About 16 years ago, my friend and colleague; Dr Lew Kleinhans, invited me to take a drive thru West Java. The focus of the trip, were several active volcanic areas in the Bandung and Garut regencies. We stopped at hot springs and hiked into steamy calderas with active fumaroles. Some of these areas were being actively explored by Unocal’s Indonesian Geothermal Division for their potential to produce low cost geothermal energy.
One memorable location was a very young, breached caldera near the town of Garut called Mount Papandayan. The peak is around 8,700ft high which is one of the tallest volcanoes in Indonesia. Within the arc shaped crater there are 4 main vent areas. We saw boiling volcanic mud pools and vents spewing smelly H2S gasses (Photo #1).
Some locals were collecting native sulfur in baskets where it had precipitated around the hot vents.
Later, on my return to Jakarta, I took my old college roommate and his wife thru the arts and handcrafts floor of the Pasaraya mall in “Blok M”. I noticed some polished stones with wavy orange, yellow and black bands. This was similar to the stone which locals were collecting for sulfur in Garut. The attendant called it Batu Badar Blerang which translates to Fumarole Jasper (Photo #3)... Not such a catchy name.
Back at the village in West Java, I watched Indonesian Craftsmen cutting and polishing cabochons from river rolled jaspers and agates. I asked about the “Batu Blerang”. One of the guys produced some bull’s-eye and yin-yang cabochons in progress being cut from the material. They were quite attractive with the combination of high contrast black and yellow (Photo #4 & 5).
I decided to call it “Bumblebee Jasper”. I bought some rough and a few cut stones to ship to the US and show some Tucson vendors (Photos #6 thru #9).
We will see if the risk is worth the reward….or whether the volcano gods revoke our permits.