This week we are back with one of the more unusual stones in our collection, Bloodstone. A stone with a rather fanciful legend from biblical times and an ex-birthstone for the month of March. This opaque green stone, with blood-red splatters, has been sought out for thousands of years for its unique appearance and perceived healing properties.
Bloodstone is a form of Chalcedony, a cryptocrystalline form of silica, whose unique colour is brought about by a combination of minerals. The solid green colour that encompasses most of the stone is a result of the amphibole and chlorite minerals found in the green Chalcedony. Hematite, a form of iron oxide that is responsible for turning rust red, makes up the red blood-like “splatters” that give way to its name. No two bloodstones are the same and each has its very own, one-of-a-kind pattern.
Most bloodstone used today is mined and cut in India. Other sources include Australia, Brazil, China, Czech Republic, the Isle of Rum in Scotland, Madagascar, California, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington in the USA. The fact that the stone is so readily available and easy to source makes it very affordable with no real risk of stocks being depleted.
A famous legend of this gemstone claims that it formed when Jesus Christ was crucified. Legend says that his blood fell to the earth and turned to stone. Due to this, Christians in the Middle Ages popularly associated the gem with martyrdom. The Aztecs believed that the stone could be used to regulate blood flow. The ancient natural historian Pliny the Elder wrote that Bloodstone gives a red reflection when turned to face the sun while immersed in water. Bloodstone was sometimes referred to as "Heliotrope" by 18th century European authors and this out-dated name still persists in some quarters today. From the Greek words “helios”, meaning "sun" and “trepein” meaning "to attract", together they signified “sun turning”
Top-quality bloodstone is often cut into cabochons but also cut into wands, small sculptures, bowls, and other utility objects. Occasionally it is cut into large, faceted stones. Middle to lower grade material is usually processed in rock tumblers to produce tumbled stones. Bloodstone has historically been a stone of men's jewellery. It was often cut with a signet design, mounted into a ring, and used to seal documents and letters. Today, gently domed cabochons are popular in men’s rings and cufflinks. In India, powdered Bloodstone is believed to be an aphrodisiac!
Bloodstone forms at shallow depths and low temperatures by precipitation from silica-rich groundwaters in fractures and cavities. Bloodstone is a rather hard stone and is rated between 6.5 and 7 on the Mohs scale. This makes it a great stone for jewellery as it won’t chip or break easily. Various mineral deposits in the stone will affect the colour and can result in some unique colour combinations.
Bloodstone is believed to have protective properties that ward off all kinds of threats from verbal to physical and everything in between. It’s considered to provide guidance and courage to those who need it most. Some people recommend wearing it or even sewing it into your jacket to give you strength in difficult, unfamiliar situations.