Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Morrisonite is without a doubt the most beautiful and sought after jasper in the world. This gem grade jasper first began to make it’s way into the hands of rockhounds in the late 1940’s. It didn’t take long for the word to spread of this magnificent new material, and soon rockhounds from all over were traveling to Eastern Oregon in search of Morrisonite.
Morrisonite, also known as Morrison Ranch Jasper, was first discovered in the early 1930’s by James Morrison. Morrison lived in a one room stone house located in an Owyhee river canyon. He made a living off his land and had a passion for Native American artifacts.
It wasn’t until the late 1940’s when James invited friends over who shared his artifact collecting enthusiasm that he showed this new and unusual rock he had found on his property. It was not long after that the first claim was filed.
Over the course of 40 years miners came and went, and there are currently 5 claims. The most famous of these claims are the Amy Ellen, Christine Marie, and Jakes Place claim with the latter of these producing the most material that is on the market today. The Amy Ellen however is famous for having the most exotically colored jasper. The last major production of morrisonite was done by Eugene Miller of The Gem Shop in 1996.
Although referred to as a jasper now, when Morrisonite was first discovered nobody knew exactly what it was. Being called everything from a jasper to a jade, Morrisonite displays a wide variety of colors and patterns. It is unique in the fact that it is not found in other gem grade materials. It has also become very rare and hard to find, so you can imagine how thrilled we were to run across and entire box (22 pounds) of it at an auction! This material is also incredibly hard and takes an amazing hard polish. It has definitely become one of my favorite rocks!
You can see more Morrisonite cabs we have cut here.