Bloodstone: Stone of Freedom

There was a stone in history rumored to unlock doors, break chains apart, and tear down walls. This gemstone was even believed to turn the sun into blood. The stone goes by the name bloodstone. What is bloodstone? How was this gemstone regarded as a stone of freedom?

A piece of rough bloodstone
Source: Ra’ike via Wikimedia Commons

Bloodstone Properties

Also called heliotrope, bloodstone is a green variety of chalcedony speckled with red blood-like spots, hence the name bloodstone. The red spots on a bloodstone gem may be either red jasper or iron oxide. The bloodstone gemstone was closely identified with jasper, and even called blood jasper or green jasper. In terms of chemical composition, however, a bloodstone rock is not jasper, though both jasper and bloodstone are quartz minerals of the chalcedony group.

A rough bloodstone rock
Source: Adam Ognisty via Wikimedia Commons

Bloodstone History

The other name of bloodstone, heliotrope, comes from the Greek heliotropion, meaning “sun-turning.” The name was literal; the bloodstone gem was believed by ancients to turn the sun a blood red, as the stone does the sunrays over the water where the gemstone is immersed. Healing properties attached to a bloodstone crystal likewise have to do with blood. To this day, the bloodstone gemstone is believed to cure nosebleed, bleeding and hemorrhage. This coagulant effect of powdered bloodstone may be due to its iron oxide content.

A bloodstone cup in the shape of a shell
Source: shakko via Wikimedia Commons

Bloodstone Meaning

Whoever bears this stone, … will find all doors open, while bonds and stone walls will be rent asunder.

— Leyden papyrus

Not only is bloodstone believed to keep the faculties and health of its wearer, the gemstone is also thought to open doors, release him from bondage, and keep him free. While the ancients spoke of a bloodstone amulet as opening doors and rending stone walls by literal terms, a bloodstone crystal also figuratively sets a person free by way of enhancing his courage as well as physical strength. On either account, the bloodstone gem is regarded as a stone of freedom.

Bloodstone is the birthstone of Aries. Aries people were often the warriors of the past, as well as then and today’s athletes. The powers of a bloodstone crystal to nurture health, physical strength and courage were treasured by warriors and athletes alike, who carried the stone with them in their pursuits. The legendary power of bloodstone to bring freedom is also beneficial to Aries-born people, who are robust go-getters by nature.

A polished piece of bloodstone
Source: Ra’ike via Wikimedia Commons

Bloodstone Jewelry

Who in this world of ours their eyes
In March first open shall be wise,
In days of peril firm and brave,
And wear a bloodstone to their grave.

— Gregorian birthstone poem

Bloodstone is the traditional birthstone for March. Though replaced by aquamarine as primary birthstone, the bloodstone gem remains an alternate March birthstone in the modern day. Indeed, bloodstone is still a popular choice of gemstone for jewelry. Unique in its property as red-spotted green chalcedony, the gemstone bloodstone is widely worn in necklaces, bracelets, rings and earrings, not only by March-born people, but many of everyone else.

Tumbles pieces of bloodstone
Source: Blackoceanking via Wikimedia Commons

Bloodstone Value

In ancient times, bloodstone was revered as a precious gem. Though now a semi-precious stone, bloodstone remains a much appreciated gemstone. While often confused with green jasper, bloodstone is the more valuable of the two. Pronounced red inclusions on a bloodstone gem increases its price, since this is what makes the gemstone unique. A stone called African bloodstone is sold in the market; yet beware, for this is not true bloodstone, but a variety of jasper less valuable than genuine bloodstone.

Do you like bloodstone?

Bloodstone is a green variety of chalcedony that displays red blood-like inclusions. The bloodstone gem has a rich history of being worn as amulet to keep a person strong, courageous and free. Do you like bloodstone? Do you like wearing green gemstones in general? See also 51 Types of Green Gemstones for Jewelry.

Published May 10, 2014

About the Author

Deomar Pandan is the author of Power Birthstone. He's on the third draft of a high-fantasy novel, Cybelym, and the first of a historical fiction, Gem Faerie. He hopes to release a nonfiction book about diamond soon. Follow him for updates. Or see his jewelry and designs.