Also known as heliotrope, bloodstone is the traditional March birthstone. This dark green, opaque chalcedony with red to orange spots is a variety of plasma gemstone.
Bloodstones are relatively inexpensive gems available in many sizes. The color and number of their spots play the primary role in their value. Stones with a greater number of deep red or dark orange spots usually sell for higher prizes. Of course, the artistry of the lapidary also contributes to the value of a piece.
Although bloodstones can be faceted, they are more often cabbed or carved. Like other members of the quartz family, the stone’s hardness makes it an excellent choice for a jewelry stone. The combination of deep green and blood red results in a visually striking material.
Bloodstones have developed a rich folklore throughout the centuries, particularly through sympathetic associations with blood. For example, the mineralogist and folklorist George F. Kunz relates how these gems have been considered particularly effective against hemorrhages.
Bloodstones have also come to symbolize bravery, perhaps through their associations with blood, vitality, and the Roman god Mars. Bloodstone is the traditional birthstone for March, the month named after this god of war.
Due to the blood-like appearance of bloodstone’s spots, Christians in the Middle Ages also popularly associated the gem with martyrdom and the crucifixion of Christ.