HELIOTßOPIUM : Heliotrope and Bloodstone.
retains its ancient name, and is a Prase, or semi-transparent, green
Calcedony interspersed with small etches of opaque, bright-red Jasper.
It is Pliny's variety
the Prasius that " sanguineis punctis obhorret ;" " is horrent with blood-red particles." India then, as now, was
the only source of this beautiful stone ; the best specimens
of which present a pleasing contrast of a true Emerald-green nearly transparent, with the most vivid red.
This species must be distinguished from the Bloodstone Jaspe Sanguin) also
often, inappropriately, termed Helio-trope, the latter being a green
Jasper, perfectly opaque as tï both its constituent colours ; and
besides, a much commoner material, being found in many parts of
Europe, Lastly, we have the rare Tiger-agate of Malwa, only differing
from the Heliotrope in being spotted with bright yellow.
origin of the name, literally " Sun-reflector," is thus given by Pliny
: " The Heliotrope, produced in Ethiopia, Africa, Cyprus, is of the
colour of the leek-leaf (like the Prasius), and marked with veins of
blood. The reason for the name is because, if thrown into a vessel of
water, it (especially the Ethiopian kind) transforms the sun's rays
failing upon it into the reflexion as it were of blood (san-guineo
repercussu). The same stone, out of the water, acts as a mirror for
observing and detecting solar eclipses, by showing the moon passing
over his disk."