March birthstones: Aquamarine and bloodstone

St. Patrick's Day, the beginning of Daylight Savings Time and the NCAA basketball tournament – March has plenty of excitement to offer the world. But for some people, it's even more joyous because it's a time to celebrate having been born. 

If one of your loved ones is celebrating her birthday in March, consider buying her jewelry with the aquamarine or bloodstone birthstone.

The name aquamarine comes from two Latin words – "aqua" which means blue and "marina" which means sea. The gem was named such because of its blue-green color. While the stone is found in hue ranging from clear to blue-green, the most valuable stones are those that are dark blue. However, transparent aquamarine stones have been used for lenses in eye glasses for centuries.

Ancient Romans believed aquamarine was the sacred stone of Neptune, god of the sea. The gem became a talisman for sailors, particularly when inscribed with the image of Neptune. Aquamarine is also said to have healing powers when submerged in water. It's been used as a story-telling device and anecdote to poison in the past as well. Overall, legends from different cultures lead to the idea that aquamarine symbolizes safety and security. 

Aquamarine is part of the beryl family, as is Emerald. The minerals form in large grained igneous rocks, mainly in Brazil. There are also aquamarine mines in Australia, China, India, Africa and the U.S.

Find out what options Fine Jewelers has for aquamarine jewelry, which includes pendants, earrings and rings.

The other birthstone for March babies is called the bloodstone or heliotrope. It's mainly dark jasper green with red spots on it, which is how its name came about. According to ancient legend, the opaque quartz was named after some of Christ's blood dripped onto jasper leaves when he was on the cross. It's also been called the martyr's stone, another reference to Jesus.

Bloodstone is said to symbolize courage while fighting evil and envy. It's also used to heal or cure blood disorders, in addition to purifying the spleen, liver, kidneys and intestines. India is the world's largest source of bloodstone, but the gem can be found in Brazil, Uruguay, Australia and the U.S. as well.

For people whose taste doesn't mesh with aquamarine jewelry, perhaps a Sterling Silver Autumn, Blue and Crazy Lace Jasper necklace would be preferable.