Birthstone Guide: Bloodstone for Those Born in March

Gem-A gemmology tutor Lily Faber FGA EG delves into the history and properties of bloodstone - an alternative birthstone for the month of March. 

Many people recognise aquamarine as the main birthstone for March, but there is another, less-acknowledged gemstone that some consider a more traditional choice: Bloodstone.

Also known as heliotrope, this is an opaque, cryptocrystalline chalcedony consisting of dark green jasper with spots or larger areas of red, iron oxide inclusions.

These inclusions resemble spots of blood, hence the name. The inclusions can also be other colours such as yellow or white, but red is the most well-known and popular of the colours. You can find bloodstone in countries such as India, Germany, the United States, Italy and South Africa. 

Bloodstone is believed to have magical powers, helping magicians attain invisibility. It is also thought to cause solar eclipses, rain and help the wearer win battles both in war and in the courtroom.

Quartz Bloodstone 6936 PD
Bloodstone is an opaque, cryptocrystalline chalcedony consisting of dark green jasper with spots or larger areas of red, iron oxide inclusions. Image: Pat Daly @ Gem-A.

Bloodstone is considered a healing stone, helping to repair both physical and emotional wounds while promoting circulation.

Historical Adornment and Use

Historically, this stone has been worn in amulets and carved with a family’s crest, coat-of-arms or insignia to be used in signet rings or fob to impress the intaglio into melted wax seals. It has also been used as plain panels in snuff boxes as well as in a more decorative manner in pietra dura inlay in cabinet doors on larger items of furniture.

In the 17th century during the Renaissance, bloodstone was carved into forms such as a nef, which is a shallow bowl on a footed stem, usually mounted with gold and other gemstones such as garnets.

An example of this form is in the Waddesdon Bequest at the British Museum.

Care and Caution

Bloodstone is a polycrystalline material, and as such, is fairly tough and resistant to fractures and chipping. Quartz in general has a hardness of 7, which makes it fairly resistant to scratches, but caution must still be exercised when wearing bloodstone. When cleaning, use a soft cloth or brush and warm, soapy water.

Interested in finding out more about gemmology? Sign-up to one of Gem-A's courses or workshops.

If you would like to subscribe to Gems&Jewellery and The Journal of Gemmology please visit Membership.

Cover image: Close up view of bloodstone by Pat Daly, Gem-A. 


Journal Digest: Bumble Bee Stone from Indonesia

Journal Digest: Bumble Bee Stone from Indonesia

Guy Lalous ACAM EG delves into an article on Indonesian Bumble Bee Stone (BBS) from The Journal of Gemmology Volume 36, No.3, and presents his edited take on the most essential information, findings and lessons to be learnt. Continue reading here...

Read more


Field Trip: A Visit to Gem-A ATC Institut de Gemmologie de Madagascar

Field Trip: A Visit to Gem-A ATC Institut de Gemmologie de Madagascar

Gem-A tutor Barbara Kolator B.Sc. M.Sc. FGA DGA EG shares some highlights from her recent trip to the Institut de Gemmologie de Madagascar in Antananarivo, which is a proud Gem-A Accredited Teaching Centre (ATC). 

Read more


Natural Pearls: Marie Antoinette's £27.8 million Precious Pendant

Natural Pearls: Marie Antoinette's £27.8 million Precious Pendant

Famous for her ostentatious sense of style, 18th century French Queen Marie Antoinette was back as the centre of attention at Sotheby's in November thanks to the record-breaking sale of her natural pearl and diamond pendant. Here, Beth West FGA DGA EG considers the history behind this fascinating piece. 

Read more


Birthstone Guide: Tanzanite for Those Born in December

Birthstone Guide: Tanzanite for Those Born in December

Looking for the perfect festive gift for a December baby? Gem-A tutor Lily Faber FGA DGA EG considers the December birthstone tanzanite and how this relatively new gemstone compares to its purple and blue-hued rivals.

Read more


Retail Focus: Beyond the Green

Retail Focus: Beyond the Green

From the Summer 2018 issue of Gems&Jewellery, Gem-A Gemmology Tutor Beth West FGA DGA EG explores Colombian emeralds. 

Read more