The Truth about "Vietnamese Jasper" .. and a site update!

Greetings Fellow Zuni fetish collectors!

One of the things that drew me to Zuni fetishes was my childhood attraction to rocks and fossils.  Some childhood interests never go away and my association with the artists of Zuni Pueblo has only deepened my appreciation for the natural wonders of this world.

As a Zuni fetish trader, we've been duped more than once by the so called claims of stone origins, after all, unless you dig the stone yourself from the ground, you're vulnerable to whatever story the seller spins to make the stone (and the subsequent carving) more "rare".    Darlene and I tried, early on, to verify the veracity of those stories that seemed suspect .. like the origins of Rainbow Calsilica (is it real or man made?), Black Honduran Opal (the story we got was it was made from heat treated sheep manure!)   The truth, in many cases was elusive but we tried!

For years we perpetuated the myth about "Vietnamese Jasper".  And only last week, I was able to finally learn the truth behind this earthy, caramel colored stone seemingly filled with small shell fish fossils.  Here's what I learned:
There seems to be an awful lot of names for this stone. Mariam stone, Mariam jasper, Mariyam jasper, Elephant skin jasper, India script stone, Arabic script stone, and Coquina jasper are but a few. Coquina jasper is a better desription of the stone and is a more accurate term! Coquina is the Spanish word for cockleshells or shellfish. This jasper is full of coquina fossilized clams. and the patterns in the rock are of fossilized coquinashells. In the magazine Lapidary Journal (Jan/Feb 2012) it is called Coquina jasper. According to the article, it is not a jasper, it is limestone with neat fossils embedded in it. Quote: With a hardness of 3, limestone is much softer than jasper… coquina is more like a marble than a jasper in that it is a sedimentary rock that has been transformed under pressure to something harder and more durable, but not as hard or durable as quartz. Unquote. Many rock cutters have stated that the stone fractures along the shell lines when slicing it for jewelry applications. Most So there you have it. The one thing that is certain and for sure is it is NOT Vietnamese jasper, and I personally must apologize for sustaining and perpetuating this falsehood
Lynn Quma
Cochina Jasper
The stone formerly known as "Vietnamese Jasper"
Even after that explanation, the origin of the stone is still elusive.  Most of the vendors of the stone are in India.  Some say .. India is where the stone comes from.  Others say it's African in origin.  But no reliable source indicates it is from Viet Nam.

I'm updating  tonight at 7 PM.  Fifteen new and wonderful Zuni fetish carvings (some really special ones!) will be added to the site this evening.  I hope you'll stop by and check them out.

Best wishes!

Zuni Spirits SITE Update! 5.13.14 @ 7 PM Central ...


I hope this little note from East Texas finds everyone well and happy.  I'd like to wish all the moms out there a glorious Mother's Day!

I'll be adding new inventory to the website on Tuesday evening, May 13th, at 7 PM Texas time.  I hope you'll tune in to see what is new from Zuni-land.  Also, last week, I reduced the price on about 25 previously listed carvings.  You might just find that one you had your eye on is now even MORE attractive.  (The sale section is just below the new inventory.)

Darlene gave me permission to share a few of her recent paintings with you.  She is really enjoying herself these days and feels "normal".  We're grateful that she's been cancer free for almost three years.

Thanks for looking and we hope to hear from you soon.  You may send your orders & inquiries to the email below., going strong since 1999!

Best wishes!

Zuni Spirits


Greetings from the Piney woods!

I hope you'll take a spin around the Zunispirits website as I have put twenty five Zuni fetishes on sale this morning!  Lynn Quam, Patrick Wallace, Alonzo Esalio - - even a Edna Leki carving has been reduced.  Just click the link above and scroll past the "new stuff" to the items that are now on sale.

I hope you find something you just can't DO without!

I think our recent email issues have been resolved but remember you can reach me at:

  • david at zunispirits dot com
  • darlene at zunispirits dot com
  • zunispirits at yahoo dot com 

(Discreetly disguised to fool the spambots! Please use proper email syntax!)

All best wishes for a Happy Spring (& fast approaching Summer!)

Dave during one of our rare Texas snow storms of 2010

Zuni Spirits

Darlene's shot of a dragonfly by the pond.

Gypsy.  Our newest rescue pup.

Darlene calls them "Honeymoon Beetles".  :)

Wooly whites - a prolific wildflower in these parts.