Bloodstone

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Tiffany & Co. Bloodstone Intaglio Signet Ring with a Coat of Arms Seal.
Photo Courtesy of Lang Antiques.


Who on this world of ours his eyes

In Aries opens shall we be wise
If always on his hand there lies
A Bloodstone.[1]


Bloodstone is a polycrystalline variety of chalcedony (quartz) with a dark green hue and red or orangey patches. These iron oxide dots or patches are dispersed throughout the stone. As with most chalcedonies, bloodstone is very tough making it suitable for glyptographs rendered as seals, cameos and intaglios.


Heliotrope, an alternative name for bloodstone, is derived from the Greek words for "sun" and "turning". The ancient historian Damigeron stated: "Now, if it is put in a silver basin full of water and placed against the sun, it turns to it and makes it as if bloody and cloudy."[2]. Blood jasper is another common moniker for bloodstone. Some linguistic confusion can arise from the German name blutstein given to hematite and its similarity to the word bloodstone but in English the name bloodstone indicates this dark green jasper "sprinkled" with red or orangy specks.


Bloodstone2.jpg

Christian legend held that the red spots represented the blood of Jesus Christ as it dripped from his wounds while he hung on the cross. As a result, many Christian cameos and intaglios and sculptures were carved from bloodstone and carried as Christian amulets. They believed that wearing bloodstone increased longevity and made one more courageous and wealthy. Other attributes assigned to bloodstone include the power to avert disaster and stimulate blood clotting after injury, making it a talisman against hemorrhages. Metaphysical attributes given to bloodstone include altruism and bringing forth natural talents. Bloodstones are associated with the navel, base, sacral and heart chakras.


The Leyden Papyrus, circa 250 A.D., praises bloodstone in the following terms:

The world has no greater thing; if any one have this with him he will be given whatever he asks for; it also assuages the wrath of kings and despots, and whatever the wearer says will be believed. Whoever bears this stone, which is gem, and pronounces the name engraved upon it, will find all doors open, while bonds and stone walls will be rent asunder.[3]


India and Russia (Ural mountain range) are the main producers of fine quality bloodstones.


Gemological Information for Bloodstone
Color Green with Red and/or Orangy Patches
Crystal Structure Polycrystalline (trigonal)
Refractive Index ca. 1.54
Family Quartz (Chalcedony)
Durability Excellent
Hardness 6.5-7
Similar stones Glass
Treatments None
Country of Origin India, Australia, Russia And The United States
Bloodstone Care
Ultrasonic Cleaning Not Safe
Steam Cleaning Not Safe
Warm soapy water May Remove Polish
Chemical Attack Will Damage the Stone
Light Sensitivity Will Damage the Stone
Heat Sensitivity Will Damage the Stone

Notes

  1. Kunz p.345
  2. Knuth p.52
  3. Kunz p.61

Sources Consulted

  • Knuth, Bruce G. Gems in Myth, Legend and Lore, Jewelers Press: Parachute, 2007
  • Kunz, George Frederick. The Curious Lore of Precious Stones, New York: Bell Publishing Company, 1989.
Lang Antiques
Lang Antiques