7 March 2023
If you were born in March, you have the choice of two very different birthstones: aquamarine (as the modern designation) and bloodstone (the traditional option).
Like its name implies, it reminds us of the ocean with its variants of blues and greens and the clarity of most of its stones. Often paired with silver or white gold, it will reflect the serenity of the sea.
In ancient times sailors thought is provided protection and calm seas. It was also considered an omen for a happy marriage. Lore tells us that this stone helps the wearer by providing an open dialog with others and communication, and was sought to help with the fear of public speaking. It is thought to have healing powers for throats, glands, and thyroid. Its calming effects are associated with assistance through transitions.
This stone is part of the family of beryl and is found in hard rock and weathered pegmatite deposits in Brazil, Pakistan and areas of Africa including Kenya, Madagascar, and Nigeria. It is the state gem of Colorado and is also mined in Southern California. Its value depends on the depth of its color and size with a stone of about one carat will go for around $675. Sometimes it is treated with heat to intensify the color, but this fact should be discosed to the buyer.
It has a hardness of up to 8 on the Mohs scale so it is safe for everyday wear. Clean it with warm water, mild dish detergent, and a soft toothbrush. Ultrasonic or steam cleaning is fine as long as the stone does not have any cracks or inclusions.
Fun facts include:
- Myth has it that Neptune was the first to discover an aquamarine.
- In 1936 Brazil gave First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt an aquamarine weighing nearly 1,300 carats.
- The largest aquamarine was 19 inches long and weighed 244 pounds.
Also called heliotrope, bloodstone is a type of quartz called chalcedony. It can be somewhat translucent to opaque dark green. It has red inclusions that are iron oxides. Sometimes erroneously called jasper, bloodstone is a different mineral, with the red spots or streaks making it unique. Those spots appear like blood spatters, thus its English name. The Greeks thought it looked like plants that face toward the sun, thus they named it heliotrope. The name heliotrope means to turn to the sun (helio).
They were thought to turn red if they were placed in water so they are also called bloodstone, as a reference to the blood of Christ. The mystical powers associated with this gemstone include strength, invisibility, and preserving health. It is considered by some to have healing powers over infections and will stimulate dreams and creativity. As a magical talisman, it is thought to wash away sorrow.
It is most commonly found in India but can also be located in parts of Brazil, Australia, China and here in the U.S. They often are pebbles in riverbeds. It is very inexpensive since it is widely available.
It is best stored in a soft fabric container because it is lower on the Mohs scale at only 6.5 to 7. If it needs some cleaning, use warm, soapy water, and a soft brush. Avoid extremely warm temperatures and any harsh chemicals.
Bloodstone is a rather hard stone and is rated between 6.5 and 7 on the Mohs scale. This makes it a great stone for jewelry as it won’t chip or break easily.
- Albert the Great called it the “Stone of Babylon”.
- Generally used in neclaces, bracelets, pendants, signet rings, and brooches, it is not faceted like other stones.
- People thought it could turn the sun red and create thunder and lightning.