Bloodstone Value, Price, and Jewelry Information
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.
The International Gem Society (IGS) has a list of businesses offering gemstone appraisal services.
|Is a Variety of||Chalcedony|
|Colors||Dark green body with red to orange spots|
|Polish Luster||Dull to vitreous|
|Birefringence||0.003 to 0.009|
|Etymology||The red spots may look like drops of blood. The name “heliotrope” is from the Ancient Greek helios and tropein for "sun" and "turning." According to the ancient natural historian Pliny the Elder, this stone gives a red reflection when turned to face the sun while immersed in water.|
|Inclusions||Actinolite, hornblende needles, iron oxides.|
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. They 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. During the Middle Ages, Christians also associated the gem with martyrdom and the crucifixion of Christ.
The red to orange spots distinguish bloodstones from plasma gemstones. The presence of iron oxides, such as hematite, cause these spots. However, some bloodstones may have few or no such spots.
Although no synthetic bloodstones are known, gem buyers may encounter imitations or simulants. In particular, glass pieces can mimic bloodstone’s colors. For example, the Japanese glass manufacturer Iimori has produced a green “maple stone” with red “flowers” that resembles bloodstone. However, despite appearances, glass and bloodstones have very different properties. A microscopic analysis reveals the “flowers” differ significantly from bloodstone spots.
Currently, India is the largest producer of bloodstones. Many localities in the United States produce this gemstone, principally in California.
Other notable gem-quality sources include the following:
- Australia; Brazil; Bulgaria; Canada; Czech Republic; Germany; Italy; Romania; Slovakia; South Africa.
Please note that chicken-blood stone and bloodstone are distinct gem materials.
Although opaque, single color, oxide-stained chalcedonies are usually considered jaspers, bloodstone isn’t typically included in that category. It lacks the grainy structure also characteristic of jaspers.
See the previous entry. Unfortunately, you can find many examples of this misleading naming practice that attempts to “exoticize” a familiar gem name.
With no cleavage, a hardness of 6.5 to 7, and tough tenacity, bloodstones make excellent gemstones for any jewelry type. Thus, this gem requires no special care and can handle mechanical cleaning. Nevertheless, mild detergent, warm water, and a soft brush are a good choice for cleaning.