History and General Information of Bloodstone
Bloodstone is one of the oldest gemstones known to mankind, the use of which has been recorded from ancient times. It belongs to the chalcedony variety from the quartz family and in olden days was also referred by the name heliotrope, as the gem looked like the fiery red sun setting into the ocean. The name comes from the Greek Helios, for sun.
The most common legend though describes this stone as having come about when a few drops of Jesus’ blood fell onto some green stones placed near the foot of the cross, on which he was crucified. The red spots seen on the surface of the stone are supposed to be the bloodstains of Jesus. It is for this reason that it is also called the martyr’s stone.
Chemical Composition of Bloodstone
It is an oxide belonging to the chalcedony of quartz group, represented by the formula SiO2, or Silicon dioxide.
Physical Properties of Bloodstone
Being a variety of chalcedony it is a cryptocrystalline quartz, which means that the individual crystals cannot be easily distinguished under a light microscope due to the small size. It has a hardness of 7 and a refractive index of 1.543-1.552 to 1.545-1.554. Its belongs to the trigonal crystal system.
Color of Bloodstone
The green color of the stone comes from the chlorite which is the main component while the red spots are inclusions of iron oxides. Some stones have brown spots, while a few exhibit multicolored inclusions. It has a bright shine, which is one of the parameters to be explored while selecting a bloodstone of good quality.
The stone is found in a variety of shapes and cuts and some of the most common ones are oval, round, octagonal, cushion cut, emerald cut and cabochon, which when set in sterling silver and 18 carat yellow gold create some stunning pieces of jewelry. It is also widely used as beads, strung together in necklaces, using cuts like round, oval and baroque.
The Bloodstone is semi transclucent to opaque but it has a bright luster and a natural bloodstone is distinguished by its bright shine. The shine is one of the considerations while selecting the stone whereas clarity is not a great concern.
Price of Bloodstone
Easy availability of the stone and multiple uses make it a relatively inexpensive stone. Big Pieces can be obtained for as little as US$1 to US$10. It is for this reason that the stone is used extensively in making jewelry items, ranging from rings, earrings, pendants, amulets and signet rings for men.
Bloodstone is found in abundance in Brazil, China, India, Australia and the United States.
Bloodstone is sometimes confused with the fancy jasper, but these are completely different stones.
Healing properties of Bloodstone
It is one of those stones that are valued as much for its beauty as it is for its medicinal and healing properties. It is supposed to cure a range of diseases, but is especially recommended as a blood purifier, an immune system stimulant and to detoxify. It helps to cleanse the liver, kidney, spleen and intestines, and aid blood circulation. In olden days bloodstones were placed on wounds in order to stop bleeding. Psychics value it for its supposed magical properties, and the belief that it banishes evil and heightens one's powers of intuition. It has strong revitalizing qualities while at the same time inducing calm and composure. In Indian medicine, finely powdered Bloodstone is used as an aphrodisiac.
Care of Bloodstone
Like all gemstones, bloodstone needs to be taken care of well. As the beauty of the stone depends upon it shine, it is important to protect it from harsh chemicals and avoid much contact with water. In spite of its hardness it is susceptible to scratches.
Interesting Trivia and Other Facts of Bloodstone
Bloodstone was widely used in mediaeval ages by Christians to carve depictions of the crucifixion, as it was associated with the act itself. Several bloodstones also depict the flagellation scene. In the Louvre in Paris, can be seen a beautifully carved Bloodstone having the seal of the German Emperor Rudolf II.
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