Daily Archives: February 25, 2014


Birthstones — March

Aquamarine and Bloodstone

 

Birthstones are a western tradition dating back to ancient Judaism. They are different stones that represent each month of the year. These stones are often used in personalized jewelry. The birthstones for March are the aquamarine and the bloodstone.

The first known reference to birthstones was by the 1st century historian Josephus. He stated that there was a connection between birth month, twelve gemstones, and the zodiac. Which twelve gemstones were the originals is subject to debate. In Exodus, there are 12 stones on the Breastplate of Aaron, which was historically worn by the high priest of Judaism. Each stone was said to represent one of the Twelve Tribes of Israel. However, there are various different lists of which stones were used, and even Josephus had two different sets of gemstones he used.

By the 20th century, everyone had their own set of birthstones for each month. To correct this issue, In 1912, the American National Association of Jewelers met in Kansas to establish a standard, making an official birthstone for each month. Today, most months have more than one birthstone, and they can be used interchangeably. March has both the aquamarine and the heliotrope, or bloodstone.

Aquamarine is a blue beryl, making it in the same family as the emerald. It gets its color from iron impurities in the beryl. The largest source of aquamarines comes from Brazil, but the more valuable deep blue aquamarines are from Madagascar. This dark blue variety is known as maxixe. Maxixe is unique because it turns white in the sunlight. Exposure to radiation will restore its color.

There is a legend behind aquamarines that says the stones were originally found in mermaids’ treasure chests. In the legend, anyone who carries an aquamarine with them will be protected from the hazards of the sea. Many sailors in Greek and Roman times carried them in the belief that the stone would help keep them safe. Today, it is believed by some that carrying aquamarines can help treat arthritis.

The world’s largest cut aquamarine is the Dom Pedro. It was mined in Brazil in 1980. It is 14 inches tall, and it weighs over 10,000 carats! The gemstone was named after the first and only two emperors of Brazil. It can be seen at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.

The Dom Pedro aquamarine

The Dom Pedro aquamarine

This ring is a great example of aquamarines. Although the deep blue ones are more valuable, this lighter blue is the color the stone is most well known for. This beautiful ring can be viewed and purchased here. If it doesn’t appeal to you, we have a large selection of aquamarine jewelry.

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aquamarine ring

 

Heliotrope, or bloodstone, is the other birthstone for March. Bloodstone is a chalcedony. Chalcedony is natural mix of quartz and moganite. Bloodstones can be found in a large variety of colors, but the most traditional bloodstones are dark green with red spots that are formed from either jasper or iron.  The most valuable bloodstones will be dark green with easily visible red spots. Stripes diminish the value.

There are many fake bloodstones on the market, but it is extremely easy to tell if a stone is genuine. Simply rub it on porcelain! Real bloodstones will leave a red marks on porcelain, whereas fakes will not.

The legend behind the bloodstone is the reason for its name. Some Christian’s in the medieval era held the belief that the bloodstone was formed by Jesus’s blood falling onto jasper that was under the cross. Because of this, the stone has been used for religious carvings. The stone has been nicknamed the martyr’s gem because of these carvings.

There is also a story behind it being called a heliotrope. The ancient Greeks believed that the sun would turn red if the stone was submerged in water. The word heliotrope is a combination of the Greek words for sun and turning. In addition to these legends, a bloodstone is a major feature in a story arc of Boccaccio’s Decameron. Some people also believe that this stone can help stop bleeding. They are used heavily by shamans in India due to this belief.

This ring is the only piece of jewelery we currently have with a bloodstone. If you would like something else with this stone, we make custom jewelry. The ring can be viewed here.

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bloodstone ring

 

If you have any aquamarine or bloodstone jewelry that you would like to share with us, we would love to see it! We are also glad to any answer any questions you may have. Tweet us @rrenaissance, Instagram @rrenaissance, or post on our Facebook Timeline at https://www.facebook.com/renaissancejewelry.

If you have any interest in either pre-made or custom designed jewelry, please call us at 352-335-7188, or email us at jewelry@gator.net. Have a wonderful day.