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Gem of the Month: Bloodstone

The modern birthstone for March is aquamarine – see our March 2005 article on aqua for more information on this gem. However, the traditional birthstone for March is Bloodstone which has only recently been replaced by the more valuable aquamarine gems. However, bloodstone is a really interesting gem which is definitely worth a closer look.

Gemmological Matters: Bloodstone is a variety of chalcedony – a cryptocrystalline variety of quartz which can be in many different forms. Bloodstone is the name given to a dark green/greenish-blue chalcedony with small red blood-like spots. The red colour of the spots deriving from iron oxide. Like all quartz, the chemical composition is SiO2. The main source of Bloodstone is India – it is also found in Russia, Germany, Austria, Australia, China, Brazil and the USA.

Hardness is 7 on the Moh’s Scale of hardness so it is acceptable for use in jewellery with appropriate care. Bloodstone is a popular gemstone that is usually cut as cabochons. It is also used for beads, as a seal-stone (with an engraved device), for men’s signet rings, cameos and decorative carvings.

Mythology and Lore: Bloodstone is a very ancient stone with the red flecking giving rise to many interesting legends. The ancient Greeks and Roman believed athletes would gain endurance by wearing Bloodstone. Bloodstone is also regarded by some as a Hero’s Gemstone, capable of instilling courage in dangerous situations and providing protection from ones own dangerous desires.

Medieval Christians often used Bloodstone to carve scenes of the crucifixion and martyrs resulting in an alternative name as the ‘Martyr’s Stone. Some sources suggest that it was worn by early Christians as a symbol of their faith. The Christian legend of the origin of Bloodstone says that it was first formed when drops of Christ’s blood fell and stained Jasper at the foot of the cross during his crucifixion.

Bloodstone is the traditional birthstone for March and is associated with the Zodiac sign of Aires. Bloodstone is often used as a healing stone and it represents courage and martydom.

Alternatives: The unique red spotting on the green background is unique to Bloodstone and we do no know of any similar alternative. May be confused with green jasper which does not have the characteristic red fleck through the stone.

Image at left courtesy Gemstone Magic

Links of Interest:
ICGA Gem by Gem article on Bloodstone – The Martyr’s Gem
Branwynn Annwn – Bloodstone for March
PGR Gens – datasheet on Bloodstone
Gem Society – Chalcedony Information
Mineral Miners – Mineral Factsheet on Jasper

Bloodstone may be available from any good rock shop – we do not stock this fascinating stone. However, we have good stock of the modern March birthstone of aquamarine so contact us if you need quality aqua in rough or cut form.

Cheers for now from Aussie Sapphire