A gemstone with an unmistakable color, Carnelian is a translucent gem with intense red-orange hues.


The name Carnelian derives from the Latin ‘carneus’, meaning ‘made of meat’, reflecting its wonderful color.

Chemical composition of Carnelian

Carnelian crystal raw

Raw Carnelian crystals

Carnelian is a member of the Chalcedony group, which in turn belongs to the cryptocrystalline Quartz family. Ranging from translucent to opaque, Carnelian owes its coloration to the presence of iron oxide.

Carnelian extraction

The variety of Carnelian Quartz may be extracted in Madagascar, Brazil, India or Uruguay.

The history of Carnelian

Carnelian is a perennially popular gemstone. The Mesopotamian Kings donned Carnelian jewelry, and even Napoleon possessed jewels made with this precious stone. Carnelian also has deep religious and spiritual meaning: in the Bible, Carnelian is mentioned as a decorative stone on Aaron’s breastplate (Exodus 28:15-30) and as one of the twelve precious stones used for the foundations of the city of Jerusalem (Apocalypse 21:19). The ancient Greeks and Romans used Carnelian for engraving. Venerated by Muslims, Carnelian is also known as the ‘Stone of Mecca’, due to the Carnelian signet ring worn by Mohamed.

Properties of Carnelian

Carnelian’s unique coloration makes it a very popular gemstone. Its intense red-orange colors are resplendent in a stone that ranges from transparent to opaque. Stones ranging from dark red to brown are called ‘Sards’.

Care for Carnelian

If exposed to intense light sources, Carnelians may become pale or return to their original color. In order to preserve their quality, Carnelians should never be cleaned using ultrasound, while steam cleaning is entirely safe.

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