I first came across this wonderful stuff in an article in the Lapidary Journal and was immediately transfixed by it. For some reason the flamboyant colours really appeal to me and I found myself staring at images of it on the internet for hours.
I finally found a rockhound over in the US who sent me some spectacular looking slabs pictured here. I chose the most vibrant ones that I could possibly find. In real life this stuff is even more amazing than I thought it would be. It arrived shortly before the festive season and unfortunately I’ve been too busy to cut it but now that I have some time on my hands I can finally start doing some work with it.
Bumblebee Jasper has been around since the 1990’s. It is found in the area of Mount Papandayan about 150 miles from Jakarta, Indonesia. The natives there call it ‘Batu Badar Blerang’ which roughly translates to ‘coal becoming sulpher’. It is made from a matrix of volcanic ash and deep earth mud with sulphur layers. It is composed of sulphur, layered gypsum and hematite all stuck together with tuff.
I hear that some of the volcanic vents where this rock is found have now filled and although Bumblebee Jasper can still be found, the colours aren’t as bright as they once were. So the brighter colours like the ones pictured here are in short supply.
I realise that this rock is not going to be to everyone’s taste, but I have decided that I absolutely love it! I can’t wait to show you what comes of my first cut.
It’s probably worth mentioning to you all that the yellow sulphur layers contain arsenic which can be released during the cutting and shaping process if you are not very careful. If I don’t make it out of the workshop alive then I’ll see you all on the other side…
Let’s hope that all will be well and that you’ll get to read the second instalment of my blog on Bumblebee Jasper one day soon.