As a traditional male name, Jasper is a variant of Caspar or Gaspar (the name of one of the biblical Magi).
But it can also come from the name of an opaque variety of quartz that is often polished and used as a gemstone. In this sense, the word jasper ultimately derives from the Persian word for the stone.
Jasper was only the 566th most popular name for boys in 2006, but it does seem to be an up-and-comer (judging by the number of people I’ve seen talking about it online). What do you think?
Update 1: Jasper has indeed been trudging up the charts in the years since I first published this post. In 2007, it ranked 465th. In 2008, it was 449th. Care to guess how high it’ll go?
Update 2: Here are the most recent #s.
- 2009: 940 baby boys (337th) & 31 baby girls
- 2010: 1,177 baby boys (286th) & 12 baby girls
- 2011: 1,240 baby boys (282nd) & 28 baby girls