Heliotrope, the stone of Babylon, belongs to chalcedony variety with a dark greenish color and bright reddish tinge. For two thousand years, this stone has prevailed amongst other gemstones with great fame in literary works as well. From invisibility stone in Boccaccio’s tales to magical healer in Decameron’s musical comedy, it has thrilled people with its fictional and tabooed potentials. Belonging to a cryptocrystalline quartz class it is devoid of cleavage and can undergo conchoidal fractures. This vitreous stone has a Mohs hardness score of 6.5-7 slightly less than quartz itself. Lower hardness score corresponds to mineral inclusions at a larger scale. Particulate inclusions include amphibole, pyroxene, and chlorite which give green hue to bloodstone. For Bloodstone to be some bit red, hematite along with iron oxide forms give red splashes to the gemstone. Hexagonally structured, this dark green gemstone with colorless streaks possesses a specific gravity of 2.6-2.7. The term heliotrope was coined by Europeans in 18th-century.
Opaque to translucent, this stone has some religious aspects as many believe the red spatters to be ‘Blood of Christ’ and the name ‘bloodstone’ derives its ancient origin from the same belief. Deep forest greenish stone amongst other bloodstones has a great regard owing to its high quality. It bears contrasting splatter of visible blood stained dots. These dots either form a patterned spray or a random splatter. Used in carvings of many signet rings, it is one of the two traditional birthstones for the month of March.
Chemically SiO2 it has a refractive index of 1.535 to1.539. With zero pleochroism it boosts off great toughness in its configuration which gives indiscernible cleavage. With uniaxial optic character, it fixes its birefringence at 0.004. It is a polycrystalline trigonal gemstone which cut to form stones with large facets.
Cabochons emerge as high-quality heliotrope undergoes processing. Other materials derived from Bloodstone include bowls, wands, tiny sculptures and various utility objects. Processing within rock tumblers gives tumbled form of stones.
It is believed to bring upgraded health via its protective traits and healing potentials. The gemstone can ward off inflammation and can control bleeding. Many wear bloodstone as a talisman to ease their health problems while science regards all this effect to be just a placebo. Crushed into a fine powder, bloodstone performs the role of an aphrodisiac in many countries like India. The stone symbolizes ‘Dedication intelligence’ preventing foolery by others while it heals weakening of heart. It is also believed to expand the life span of the bearer and to retain his purity.