Meet Bloodstone: The Sorcerer’s Stone and Alternative Birthstone for March

Aquamarine, the birthstone for the month of March, is associated with love, the moon, the sea, and the goddess Venus. However, the alternate birthstone for the month of March, bloodstone, has a distinctly darker flavor.

ABOVE and below right: These beautifully cut and polished bloodstone pendants are courtesy of cutter David Vance Horste. 

Bloodstone is a type of green chalcedony splotched with spots of red iron oxide. Once called heliotrope, it has been used for beads, carvings, cameos, and intaglios. It isn’t as common as it once was, something GemSelect attributes to the use of powdered bloodstone as an aphrodisiac and medicine in India.

bloodstone cabochon gemstone pendants

Bloodstone is associated with the zodiac sign Aries (March 21–April 20). George Frederick Kunz quotes a little ditty: “Who on this world of ours his eye/ In Aries opens shall be wise/ If always on his hand there lies/ A bloodstone.”

However, in the Middle Ages, because of its blood-red spots, this stone was thought to relieve any kind of bleeding. According to Kunz, “a bat, represented on heliotrope or bloodstone, gives the wearer power over demons and helps incantations.”

So it’s clear that Harry Potter’s sorcerer’s stone must have been a bloodstone.

The sign of Aries is symbolized by the ram but is said to be ruled by the planet Mars, which is named for the Roman god of war, a bloody-minded god if there ever was one. Because Mars was called Ares in Greek, this made me wonder if somehow in the ancient world there was a punning play on “Aries” and “Ares” that would make it even more appropriate that these blood-stained stones would be associated with the sign of the ram. However, my ancient Greek is pitifully nonexistent. I have no idea how the words “Aries” and “Ares” were originally pronounced or written in the ancient world. But it’s an interesting juxtaposition given bloodstone’s association with blood and with the sign of the ram. However, I’m digressing.

In Christian legend, it’s said bloodstone originated when Christ’s blood dripped onto green jasper at the foot of the cross. The collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London contains a number of 10th century bloodstone cameos of Christ showing the connection to this story.

Sharon Elaine Thompson is a GG and FGA who has been writing about gemstones and jewelry for Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist since 1987. She also writes a line of birthstone romance novels under the name Liz Hartley.

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