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EducationBumble Bee "Jasper"

14th Jun 2017 17:36 UTCKristi Hugs

This is quite disturbing for me and I would like to get to the bottom of it. When doing some research for a jasper ID page I am working on, I came across Bumble Bee Jasper. That is not the disturbing part......:)

Mindat states that Bumble Bee "Jasper" is actually a variety of Calcite

Trade name for colorful fibrous calcite found at Mount Papandayan, West Java, Indonesia. The material is made of radially grown fibrous calcite with a distinctive yellow, orange and black banding. "Jasper" is a misnomer, as it contains no or only very little quartz.

HOWEVER, many of the vendors I have spoken with state that it is a silicon based mineral that contains poisonous arsenic (like orpiment).

So either it needs to be handled carefully (if you believe the vendors) or it is a calcite that does not.

I am sure I am missing something here. Can you help me to clarify? thank you!!

14th Jun 2017 18:01 UTCDoug Schonewald

Here is a link from the GIA. Hope that helps.

14th Jun 2017 18:12 UTCKristi Hugs

thank you!! how can there be such a disparity? in the GIA write up there does not appear to be any poisonous factor, but other websites are positive there is. So, it has to be two different make ups with the same name maybe? Thanks again!! this is very helpful!

14th Jun 2017 19:56 UTCReiner Mielke Expert

I wonder if some people are selling that orange orpiment from china as bumble bee jasper? That would explain the reference to arsenic. Should be easy to distinguish the two, one dissolves in HCl the other ( orpiment) does not. Also if it is silica based you should not be able to scratch it with a nail whereas orpiment can be easily scratched by a nail as can calcite.

14th Jun 2017 20:19 UTCKristi Hugs

maybe? Thanks Reiner!!

It was also suggested elsewhere that the orange, yellow, and black material was formed from a mixture of Indonesian volcano lava and sediment. The lava and sediment contain arsenic. Not sure how calcite comes into play there, but I will keep looking!

14th Jun 2017 22:44 UTCGary Weinstein

When this material came out a few years ago I remember an article in R&G about it. As I recall it was listed as an arsenic compound. It was also very costly for such material.

Hope this helps.


14th Jun 2017 22:52 UTCKristi Hugs

Thanks Gary!!! very helpful!

14th Jun 2017 23:29 UTCWayne Corwin

this is what happens when made up trade names are slapped on almost anything,,,, just to make a sale,,,,, it could be almost anything.

14th Jun 2017 23:37 UTCKristi Hugs

Indeed. This is what I have pieced together from various mineralogy sites, websites, etc. The only thing I have not found, other than on mindat is verification it is a type of calcite. I am continuing to research.......................

Bumble Bee Jasper - This is technically NOT a Jasper (or IS it? The jury is still out) but since many vendors sell it as such, I have added it here for teaching purposes. The term jasper is a misnomer. This vibrantly colored orange, yellow, and black material was formed from a mixture of Indonesian volcano lava and sediment. Further inquiries reveal that it may contain hematite, sulfur, ilmenite and other mineral inclusions INCLUDING ARSENIC.

(Although one website/seller stated it may contain anhydrite-- which would verify the calcite part. But it was only one website out of the two dozen I have read so far).

It is also referred to Fumarolic or Fumarole Jasper. At the Tucson show a few years back, the GIA reported that it was also being sold as "Eclipse" Jasper. Those pieces containing sulphur may fluoresce under a black light.

**CAUTION!! ALWAYS wash hands after handling. Avoid inhaling dust when handling or breaking. Never lick or ingest.**

15th Jun 2017 00:18 UTCWayne Corwin

Big Problem still comes down to,,,, not every dealer is selling the same thing,,,, even if it says it is.

And since when is a jasper something other than a variety of quartz ???

Have I had my head in a pocket too long ???

15th Jun 2017 01:13 UTCKristi Hugs

true........I simply want to give people as much information as possible so they can ask questions of the dealer. Some sites state there is arsenic, others do not. Either way, people need to be aware of the possibilities. This "jasper" could be dangerous (arsenic) And why I am trying to share all that I can. I just want it to be accurate.

15th Jun 2017 02:18 UTCAlfredo Petrov Manager

Me and John Attard have analyzed this material by wet chemistry and x-ray diffraction, and the results are indubitable:

It is not jasper, nor anything related to silica at all; it is limestone, composed mainly of calcite. The coloring matter is realgar, As2S2, not orpiment, despite what the yellow color might suggest. (Remember that it's extremely finely divided, and the streak color of realgar is yellow-orange.)

As for its safety, as usual in the case of ornamental stones containing toxic elements (eg: malachite, etc), it is harmless unless ingested. So it's no danger to the collector, but I wouldn't want to be the poor bastard who cuts and polishes it. (I wouldn't even want to be his neighbor.)

15th Jun 2017 02:24 UTCKristi Hugs

Thank you Alfredo. You always give me irrefutable evidence for which I am so grateful!! Is Indonesia correct for location? and the volcano info.....yay or nay?

15th Jun 2017 02:48 UTCAlfredo Petrov Manager

Hi Kristi, yes, Indonesia is definitely correct, but more precise than that I can't say. Allegedly from near the volcano, but whether "near" means 1 mile or a hundred, I've no idea. Indonesians are usually rather vague about where they dig stuff.

15th Jun 2017 03:13 UTCKristi Hugs

thank you!!

15th Jun 2017 21:27 UTCEd Clopton 🌟 Expert

And which Indonesian volcano? There are dozens of active ones there, and dozens upon dozens more dormant and extinct. It's a little like saying "from the pegmatite in Brazil" . . . .

16th Jun 2017 01:41 UTCDavid Sheumack

Kristi et al, Several years ago a friend was importing this material and to me, the yellow color looked reminiscent of realgar so I had some analysed for heavy metals by ICPMS. And yes, it is quite rich in arsenic as the analyses shows. Also Amir has identified the island/volcano from which this material is mined (see indoagate).

16th Jun 2017 01:58 UTCKristi Hugs

Is it ok if I hug you David? :)

16th Jun 2017 02:07 UTCDavid Sheumack

Glad I could help you Kristi

16th Jun 2017 02:08 UTCAlfredo Petrov Manager

..."identified the island/volcano from which this material is mined"

I very much doubt that the material comes from the volcano itself. You don't normally find calcite in a volcano! I suppose the Indonesians merely use the volcano as a convenient nearby landmark, and "nearby" is a rather fuzzy concept ;))

28th Sep 2017 13:09 UTCStone Mania 🌟

I too had been told on pretty good authority that this material whatever its name, contained traces of orpiment but David and Alfredo's responses further confirm how much misinformation is passed around about rocks and minerals.

Thanks for getting to the bottom of this, now to adjust the blurb on my website that I've written about this stone. Oh by the way, Eclipse Stone is a name that originated in Jaipur in India where they cut huge volumes of cabochons for use in gemstone jewellery. They often make up their own names for stones over there, they call Kambaba Jasper, Star Galaxy Jasper!




28th Sep 2017 16:37 UTCDoug Schonewald

Can we leave politics, and political comments, to the politicians or another venue. I get plenty of that from other venues. There is no place for that here. It is a mineral site
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