Bloodstone: the Martyr's Gem
Bloodstone, green jasper dotted with bright red spots of iron oxide,
was treasured in ancient times and long served as the birthstone for
March. This attractive chalcedony quartz is also known as Heliotrope
because in ancient times polished stones were described as
reflecting the sun: perhaps the appearance of the gem reminded the
ancients of the red setting sun reflected in the ocean.
Medieval Christians often used bloodstone to carve scenes of the
crucifixion and martyrs, leading it to also be dubbed martyr's stone.
The legend of the origin of bloodstone says that it was first formed
when some drops of Christ's blood fell and stained some jasper at
the foot of the cross. A beautiful example of carved bloodstone with
the seal of the German Emperor Rudolf II can be seen at the Louvre
museum in Paris.
Even today, finely powdered bloodstone is used as a medicine and
aphrodisiac in India. Perhaps that explains why today it is
difficult to find fine specimens of bloodstone on the market.
Bloodstone is mined in India, Australia, and the United States.