As we pass the doorway into spring, with the awakening of flowers and rising warm weather, we see not one but two birthstones which symbolise this life-bringing season. Aquamarine and Bloodstone are two very contrasting gemstones in the month of March, both with their unique properties and attributes. Like ying and yang, these stones represent the moon and sun, and make wonderful center stones in any jewellery piece.
This gorgeous gemstone is well known amongst many for its enchanting blue tones which resemble the ocean. Aquamarine, Latin for ‘water of the sea’, is part of the beryl family with its main colouration agent being Iron. This gemstone is vulnerable to heat, as well as being very brittle and pressure-sensitive, so is difficult to work with when creating jewellery – however, this does not stop it from being one of the most popular gemstones for engagement rings. With its mesmerising hue complimenting many skin tones and its exceptional sparkle from its vitreous lustre, it is the perfect accompaniment within rings and necklaces.
Adorned in jewellery since 500BC, these stones were used by sailors and travellers as a talisman to protect them from any shipwrecks or sickness during journeys, and was believed to be the treasure of mermaids in the deep ocean due to its powers becoming stronger when submerged in water. Outside of sailor’s lore, this stone is thought to have very soothing energies powered by the moon thought to aid in emotional healing, meditative states, stress relief and calming of the heart. It’s even believed to give relief to sore throats and thyroid problems, however if you are not one to believe in its superstitions then this stone is bound to make you feel calm and tranquil from its serene appearance alone.
Aquamarine holds its most important deposits across the country of Brazil, but is also mined in high altitude locations such as Russia, Australia, China, and India from its host rock of pegmatite and coarse-grained granites. The largest gemstone of this kind ever mined was from Minas Gerais, Brazil, in 1910 weighing an impressive 243lb and totalled over 100,000 carats. To show off its beautiful interior, these stones are usually carved into an emerald/brilliant cut with elongated rectangular sides.
As opposed to the transparent bright appearance of the aquamarine, the bloodstone is its gothic opaque counterpart with its gorgeous red inclusions which give it its name. This stone is a part of the chalcedony species, with its green body colour caused by chlorite/included hornblende, and red spots by iron oxide. Its colouration is never constant - every stone is completely unique in appearance, which is no wonder it’s used in many rings and ornamental objects to show off its mystical interiors. This gemstone is very popular in men’s jewellery.
Bloodstone also goes by the name Heliotrope, which in Latin translates to ‘sun turner’ due to its energising properties which are connected to the sun. It also goes by the name ‘Christ’s stone’, due to Christian lore stating that the stone was formed at the crucifixion of Christ from his blood falling to the floor and transforming into stones. Its mystical powers are thought to purify and detox blood, encourage life and birth, vitality, passion, courage, and some believe it has the ability to turn its wearer invisible in a time of great need (although this is very rare, I wouldn’t worry if you were thinking of purchasing this stone anytime soon).
Bloodstones are mainly mined in India, but also hold deposits in Australia, Brazil, China and the USA. It is often thought that the bloodstone is also part of the jasper family, however this is a myth and easily confused due to the stones radial structure with spherical aggregates which can give it the same characteristic grainy appearance. It is often cut into cabochons to show off its interesting interior, or into utility objects such as bowls or sculptures.