Bloodstone is a dark-green opaque form of chalcedony quartz with distinctive red spots. The green color is due to the presence of particles of chlorite or included hornblende needles, while the red spots are caused by iron oxide. The color is somewhat variable and some specimens of bloodstone have very little or no red spots.
Bloodstone is also known by the name heliotrope, from the Greek helio and tropos, meaning to turn toward the sun. Perhaps the color was reminiscent of 'heliotrope' plants that were so called because they turned toward the sun. The name bloodstone obviously comes from the appearance of the red droplets being similar to blood.
The Christians attached special significance to bloodstone. According to Christian legend, when Jesus Christ was crucified, the dripping blood stained the green jasper at his feet, and this was the origin of bloodstone. Bloodstone was widely used in sculptures representing flagellation and martyrdom, and was known at one time as 'the martyr's stone'.
There are also some gemological myths associated with bloodstone. In the gem trade, the term blood jasper is sometimes used to refer to bloodstone. Many apparently reputable sources describe bloodstone as a form of green jasper, or as containing red jasper. But according to the most authoritative sources, such as Schumann's Gemstones of the World, bloodstone is not a jasper at all.
Bloodstone was the original birthstone for March but has been replaced by aquamarine. However, bloodstone is still regarded as the astrological gem for Aries. You will most commonly find bloodstone cut into cabochons and beads. It was also traditionally used for insignia.
The largest bloodstone deposits are in India. Bloodstone is also found in Australia, Madagascar, Brazil, China and the United States. Fine specimens of bloodstone can be hard to find on the market today. Some believe the reason for the shortage is due to the fact that finely powdered bloodstone is used as both a medicine and an aphrodisiac in India.
Due to its name and appearance, bloodstone has given rise to a great deal of folklore. It was once thought to be able to stop hemorrhages with the merest touch, and to relieve stomach and bowel pain. It was said to strengthen blood purifying organs and improve circulation.
- First Published: July-04-2008
- Last Updated: June-10-2014
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