‘Bumblebee Jasper’ / ‘Mustard Jasper’
An attractive orange, white, and black mineral – the contrasts of this piece make it a popular eye-catcher. However, it has a dark secret.
First of all, this material is not a form of Jasper at all. Dripping acids onto the surface will produce bubbles of gas, showing it is at least in part a Carbonate.
When tested, the grey and white areas are found to be Calcium Carbonate. The black areas are caused by Pyrite inclusions – the yellow and orange areas are coloured by Realgar – Arsenic Sulfide.
While safe enough to display, this mineral should ideally not be handled too often; it should not be kept within reach of pets or children.
In my opinion, due to proximity to the skin, it should not be used for jewellery making, especially in any form where it openly contacts the skin (beads, etc).
Lapidary, cutting, or grinding of this material is just something I can’t recommend to anyone.
One of the Mindat users posted an ICP-MS result for a test of the material, which had a 12000mg per kilogram Arsenic level; the lethal level in humans is 140-1400mg. Obviously, you aren’t going to be eating it – but dust, skin contact… what if a child puts a tumblestone in their mouth? What about the people who cut and polished it?
This is especially dangerous to the lapidaries who work the material but should be considered by everyone and should be made public knowledge by as many sellers as possible.
I will not sell this material, even if purely for the sakes of the poor bugger who has to cut it, often in a small studio with inadequate ventilation.