Bloodstone | Meaning and Properties
About the Mineral Bloodstone
Bloodstone also known as heliotrope is a dark green variety of the mineral chalcedony which is a cryptocrystalline variety of quartz. Stones described as being cryptocrystalline have crystals too small to be seen with the naked eye. This popular lapidary material is opaque and takes on a high polish, when used as a gemstone it tends to be cut as a cabochon. The red colouration for which bloodstone is well known is caused by the presence of hematite but when absent the stone is correctly known as plasma. Plasma included with jasper and hematite is bloodstone.
History of Bloodstone
Historically bloodstone was used as an amulet in the belief that it could stop bleeding and was also said to have mystical properties which included the ability to control the weather, banish evil and negativity and direct spiritual energies. It was also believed to offer protection against the evil eye and in certain circumstances render the wearer invisible.
Pliny the Elder Ancient Roman author and naturalist (23-79 AD) wrote "heliotropium is found in Æthiopia, Africa, and Cyprus: it is of a leek-green colour, streaked with blood-red veins. From the circumstance that, if placed in a vessel of water and exposed to the full light of the sun, it changes to a reflected colour like that of blood; this being the case with the stone of Æthiopia more particularly. Out of the water, too, it reflects the figure of the sun like a mirror, and it discovers eclipses of that luminary by showing the moon passing over its disk. In the use of this stone, also, we have a most glaring illustration of the impudent effrontery of the adepts in magic, for they say that, if it is combined with the plant heliotropium, and certain incantations are then repeated over it, it will render the person invisible who carries it about him.
Heliotropium is a genus of flowering plant with similar colouration to the mineral heliotrope. The name came about because the flowers on the stems of these plants were understood to turn to face the sun. The Greek word "helios" means "sun" whilst "trepein" means "to turn". The name heliotrope came about because of the way the stone was believed to reflect light and for reasons unknown they also believed it changed colour when submerged in water.
The deep red coloured inclusions of hematite were once likened to drops of blood hence legend says bloodstone was created at the foot of the cross during the crucifixion of Christ. For this reason it has always been deemed to be an appropriate material for carving scenes of the crucifixion. An intaglio housed in the British Museum which dates back to the late 2nd or 3rd century is one of the earliest depictions of the crucifixion and the stone from which it's carved is described as a reddish brown jasper that's believed to be bloodstone.
Well known to the Aztecs who used it to regulate blood flow, bloodstone was also used in the 1st century BC to help preserve health and to protect against deception. In powdered form it has been used throughout history as a medicine and in particular to help with bleeding.
Bloodstone for Crystal Healing
When used in crystal healing bloodstone is still considered to be useful for matters relating to the blood and for strengthening the immune system. It has grounding and protective properties which help to keep undesirable influences out as well as teaching how to avoid dangerous situations.
More Bloodstone Facts
When exposed to heat the green in bloodstone turns grey and the red turns black so unlike many other gemstones which are heat treated to enhance or change their colour, the colour of this stone is almost always completely natural. Mined predominantly in India, Australia, Siberia, Scotland, Brazil and the United States, bloodstone is one of the birthstones for March with the other being aquamarine which is the blue variety of the mineral beryl.
Being graded 7 on Mohs scale of mineral hardness means bloodstone is a relatively hard material which makes it relatively easy to work with.
The photo at the top of our page is courtesy of James St. John - Flickr.
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