MARCH BIRTHSTONES – Aquamarine – Bloodstone
March’s birthstones are Aquamarine – the stone representing beauty, honesty and loyalty – and Bloodstone – a mystical stone representing knowledge. Besides being March’s birthstone, it is also considered the anniversary stone for both year 16 and 19. My daughter’s birthstone is Aquamarine, and she definitely possesses all the qualities listed above – so maybe there is some truth to the meaning of the stones.
Aquamarine is a form of the mineral beryl and varies in color from the light blue of the sky to deep blue/blue-green of the seas. Stones of deep blue that occur naturally are highly prized because they are rare and expensive. Some stones can be heat treated to change the color to blue, such as yellow beryl. It is in the same family of minerals as emerald, morganite, and heliodor. Beryl consists of four elements: beryllium, aluminum, silicon, and oxygen. The blue color for the aquamarines is caused by traces of iron included in the beryl crystal. The best commercial source for aquamarines is Brazil. High quality stones can also be found in the Ural Mountains of Russia, Columbia, India, Colorado, Maine and North Carolina.
Aquamarine is a relatively hard gemstone, ranking after the diamond, sapphire, ruby, alexandrite, and topaz. Gem and mineral hardness is measured on the Mohs scale and are based on the relative ease – or difficulty – with which one mineral can be scratched by another ranging from 1 (talc) to 10 (diamond). This scale can be deceptive though, because the hardness is not actually evenly spaced; for example, diamonds, at 10 on the hardness scale, are only one step away from corundum (rubies and sapphires), with a hardness of 9, but diamonds are many times harder than rubies or sapphires. Aquamarine is a 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs scale, so it is a durable gemstone for jewelry as long as it is treated with care to protect it against scratching or hard knocks. It can also become paler if left out in the sun too so store in a jewelry box.
The name aquamarine was derived by the Romans, “aqua,” meaning water, and “mare,” meaning sea, because it looked like sea water. Aquamarines, which captured the lucid blue of the oceans, were believed to have originated from the jewel stashes of mermaids. They were considered sacred to Neptune, Roman god of the sea. This association with the sea made it the sailors’ lucky stone, promising prosperous and safe voyages, as well as protection against perils and monsters of the sea. It was associated with the Greek god of the sea, Poseidon, with its first documented use by the Greeks around 300 BC, who wore aquamarine amulets engraved with Poseidon on a chariot. The aquamarine was also thought to possess medicinal and healing powers in the Roman period – curing ailments of stomach, liver and throat. In the Middle Ages it was believed to be an antidote against poison.
One use that continued into at least near modern day was as eyeglasses. It is said that Emperor Nero used it as an eyeglass 2,000 years ago. Later they were in Germany as glasses to correct short sightedness. In fact, the German name for eyeglasses today is “brille,” derived from the mineral beryl.
The other birthstone for March is the Bloodstone, also known as heliotrope.
Bloodstone is a form of the mineral quartz, known as cryptocrystalline quartz, meaning it’s a mass of tiny quartz crystals formed in large lumps without an actual external crystal form. Yet, each individual crystal in the mass is a genuine crystal. This quartz variety is also called chalcedony. Dark green chalcedony spotted with flecks of red jasper is known as Bloodstone. Bloodstone is found embedded in rocks, or as pebbles in riverbeds. The best sources of this stone are India, Brazil, and Australia.
Bloodstone received its name because the red flecks in the dark green tone was though to represent blood, specifically the blood of Christ from his crucifixion. Babylonians used this stone to make seals and amulets, and it was also a favorite with Roman gladiators. In the Middle Ages, bloodstone was believed to hold healing powers. Powdered and mixed with honey and white of egg, it was believed to cure tumors and stop all types of hemorrhage. Ancient alchemists used it to treat blood disorders, including blood poisoning and the flow of blood from a wound. One of my favorites is that Bloodstone was also believed to draw out the venom of snakes! It doesn’t say if you are supposed to grind it up first though or just wave it over the wound, so you better grind some to have on hand just in case you don’t have time to after bit by a snake (you do know I’m kidding right?).
We have several items that incorporate Aquamarine into the designs and just a couple of Bloodstone items. Bloodstone is one of my favorite materials to use to make Rune stones. Happy shopping.
Credit for history and meanings go to earthsky.org. Check them out - I signed up for their newsletter and they have some truly amazing stories daily.