Unusual stones with unusual stories

The moonstone, bloodstone and the amethyst may not be precious stones, but they certainly have a mystical background which rivals their more famous cousins like the emerald and sapphire.

Moonstone


Like its name suggests, there is a lunar quality associated with this semi-precious stone. It perhaps began with the Ancient Romans who believed that the moonstone was created from solidified rays of moonlight. The Ancient Indians, on the other hand, believed that the moonstone was the embodiment of Chandra, the Moon God in Hinduism.


Like most other precious and semi-precious stones, the moonstone too is said to possess mystical qualities. It is regarded as a powerful symbol of love and fertility, considered to ignite passionate love between the wearers of the stone and also reunite lovers who have drifted apart.


A phenomenon called adularescence gives the moonstone its otherwordly quality. A blue shimmer can be seen inside as the gemstone is moved. In some cultures, the shimmer is said to reflect the waxing and waning of the Moon.



Picture credit: Smithsonian Institution


The French designer René Lalique created his iconic ornament Dragonfly Woman featuring moonstones and opals. It is perhaps the most famous appearance of the gemstone.



Picture credit: Wikipedia


Bloodstone

Unlike the Moonstone, which has an ethereal quality, the Bloodstone is associated with martyrdom and sacrifice. The gemstone is usually dark green in colour with bright red spots. The red spots signify drops of blood, giving the gemstone its name.



Picture credit: Wikipedia


The association with blood may have started with the belief that the blood of Jesus Christ dripped down onto the green stones below during his crucifixion. The drops of blood stained the stones for eternity. Hence, the bloodstone is also called the Martyr Stone.


The bloodstone is primarily mined from India. It was used in the preparation of medicines and aphrodisiacs. In Europe, it was believed to bring rain and predict future events


German Emperor Rudolf II possessed a nef with his seal made from bloodstone, which is displayed at the Louvre in Paris.



Picture credit: The Louvre


Amethyst


The Amethyst has a fascinating, if tragic, history. Considered to be one of the Cardinal Gems for centuries along with the diamond, emerald, ruby and sapphire, the amethyst lost its sheen when large deposits were discovered in Brazil. It has since been demoted to a semi-precious stone.


The ancient Greeks gave the gemstone its name, believing it to possess the power to prevent intoxication. A man wearing an amethyst could not get drunk. Or, so they believed.


Amethyst has a distinct purple colour and is known for being affordable. It is considered to be the birthstone for February.


The most famous amethyst is called the Delhi Sapphire which is widely believed to carry a curse after it was looted from a temple in India.



Picture credit: Live Science


Other famous examples are the 56-carat square cushion-cut Tiffany Amethyst displayed at The National Museum of Natural History at the Smithsonian Institution.



Picture credit: Smithsonian Institution


And the Duchess of Windsor's necklace has one heart-shaped faceted amethyst, one oval faceted amethyst and twenty-seven emerald-cut amethysts.



Picture credit: CBS News