Jasper, a variety of the quartz family occurring in the form of rocky masses, which often make up the greater portion of hills of considerable size. It is of various shades of red, yellow, brown, and green, the colors sometimes arranged in stripes, when it is called ribbon jasper. The hues are derived mostly from iron in different degrees of oxidation, and the stripes are sometimes found to be the marks of former stratification of the rock, which are retained in the metamorphic product, and sometimes presented in a brecciated appearance resulting from the forcible breaking up of the strata. From the extreme hardness of the stone and its susceptibility of taking a high polish, it is much used for ornamental purposes, having similar applications to porphyry. Bloodstone or heliotrope is a deep green variety of quartz with blood-red spots of jasper sprinkled through its mass. Lydian stone or touchstone is a velvet-black, flinty variety, used for testing the purity of alloys of gold. The alloy is rubbed upon the stone so as to leave upon it a metallic streak, and the quality is estimated by the color produced on applying nitric acid.
The fitness of the stone for this use arises from its easily abrading the metal, not being itself affected by the acid, and presenting a dark smooth ground best adapted for exhibiting shades of color. Jasper was highly prized by the ancients, and was much used for cameos. It was the twelfth stone in the breastplate of the high priest, according to the English version of the Old Testament, and is frequently referred to in the Apocalypse in describing the New Jerusalem. Mr. Atkinson, in his work on " Oriental and Western Siberia," speaks of the jasper in the upper valleys of the Ural, and found himself some beautiful specimens of it in a ravine on the banks of the river Irtish, some of the rocks there being jasper of a dark reddish brown and others of a deep purple. He observed blocks of a beautiful green jasper on the banks of the Mein, in the neighborhood of the Tcherny (Black) Beryl, and in several other localities; also jasper of a deep red color in the valley of the Eremil. The principal deposit of jasper is the gorge of the Korgon. The labor of cutting out the large blocks is enormous; the workmen drill holes five inches apart the whole length of the block, and to the depth required; into these they drive dry birch-wood pins, which they keep wet till they swell and burst off the mass.
The workmen arrive at the Korgon in May, and remain there until September, when they return to their homes, some of which are at a distance of 400 to 500 m. Small stone huts are built against the precipices at the bottom of the ravine, where they live, stowed away in filth and wretchedness, feeding upon black bread and salt, and receiving the lowest of wages. Several cases of this jasper were exhibited in the London crystal palace in 1851, and a medal was awarded to them. The most beautiful variety of jasper is the Egyptian pebble, found where its name indicates, in small translucent nodules of olive brown with darker markings, and ranked among the lesser gems.
Jasper, the name of seven counties in the United States. I. A central county of Georgia, bounded TV. by the Ocmulgee river; area, 480 sq. m.; pop. in 1870, 10,439, of whom 6,555 were colored. The surface is uneven and the soil moderately fertile. Gold, iron, granite, jasper, and garnets are found in the county. The chief productions in 1870 were 22,274 bushels of wheat, 185,870 of Indian corn, 15,543 of sweet potatoes, 79,099 lbs. of butter, and 5,937 bales of cotton. There were 977 horses, 1,091 mules and asses, 1,729 milch cows, 2,800 other cattle, 1,885 sheep, and 8,196 swine; 4 carriage factories, and 3 saw mills. Capital, Monticello. II. A S. E. county of Mississippi, drained by affluents of Leaf river; area, 650 sq. m.; pop. in 1870,10,884, of whom 4,898 were colored. The surface is uneven and the soil fertile. The chief productions in 1870 were 255,858 bushels of Indian corn, 42,225 of sweet potatoes, 48,814 lbs. of butter, and 4,273 bales of cotton. There were 1,704 horses, 841 mules and asses, 3,621 milch cows, 1,335 working oxen, 5,034 other cattle, 4,104 sheep, and 18,418 swine. Capital, Paulding. III. A S. E. county of Texas, bounded W. by the Neches and Angelina rivers, here navigable by steamboats; area, 918 sq. m.; pop. in 1870, 4,218, of whom 1,759 were colored.
The surface is undulating and hilly and well timbered. The soil is thin, but in the neighborhood of the streams very fertile; a large part of it is devoted to pasturage. The chief productions in 1870 were 90,377 bushels of Indian corn, 25,559 of sweet potatoes, 1,928 bales of cotton, 10,998 lbs. of tobacco, and 6,850 of rice. There were 884 horses, 2,088 milch cows, 7,832 other cattle, 2,173 sheep, and 10,775 swine. Capital, Jasper. IV. A N. W. county of Indiana, bounded N. by Kankakee river, and drained by the Iroquois; area, about 675 sq. m.; pop. in 1870, 6,354. The surface is mostly a level prairie, diversified with tracts of timber, and composed partly of the Kankakee marshes or wet prairies. The soil is suitable for pasturage. The chief productions in 1870 were 31,711 bushels of wheat, 111,882 of Indian corn, 79,606 of oats, 20,673 of potatoes, 22,928 lbs. of wool, 126,132 of butter, and 23,129 tons of hay. There were 3,119 horses, 3,192 milch cows, 11,272 other cattle, 7,038 sheep, and 5,078 swine. Capital, Rensselaer. V. A S. E. county of Illinois, intersected by Embarras river; area, 484 sq. m.; pop. in 1870, 11,234. It has a level and in some places marshy surface, about two thirds of which is occupied by prairies. Much of the soil is fertile.
The St. Louis, Vandalia, Terre Haute, and Indianapolis railroad touches the N. W. corner. The chief productions in 1870 were 87,808 bushels of wheat, 461,345 of Indian corn, 149,214 of oats, 21,755 of potatoes, 43,465 lbs. of wool, and 10,739 tons of hay. There were 4,170 horses, 2,946 milch cows, 5,173 other cattle, 17,350 •sheep, and 12,503 swine. Capital, Newton. VI. A S. E. central county of Iowa, traversed by Skunk river and the N. fork of that stream; area, 720 sq. m.; pop. in 1870, 22,116. It has an undulating surface, occupied in great part by fertile prairies, thinly timbered. Coal is abundant. The Chicago, Rock Island, and Pacific and the Des Moines Valley railroads cross it. The chief productions in 1870 were 773,-429 bushels of wheat, 2,102,366 of Indian corn, 270,631 of oats, 185,736 of potatoes, 570,285 lbs. of butter, 40,865 of wool, and 28,454 tons of hay. There were 8,506 horses, 6,658 milch cows, 10,244 other cattle, 15,836 sheep, and 31,263 swine; 12 manufactories of carriages, 4 of furniture, 1 of machinery, 11 of saddlery and harness, 3 flour mills, and 7 saw mills. Capital, Newton. VII. A S. W. county of Missouri, bordering on Kansas, and drained by Spring river; area, about 550 sq. m.; pop. in 1870, 14,928, of whom 138 were colored.
It has an undulating surface and a good soil. The chief productions in 1870 were 87,658 bushels of wheat, 528,591 of Indian corn, 133,016 of oats, 33,418 of potatoes, 38,753 lbs. of wool, 209,967 of butter, and 11,054 tons of hay. There were 4,795 horses, 3,429 milch cows, 7,927 other cattle, 11,444 sheep, and 14,249 swine; 2 manufactories of saddlery and harness, 3 of tin, copper, and sheet-iron ware, 1 of pig lead, and 5 saw mills. Capital, Carthage.