The Bloodstone is a variety of green Jasper which derives its distinctive name from a number of blood-red specks formed by iron oxide with which it is impregnated. It is an opaque stone, but as its surface is capable of taking a very high polish, and in consistency being very suitable to the graver, it has from time immemorial been a great favourite for the cutting of seals and cameos. It exists in large quantities and is, in consequence, inexpensive, and is found in India, Bokhara, Siberia, Tartary, and in the Hebrides.
There is much disagreement between ancient writers with regard to the Heliotrope and Bloodstone, some asserting there is no difference, the name Heliotrope having been conferred upon this variety from the idea that when plunged in water it presents a red reflection of the image of the Sun; others maintain that the Heliotrope is a translucent green Chalcedony with crimson spots, and the Bloodstone a green Jasper flecked with red.
An old tradition records that the Bloodstone had its origin at the Crucifixion, being formed by drops of blood which, following the thrust of the Roman soldier's spear, fell upon some green jasper on which the cross was erected, the stains penetrating the stones and thus originating this particular variety. From this time onwards the stone seems to have been endowed with magical and divine powers in arresting hemorrhage from wounds, and was worn by Roman soldiers for this reason; among the natives of India it is customary to place the Bloodstone itself upon wounds and injuries after dipping it in cold water. Its curative properties in this respect have been explained in modern times by the fact that the iron oxide in this stone is an active and effective astringent even now used in surgery.