One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1An opaque reddish-brown semi-precious stone consisting of a variety of chalcedony.
- ‘We think that the nearby Houserville inhabitants obtained most of their tool stone from the Hatch quarry because more than 95 percent of their artifacts are made of Bald Eagle jasper.’
- ‘Silica precipitated from aqueous solution at low temperatures gives cryptocrystalline varieties such as opal, jasper, chalcedony, agate, carnelian, onyx, flint, and chert.’
- ‘Standing at 151 inches by 91 inches, the cabinet is said to be the greatest Florentine work of art of its time and includes lapis lazuli, agate and Sicilian red and green jasper.’
- ‘The depictions of birds and flowers were executed in precious materials including lapis lazuli, agate, Sicilian red and green jasper, chalcedony, amethyst and quartz as well as superb hard stones.’
- ‘Attractive gemstone paintings, which use garnet, turquoise, yellow agate and red jasper, from Agra catch the attention of visitors.’
2A kind of fine hard porcelain developed by Josiah Wedgwood and used for Wedgwood cameos and other delicate work.
- ‘The crowning achievement and one that sealed jasperware as the most sought after decorative pottery in England and the Continent was his reproduction of the famous Portland Vase in 1790 after 4 years of laborious trials.’
- ‘The factory also made porcelain jugs imitating the Wedgwood jasperware, as did other factories in Staffordshire.’
- ‘One year I took gloss black enamel and spray-painted the pots - they all took on the look of black Wedgwood jasperware.’
- ‘At that time as well, the Alcora factory began to imitate the jasperware made by Wedgwood.’
Middle English (originally denoting any bright-coloured chalcedony other than carnelian): from Old French jasp(r)e, from Latin iaspis, from Greek, of oriental origin. The origin of sense 3 is uncertain.
A wasp.‘I got stung by a jasper this morning’
1960s: origin uncertain; perhaps from the male given name Jasper (from the similarity in sound between the name and the word wasp).
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