Bloodstone and its properties.
Bloodstone is also known as “heliotrope” which is an opaque green variety of chalcedony. The name, Bloodstone, was chosen because of the stone’s many red spots which are caused by Haematite. This is due to the red spots resembling drops of blood.
The red spots on the normally dark green gemstones are caused by the presence of iron oxides.
The heliotrope name comes from the Greek words helios meaning “sun” and tropos meaning “turn”. This is because in ancient times they believed it could turn the rays of the sun red and, if put into water, would show the sun as a blood red image.
The ancient Greeks and Romans believed that if worn by athletes they would gain endurance. Medieval people believed that Christ’s blood dripping down from the cross caused the red spots and therefore it had special powers such as stopping a haemorrhage if touched.
Bloodstone is porous and quite soft but is a very popular gemstone, usually cut as a cabochon.
Bloodstone is often used to make pendants, rows of beads, as a sealstone (with an engraved device) and very popular for men’s signet rings and cufflinks.
It has been cut into cameos and used for decorative carvings for a long time. In medieval times it was often carved into sculptures depicting the crucifixion and martyrdom. A fine example of carved Bloodstone can be found in the Louvre featuring a seal of the famous German Emperor, Rudolf ll.
When treated to heat the green background turns to a grey colour and the red spots turn to a black.
The virtues of this gemstone are ascribed as being good for circulation of both energy and blood in the body. It is also said to aid in the removal of energy blocks and when several pieces are placed in different places around the home, it is suggested that it enhances the flow of life’s energy.
The most important deposits are in India. It is also found in Australia, Brazil, China and the United States.
Treasured in ancient times, Bloodstone was used as the birthstone for March. It was replaced by some in 1912, by Aquamarine. However, it still remains the Zodiacal stone for Aries.
This stone is associated with the birthstone for females with the name Belle and for males with the name Benjamin. It is also the Planet stone for Mars.
Bloodstone is a member of the Chalcedony group of gems, which in turn belong to the cryptcrystalline family of Quartz. In the trade it is sometimes called “blood jasper”. Bloodstone, however, is not a jasper at all, even though a radial structure with spherical aggregates can simulate a grainy appearance.
It is still used by some healers today to enhance energy and to help stop haemorrhages.
It is often refered to as the “Martyr’s Stone”.
This gemstone is readily available and relatively inexpensive. It is therefore a popular stone for use in many costume jewellery pieces and has been known to be used as carved handles on walking canes.