Bumblebee Jasper is a relatively new rock for the metaphysical community and may only be found in the newest lapidaries, texts that describe gemstones and their powers. It’s name comes from its bold coloring of bright orange/yellow and black stripes, reminiscent of the beloved insect. Bumblebee Jasper may also form with “eyes” and other striking patterns. Despite the name, it is not in fact a form of Jasper, but rather a rare form of calcite-rich Limestone.
The earliest references for this unique stone date to the mid-1990s by a company called IndoAgate. They toured the mining sites in Indonesia and found the stone for sale in small local art and craft markets. The stone was originally called Batu Badar Blerang, which translates into “Fumerole Jasper”. The founder of IndoAgate purchased some of the stone, renamed them “Bumblebee Jasper” and introduced it the global community at the Tucson Gem Show. Because it is both fragile and beautiful, it is sold primarily as a metaphysical mineral. A rival seller later gave the stone yet another tradename, “Eclipse Jasper,” but most sellers prefer Bumblebee Jasper.
Bumblebee Jasper is formed in fumeroles, which are cracks in the earth’s crust near volcanoes where steam and gas can escape. Some fumeroles only last a few weeks or months, while others persist for decades or even centuries. The word fumerole comes from the Latin “fumus” meaning “to smoke.” When fumerorles are exposed to rain, they can become natural hotsprings. In some cases, the sediment around them liquefies into a “mudpot” and begins to boil. The most famous fumerole/mudpots are those belonging to the Yellowstone Super Volcano in Yellowstone National Park. Some of these mudpots are gray mud, but others are quite colorful due to the unique geology of the region and these colorful fumeroles are nicknamed “paintpots.”
Fumeroles can be found on volcanoes around the world. But the unique combination of geology on Mount Papandayan in West Java, Indonesia is the only location known to produce Bumblebee Jasper. Mount Papandayan is a stratovolcano with four craters and multiple fumerole fields. It most recently erupted in 2002. Bumblebee Jasper is considered one of the “youngest” rocks in the world and new deposits are being formed today.
Julie Abouzelof is the owner of Moonrise Crystals and an advocate for responsibly sourced gems and minerals. Her first career was in education teaching history, geology and anthropology, as well as working with special-needs students. She is now a heart-centered entrepreneur who encourages mindfulness and positive action to heal ourselves and the world. Julie lives in Hawaii with her lover and a little parrot named Darwin. She is rarely on social media, but enjoys connecting via email.