Biggs Jasper

Biggs Jasper is an opaque, dark brown variety of Chalcedony Quartz containing patches or veins of yellow and white quartzite or feldspar. It’s been mined since the 1960s for use in lapidary arts.  The common brownish-red color is caused by iron oxide.

Biggs Jasper often displays circular patterns formed by concentric circles of mineral deposits.


Types of Biggs Jasper

There are a couple of different types of Biggs Jasper but all of them hail from the same location and have differences that set them apart. By looking at the material you’ll notice the biggest differences between the type of Biggs Jasper is the color and the circular patterns.

If you’re looking to learn more about how to identify different jaspers and how to value jasper, then click the links.


Blue Biggs Jasper


Blue Biggs Jasper

Blue Biggs Jasper was sourced from Biggs Junction in Oregon but the sad news is the deposit has been paved over, making the rough material relatively scarce. The highly-prized stones are often cut to represent beautiful landscape sceneries.

This variety of Jasper is part of a Miocene series of rocks called the John Day Formation. These highly decorative stones are used for trinkets, jewelry, and decoration.

Some rockhounds and rock enthusiasts call Biggs Jasper, Blue Biggs, or Biggs-Formation Picture Jasper.


Biggs Picture Jasper


Biggs Picture Jasper

Biggs Picture Jasper is generally a dark brown color with beautiful bands, swirls, arcs, and lines. The lines and bands come in various colors, including light brown, tan, gray-brown, yellow, or blue. If you’re wondering what causes the colors you see in Biggs Picture Jasper then you can blame it on the high iron content and other impurities that were present during its creation.

Native Americans were the first to discover this type of picture Jasper and it went unnoticed until the mid-1960s when flooding washed the great boulders free and revealed the material.

The name of these incredible stones is a perfect description of Nature’s artwork and lapidary artists bring them to life when they reveal the landscape patterns through cutting and polishing.


Biggs Jasper cabochon


Biggs Jasper Location

Biggs Junction, Oregon, is one of the most well-known producers of the finest Picture Jasper. For anyone unfamiliar with this area, there are a few different Jasper outcrops occurring within the Biggs Triangle. This area extends from the mouth of the Deschutes River – where Deschutes Jasper was once mined – to Rufus, Oregon (east of Biggs Junction) and on to China Hollow, where Jasper and Agate have been mined for many years.

These Jasper deposits are present at several different locations where erosion from the Columbia River, exposes the deposits within the canyon walls. One of the most notable occurrences is the road cut just south of US HWY 97 and south of Biggs Junction. This location is where classic Biggs and Blue Biggs are found.

Biggs Jasper deposits at these locations formed when low-lying marshes and shallow ponds were inundated and buried by pulses of lava emanating from fissures in northeast Oregon and southeast Washington. However, the roadwork that’s been done has made it more challenging to find these highly sought-after Jaspers.

Did you know a new Biggs Jasper vein was discovered?


Biggs Jasper For Sale


Biggs Jasper For Sale

The varieties of Biggs Jasper can be purchased from various sources. Of course, the prices will vary depending on the size, quality, cuts, polished vs. unpolished, and seller. Jewelers, lapidaries, and gem trade shows are among the best places to source Biggs Jasper.

As far as pricing goes, you can find some rough Biggs Jasper for about $26 per pound, while beautifully polished specimens are about $85 per pound.

Suppose you’re new to rockhounding and collecting. In that case, it’s vital that you know how to correctly identify the crystals, gems, and stones you’re going to buy. You wouldn’t want to overpay for Biggs Jasper or any other gemstone. That’s why you need to find trusted online sellers or visit your local rock and mineral show.

Jerred Morris
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2 Responses

  1. Thank you for the great site. Could you please give better directions to the sites we would love to try hounding in these awesome places. Thank you.

    1. Cheryl – Biggs jasper is getting more difficult to source because they paved over the claim with the freeway. My best suggestion, go to my Oregon or Idaho page and scroll to the bottom. You’ll find the local rock and mineral clubs listed. They do field trips and you’ll meet locals who will help you find and dig for rocks.

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