Jasper vs Chert: What Are They, And What’s The Difference?

If you are a rock collector or you are interested in rocks and minerals, perhaps you’ve heard of Jasper and Chert.

Jasper and Chert are two rocks that are somewhat similar to each other, but with key differences that make them unique.

In this article, we are going to take a close look at what both Jasper and Chert are, explain the differences between the two, and give you more information about these wonderful rocks.

Jasper vs Chert (Compared)

Jasper and Chert are often confused with each other and sometimes, due to the similarity between the two, the two names are often used interchangeably.

For those who collect rocks, finding out more information about these two types of rock will probably lead you back to each other sooner or later.

What are Jasper and Chert?

Jasper and Chert are opaque specimens of the type of rock known as microcrystalline quartz.

Indeed, they are often confused and the same specimen may be called Chert by one person and Jasper by another, and Flint by yet another.

In this variety of microcrystalline quartz, there are four distinct scientific names for some of the similar stones; Chert, Red Jasper, Novaculite, and Flint.

Despite the similarities that they have, there are a few differences between Jasper and Chert, so let’s describe what they are, precisely.

What is Jasper?

The stone known as Jasper is a variety of rock known as Chalcedony, which is a microcrystalline type of silica.

This stone has many different properties and it usually comes in several colors including brown, yellow, green, and red.

The name Jasper itself means “speckled stone or spotted stone” and it comes from an old French origin.

In ancient times, it was used to make bow drills in the 4th and 5th centuries.

Jasper was known to be a green color primarily in those days, although it is now associated with the color red, as many specimens that are found in the US are of that color.

Jasper is always opaque and it can be in virtually any color, not just the ones listed.

The mineral content of Jasper is based in part due to sediments or ash being present in the consolidation process that forms it, with depositional patterns in the silica-rich sediment or volcanic ash.

There are also what are known as “Picture Jaspers” which exhibit patterns in different combinations that result in what appear to be images or scenes when cut open.

These patterns include depositional patterns from wind or water as well as banding from the flow in color variations or dendric variations.

What is Chert?

Chert, on the other hand, is considered a hard or fine-grained sedimentary rock that is made of microcrystalline quartz which is a mineral form of what is known as silicon dioxide.

It is usually found in layer deposits or nodules as well as consecration masses.

Chert is known to have a potential biological origin and is believed to have been created, in some cases, by the introduction of dead sea life during formation.

Chert comes in a large variety of colors, including yellow, orange, red, green, white, black, brown, or cream.

Darker colors of Chert are often the result of inclusions of organic or mineral matter.

Sometimes Jasper is used as the name for reddish Chert.

In ancient times, the stones were fashioned into arrowheads or cabochons although today they have no practical use except for perhaps jewelry.

The edges of Chert that are broken are very sharp and tend to retain the sharpness that they have because it is a very durable and hard rock.

Because of this, in ancient times, Chert was used to produce knives and arrowheads and used for other cutting purposes.

There are many minor impurities within Chert that give it its distinct solidly opaque appearance.

Jasper and Chert are Extremely Similar

It is believed by most people that Jasper and Chert are in many cases synonymous with each other and people confuse the stones quite easily most of the time.

Indeed, they are the same stone in many respects, although they go by different names.

People’s educational background and other factors, including the folklore they have been exposed to, will influence whether someone calls the stone one way or the other, either Jasper or Chert.

They’re not exactly the same, however, and some of the key differences that they have include the inclusions of additional organic matter found in the type of inclusions that you will find in Jasper, and they are patterned differently.

The fact of the matter is people often use the two names for different reasons for basically the same stone in many cases.

How to Identify a Jasper and Chert Specimen

You will usually find an opaque crystal type of rock that has either inclusions of a spotted variety or is slightly infused with a gray type of matter.

This microcrystalline quartz has had many uses in the past, but it’s today not really used for very much besides jewelry.

Jewelry fashioned from Jasper or Chert is often quite beautiful and ornate and precious metals are used such as silver, gold, and platinum.

Earrings, pendants, necklaces, bracelets, and even rings are created out of the stones and you can usually pick up specimens for a very inexpensive price.

You can also get specimens of Jasper and Chert through rock collectors or online on many websites as well.

How Hard are Jasper and Chert?

Jasper and Chert have a high hardness and are not really particularly malleable for many purposes, and they are usually used only for jewelry or decorations or for rock collectors’ collections, as modern-day materials have outdated their other uses.

Where to Find Jasper and Chert

Jasper and shirt can be found in many locations throughout the world although there are heavy concentrations in the US, India, Egypt, Russia, Madagascar, Australia, and other countries in South and North America. Chert can also be found in abundance in Kansas.

If you are interested in Jasper and Chert, and you want to know more, you can just ask rock collectors or do more research online specifically on the subject.

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Jasper vs Chert