to tell the difference between Jasper and an Agate? The simple answer is if you
put light behind the material and you can see through it, then it is an Agate
if you canít then your holding Jasper. The more complex answer is that it is
not always that straightforward. The simple science behind this question is
that both Agates and Jaspers are comprised of Quartz- which is one of the most
common minerals on the planet. Quartz is comprised of two major types-
macrocrystalline (large crystal) and cryptocrystalline (small crystal).
here is where it can get confusing, one major variety of cryptocrystalline quartz
is Chalcedony. †Chalcedony includes
Carnelian, Chrysophase, Agate, Bloodstone, Jasper and others. When Chalcedony
in concentrically banded it is called an Agate. Occasionally the banding is
larger than the crystal and the banding is not visible- like with most
sub-variety of Chalcedony is opaque quartz called Jasper. Jasper can be banded
or striated, depending on how it formed, and are most commonly red, yellow,
green, brown or a mixture of these colors.
of Macrocrystalline Quartz are clear quartz, Smokey Quartz, Amethyst, Citrine
which form in a singular point or clusters. But these are neither an Agates nor
a Jasper, so were moving on from these.
main reason it is difficult to differentiate an Agate from Jasper is that they
originate from the same minerals. Another major reason is due to the
mislabeling of materials being cut in foreign countries as either an Agate or
Jasper without considering the science in the naming process. †We recognize this problem quite often, but for
reasons of consistency in the marketplace we use the incorrect label.
hope this sheds a little light on the differences between Jasper and Agate and
provides you with a quick test to tell the difference for yourself, even if it
is labeled otherwise.
NOTE: Examples of Macrocrystalline Quartz are clear quartz, Smokey Quartz,
Amethyst, Citrine which form in a singular point or clusters. These types of
quartz tend to be translucent and neither Jaspers nor Agates fall under this
category of Quartz.