Bloodstone: Origins, Properties and Facts About Heliotrope

Heliotrope, also known as bloodstone, is a type of quartz that is characterized by its dark green color with red inclusions. The red inclusions are typically jasper or chert, and they give the stone its name, which comes from the Greek words for "sun" and "blood."

Heliotrope/bloodstone is a relatively common gemstone, but it is not as abundant as some other types of quartz. It is typically found in small, irregular crystals, but it can also be found in larger, more gem-quality crystals.

Geological Origins of Heliotrope/Bloodstone

The geological origins of heliotrope/bloodstone are closely tied to volcanic and hydrothermal processes. The formation of heliotrope involves a combination of geological events and conditions that contribute to its unique composition and appearance.

A heliotrope, also known as a bloodstone.
Bloodstone: Interesting Facts About Heliotrope. A heliotrope, also known as a bloodstone.
Photo: Chille Maulidhaa

Volcanic Activity: Heliotrope is commonly associated with volcanic environments. During volcanic eruptions, molten rock known as magma rises to the Earth's surface or intrudes into existing rocks. The magma can carry various elements and minerals, including silica-rich fluids.

Hydrothermal Activity: When magma cools and crystallizes, it releases water vapor and other fluids into the surrounding rocks. These fluids can be rich in silica and other minerals, which can precipitate out of solution and form new minerals, such as heliotrope.

The specific geological processes and conditions involved in heliotrope formation can vary from one locality to another. Factors such as temperature, pressure, mineral composition of the surrounding rocks, and the duration of hydrothermal activity all contribute to the variations observed in heliotrope's appearance and composition. The geological origins of heliotrope highlight the interplay between volcanic and hydrothermal processes, which result in the unique combination of quartz, iron-bearing minerals, and hematite that give this gemstone its captivating and distinct appearance.

Properties of Heliotrope/Bloodstone

The red inclusions are supposed to resemble spots of blood; hence the name "bloodstone". The name "heliotrope" derives from various ancient notions about the manner in which the mineral reflects light.

Bloodstone is a cryptocrystalline quartz. It inherits from that a conchoidal fracture and a hardness of approximately 6.7-7 on the Mohs hardness scale.

Bloodstone (Heliotrope) may be classified as a Jasper or Chalcedony variety of Quartz, and is usually a combination of the two. It is typically defined as a dark green Chalcedony with blood-like spots of Red Jasper or iron oxide inclusions.

It occurs as massive formations, ranging from dark green to greenish-blue or greenish-black, and may be translucent to opaque with a waxy, resinous luster. In addition to the spots and streaks of Red Jasper, some formations contain inclusions that are yellow or white, while others lacking inclusions may be entirely green. Bloodstone has been referred to as Blood Jasper and specimens with only yellow inclusions have been called Plasma.

 In the ancient world it was considered to be a semi-precious stone or gem, and was used extensively as signet seals and in jewellery, as well as being carved into decorative cups, small vases and statuettes.

Bloodstone: Interesting Facts About Heliotrope
Rough heliotrope, also known as a bloodstone from Indonesia
Photo: Chille Maulidhaa

Caring for Heliotrope/Bloodstone Jewelry

To preserve the beauty and luster of Heliotrope/Bloodstone jewelry, proper care is essential. Avoid exposing the gem to harsh chemicals, high temperatures, and direct sunlight, as these factors can affect its color and durability. Gently clean Bloodstone jewelry with a soft, damp cloth and store it separately from other jewelry to prevent scratching.

See also: 

How Do Asterism Minerals Form?
Types of Agate With Photos
The Major Varieties of Quartz (Photos)
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