Owyhee Jasper History

Original Owyhee or Owyhee Gem picture jasper is a classic old-stock material from Eastern Oregon near Homedale, Idaho near the foothills of the Owyhee mountains. The patterns often resemble the rolling desert hills and blue sky of the desert in which it originates.
The story of its discovery is now folklore, but there are a few common names and themes that repeat.  Owyhee Jasper was discovered sometime between 1967 - 1971 by Bruce Markus and Ralph Fuson and brought to market by Dudley Stewart at Stewarts Gem Shop.
Bruce and his buddy Ralph were out in the Owyhee mountains one day chasing a herd of wild horses, in a VW Bug, on the only dirt road that traveled from fisherman's road to Leslie Gulch road (near three fingers rock). They came to a dirt ridge that had veered off the road and the horses, trying to get away from these two nuts, took the ridge away from the road hoping to lose them. Not to be outdone, Bruce went off the road and kept following the herd. He saw brush but no rock and thought he could do it even if there was a steep drop-off to his left. The duo continued chasing the herd for a bout a quarter of a mile, laughing all the way, until the herd dropped over the steep side of the hill and ran to the Gulch below them. Bruce came to a stop, got out and watched the herd gallop away to freedom dust billowing behind them. Delighted, Bruce and Ralph walked along the ridge top admiring the blocks of beautiful stone lying around the entire top of the ridge. They didn't have a hammer so they broke one rock with another and couldn't believe what they saw. Bruce being a county assessor knew a lot of locals and happened to know Dudley Stewart. Even though Bruce wasn't particularly a rockhound at the time he knew of Dudley's shop and the rockhound attraction. Ralph and Bruce filled the Volkswagen bug full of rock and took it to Dudley. Dudley was amazed and excited and encouraged them to claim the deposit and agreed to market it for them through his rock shop. 
The discovery of Owyhee Picture Jasper lead to the eventual "Picture Jasper Rush" of the Owyhee area. At the height of its mining, the Owyhee was mined 24 hours a day! Now the mine is thought to be depleted, but pieces can be found occasionally.