Heliotrope (mineral)

Heliotrope (mineral)

The mineral heliotrope, also known as bloodstone, is a form of chalcedony, which is a cryptocrystalline quartz. The "classic" bloodstone is green jasper with red inclusions of iron oxide (red jasper). Sometimes yellow and/or other colors of jasper are also present, but these multi-colored gemstones are usually called "fancy jasper".

The red inclusions are supposed to resemble spots of blood; hence the name "bloodstone". The name "heliotrope" (from Greek "helios", Sun, "trepein", to turn) derives from various ancient notions about the manner in which the mineral reflects light.


The primary source of the stone is India. It is also found in Brazil, China, Australia, and the United States.

Legends and lore

Bloodstone is the original birthstone for March. Today, bloodstone, jasper and aquamarine are all considered the gemstones for March. It is said that bloodstone creates harmony and balance, and promotes self-esteem.

In the Middle Ages the red spots were thought to be the blood of Jesus, and the stone was believed to have miraculous powers, including making its wearer invisible. Boccaccio writes about it in his "Decameron" (VIII, 3). Medieval Christians often used bloodstone to carve scenes of the crucifixion and martyrs, leading it to also be dubbed "martyr's stone". Even today, finely powdered bloodstone is used as a medicine and aphrodisiac in India.


Hardness on the Mohs scale: 6.5-7
Crystal structure: Trigonal
Composition: Silicon dioxide with traces of impurities
Specific gravity: 2.61
Refraction index: 1.53-1.54
Birefraction index: 0.004
Luster: Vitreous


Hall, Candy (1994). Gem Stones. DK Publishing. ISBN 1-56458-498-4

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