Australian Gemstones - Rhyolite (Rainforest Jasper)

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Rainforest Jasper is a rare type of rhyolitic lava, associated with volcanic activity in some areas. Gas bubbles are trapped in the lava flow during solidification, creating pockets which are later filled, or partially filled by flows of siliceous material, which may be Agate, Jasper, Quartz Crystal or other minerals. The Rhyolite usually occurs in association with Thunder Eggs, another volcanic gemstone.

Rainforest Jasper is known in different parts of the world by several other names. These include Spherulitic Rhyolite, Agatised Rhyolite and Green Rhyolite.

This unique gemstone is mined only at Mt Hay, 38 kms west of Rockhampton in Central Queensland. It was first mined commercially in the late 1960’s and continues to be a popular gemstone with cutters and collectors around the world.

The Rhyolites of the Mt Hay volcanics, which are dated at around 120 millions years old, occur in varying shades of green, brown, red and cream. The colour range and variety of minerals that infill the Rhyolite, create a unique and attractive gemstone.

Rainforest Jasper is used extensively in the manufacture of beads, cabochons, ornaments and more recently in the furniture and building industries.