As I near my 60th birthday, I look back at my life ad all the things that have happened. Sometimes it’s the small things that stick out the most and a small thing that makes you remember those small things.
When I was in the 5th grade, our class took a field trip to a small house near my school with a sign hanging from a gas lamppost in the front yard that simply read “Rock Shop”. What made me remember this trip nearly 50 years ago was a customer asking me, “What was your first gemstone?” Not being much of a jewelry hound, I have had very few pieces of jewelry let alone ones with gems in it, but I did remember that field trip to the Rock Shop.
At first, I wasn’t all that impressed. The owner had a lot of polished stones, some geodes that had quartz crystals inside, and a few gemstones that were cut into what I know now to be cabochons. What did impress me was that the owner had stories about many of the stones that she told us. One of these stories affected me to the point that I had to have one – my first gemstone.
This story began about a great man who lived almost two centuries ago. He was a known as a teacher, a leader, a healer of men, and a friend to all who need one. This man, as great a man that he was, was misunderstood by more people than who did understand him. Those who didn’t understand him felt threatened by him and because of that was ordered put to death by the leaders of his country. Having been raised in a Christian family, I knew this story was about Jesus Christ.
The finish of this story was what affected me the most. The owner said that after he was on the cross, a Roman soldier stabbed him in the side with his sword to hurry his death. His blood spilled onto the rocks below and forever colored these rocks with the splotches of his blood. These rocks were called bloodstones.
After her story was over, she told us that bloodstone was the traditional birthstone of March – my birth month (the modern birthstone for March, of course, is aquamarine). I had to have one! After the owner was done with the tour and her stories, I went up to her and told her how her story had affected me and that I was born in March. She smiled and said I could pick one out for myself. I found a stone about the size of a quarter and she said that would be fine.
I treasured that stone while I was growing up not knowing the true facts about bloodstone (a green jasper with red hematite inclusions – also known as heliotrope). Some time while I was in college, that stone disappeared from my desk at home (that’s a story in itself!). I never replaced it, but I will never forget my first gemstone.