Most months have two birthstones associated with them, and both are usually already well known. For March, there is the delightful pale blue aquamarine, but the birthstone for March is also the bloodstone, which is really not well known at all.
The bloodstone is a dark green stone flecked with spots and spatters of dark red – hence the name, not very original, we know! Bloodstone is also known as heliotrope, which in ancient Greek means ‘turns the sun’, which probably refers to the way the red veins and lines glow when in the sun’s light.
Bloodstone might not have the immediate and obvious beauty of aquamarine, but its dark charms are certainly worthy of a second look. In jewellery it is often used in pendants, or set into men’s signet rings or cufflinks. There aren’t many dramatically masculine birthstones, but this one is definitely worth considering if you’re looking for a special gift for your March-born man, or indeed any man, as let’s face it – how many men are remotely concerned about birthstones?!
The history of bloodstone
This lovely stone has been used in jewellery since the most ancient of times, when the facility to cut and polish the gemstones we consider jewellery-worthy today simply wasn’t there. Often found in pebble form in riverbanks, or embedded in rocks, bloodstone was used by the Babylonians to make carved seals and charms and was believed to have healing powers — especially for blood disorders.
In Medieval times it acquired the name the ‘martyr’s stone’, as people believed it was created when drops of Christ’s blood stained some jasper at the foot of the cross.
Even today it is believed by many to support mental clarity, boost creativity and increase energy levels in the wearer.
Bloodstone in jewellery
In colour, bloodstone can range from light to dark green, with few and subtle or many and prominent splatters or veins of deep or ferrous red. Bloodstone can range from quite translucent to nearly opaque. When cut and polished properly, it should have a beautiful shine, almost glossy, although the lustre is different than other gemstone and will generally appear smooth or waxy rather than sparkling.
Depending on the size of the stone, it might be cut with facets into traditional gemstone shapes or left in its natural shape and simply polished to a high shine. It can be carved too, hence its use as a seal or in signet rings. It works equally well set into silver or gold and in a filigree or a bold setting, it really is the most obliging of stones!
Sadly, we have yet to be asked to make any jewellery using bloodstone here at Christopher Evans, but we would love to do so!