The March Birthstones

Learn more about the two different gemstones that have been designated to represent the month of March: aquamarine, and the less common but totally fascinating bloodstone!
Aquamarine hero
Bjorn Wylezich, Dreamstime.com

The idea of a different gemstone representing each month of the year dates back to Biblical times. The Jewish historian Josephus made a record of Aaron from the Book of Exodus wearing a breastplate decorated by twelve stones all the way back in the first century. We will be exploring the properties and traditions of each stone monthly on Facet. In March, the American Gem Society recognizes two birthstones: the lovely color of the sea, aquamarine, and the earthier green and red shades of bloodstone.  

Aquamarine shapes
Vvoevale, Dreamstime.com
AQUAMARINE

The stone of choice for most March birthday jewelry wearers, aquamarine is a member of the beryl family of minerals. It grows naturally in large, six-sided crystals, and is found all over the world. The name comes from the Latin word for sea water, and could anything be more appropriate?

Aquamarine is found in dozens of shades of blue and green. The natural stone has very little yellow tone in it, which means it pairs well with both gold and silver settings. This makes it a favorite for many jewelry makers. As aquamarine has a Mohs scale of 7.5 - 8, larger pieces of stone can be carved without shattering, resulting in stunning sculptures or beads. 

aquamarine gemstones
Ekaterina Fribus, Dreamstime.com

There is much lore surrounding the stone, but most stories have a common theme: protection. Some wore it to protect from disease, pain or infection, some to assure calm waters and safety during ocean voyages. It was widely considered an antidote to poisons in the Middle Ages, and the Romans carved it into the shape of frogs and presented it to enemies as a symbol of reconciliation. 

Large aquamarine crystals are prized by collectors, who love the clarity and lack of impurities in the stone. The largest stones are usually mined in Brazil, but stones are commonly found in many other parts of the world, including Russia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, Nigeria, and the United States. A unique shade of blue has been found in Madagascar, darker in color than those found elsewhere. 

As lovely as the aquamarine is, some March birthday girls may prefer something a little more unique. The little-known second birthstone for March is bloodstone, an uncommon stone in jewelry but fascinating nonetheless!

Bloodstone uncut
OTWphotography, Dreamstime.com
Bloodstone polished
Nastya80, Dreamstime.com
BLOODSTONE

This dark green stone picks up its flecks of red from iron oxide. It is a member of the chalcedony family, and is sometimes referred to as Blood Jasper. Found in India, Australia, and Brazil, this stone can form natural pebbles and be found in riverbeds or embedded in rocks. 

Another term used interchangeably for this stone is heliotrope, a word that originates from the ancient Greek. Before researching this topic, I only knew that word to refer to a variety of purple flowers. But the original meaning of the ancient Greek word was "to turn towards the sun" or "to attract the sun," depending on your translation of Ancient Greek. Since one really only sees the red flecks in the stone in bright natural light, I can see how the common name would have come into this usage! 

Bloodstone is named by the American Gem Society as a birthstone for March. For jewelry, bloodstone is usually drilled into beads. Fire Mountain Gems carries a wide variety, and the color palette is amazing. From the traditional dark green with flecks of red to greenish-blue or greenish-black, this softer stone (6 1/2 -7 on the Mohs scale) is full of surprises!

Many people carry bloodstone in the form of an amulet, or sewn into the lining of clothing, as protection against bullies. It is thought to provide needed energy for physical activity, or for mental strength when facing new or difficult situations. In days of antiquity it was ground and used for medicinal purposes, and was said to cure tumors, slow blood flow or heal wounds, and even to draw out snake venom! 

Unfortunately we don't have any projects featuring bloodstone on Facet (yet!). But if you're looking for a project idea for the person with a March birthday, or just love the look of blue stones, read on for some of our great projects on Facet featuring aquamarines and their look-alikes!

March birthstone Aquamarine necklace
This groovy design uses Zambian aquamarine rondelles and chain to create a swinging, stylish look. 
March Aquamarine bracelet and earrings
What a different look from the same stone! These aquamarines are nuggets that have been double-drilled. String them with some round crystal pearls for a fast, fantastic statement piece. 
March Aquamarine and quartz necklace
Use small round aquamarine beads to create a much more delicate look. This project mixes 4mm beads with a strand of slightly larger frosted quartz . 
March birthstone Aquamarine Metal rose necklace
Mixing gold-toned components with blue creates a look that is totally on-trend. In this project, seed beads provide an affordable alternative to actual aquamarines for the March birthday girl!

Curious about the stones that represent other months?

Peridots and sardonyx represent August: Check it out here

Sapphires for September: they ward off evil!

The kaleidoscopic stone for October is the opal

 Topaz and citrine: the golden gems of November

December has three beautiful blue choices: turquoise, tanzanite, and blue zircon

Don't be fooled into thinking January's red garnet is too common: this stunning stone will surprise you

February's amethyst is a powerful beacon of purple light in an otherwise gray landscape.

 
 
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