone. While green jade has the correct color to be a tempting alternative, jade and jasper lack transparency.


    Jasper is an opaque form of chalcedony, a microgranular, form of quartz, with inclusions of hematite (Fe2O3) that give it the typical reddish color. Other oxides of iron give jasper a yellow, green, brown, or black color.

Historical Background:

    The Egyptians preferred red jasper, although examples of their beads, scarabs, ornaments, and inlays in black, green, brown, and yellow jasper are well known. Green chrysoprase or amazonite stood for Osiris, their god of vegetation, life, and order. Prase is a dull greenish jasper. The Egyptians mined red khenmet (meaning "delight") in the Eastern Desert near the Hadrabia Hills, near Wadi Saga, and in Wadi Abu Gerida.

    Theophrastus used jasper as a general term for transparent precious stones, while Pliny the Elder mentioned 10 to 14 varieties of jasper.

    Scripturally, jasper in Revelation 21:11 is an example of a flawless gemstone that represents the glory and beauty of divine perfection.



Caley, Earle R., & John Richards, 1956. Theophrastus on stones. Columbus, OH: Ohio State University Press.

Frazier, op. cit.; 75-89.

Hurlbut, 1952, op. cit.; 324.

Lucas & Harris, op. cit.; 397-398.

Pittman, op. cit.; 1589-1603.

Jolyon, Ralph, 1993-2004.

Schumann, op. cit.; 1146-147.

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