Jasper is an opaque aggregate of quartz and/or chalcedony. It comes in variations of green, yellow, brown, red, and very rarely blue. Red is the most common color due to iron inclusions. Due to its aggregate nature, jasper breaks with a smooth surface. This, with its beautiful colors, makes it a popular gemstone. Japer gets its beautiful colors from organic inclusions which then deteriorate allowing for more minerals to be filled in later; this makes hydrothermal circulation a vital part of the formation of jasper. The green with red spots variety of jasper is considered a birthstone of March, along with bloodstone.
The name "jasper" actually means "spotted stone," and may have originated from Hebrew or Akkadian. This said, it seems that for much of ancient history, only green jasper was referred to as "jasper." One of the earliest jasper artifacts dates to the 4th or 5th century BCE and is a green jasper bow drill (a primitive type of drill using a bow to twist the drill bit, like what is used to make fire) found in Mehrgarh in modern day Pakistan.
Possible correspondences: ancient history, change over time, early civilization, fire, March, water.