Carnelian - Mineral and Healing Properties

Chemistry: SiO2 Silicon Dioxide

Class: Silicates

Uses: Used in jewelry and ornamental stone.

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A glassy, translucent stone, Carnelian is an orange-colored variety of Chalcedony, a mineral of the Quartz family colored by impurities of iron oxide. Its color varies from pale pinkish-orange to a deep rusty brown, though it is most known for its brilliant orange and red-orange crystals.

Origin Of The Name

Although now the more common term, carnelian is a 16th-century corruption of the 14th-century word cornelian. Cornelian, cognate with similar words in several Romance languages, comes from the Mediaeval Latin corneolus, itself derived from the Latin word cornum, the cornel cherry, whose translucent red fruits resemble the stone. The Oxford English Dictionary calls carnelian a perversion of cornelian, from the Latin word caro, carnis, meaning flesh.

Interesting Facts

Ancient Warriors wore Carnelian around their neck for courage and physical power to conquer their enemies. In Egypt it was worn by master architects to show their rank of builder, and alchemists of the Middle Ages used it as a boiling stone to activate the energy of other Chalcedonies. As the first stone in the breastplate of the High Priest, it signified the blood of the martyrs and was once believed to prevent illness and the Plague. The ancient Egyptians called Carnelian the setting sun.

Carnelian was recovered from Bronze Age Minoan layers at Knossos on Crete in a form that demonstrated its use in decorative arts; this use dates to approximately 1800 BC. Carnelian was used widely during Roman times to make engraved gems for signet or seal rings for imprinting a seal with wax on correspondence or other important documents. Hot wax does not stick to carnelian. Sard, another name for carnelian, was used for Assyrian cylinder seals, Egyptian and Phoenician scarabs, and early Greek and Etruscan gems. The Hebrew odem (translated sardius), the first stone in the High Priest's breastplate.

Where Is It Found

Carnelian can be found in many places in the world. The most significant sources include Brazil, Uruguay, India, Madagascar and the United States (New Jersey and Oregon). Most carnelian gemstones available today are sourced from India and South America.

What Do We Do With It

Carnelian is a jewelry gemstone. It is cut and polished into cabochons, and used as beads for necklaces and bracelets. It is also carved into cameos which can be worn as pendants. Carnelian is occasionally used as an ornamental stone and carved into animal carvings or ornamental objects.

Metaphysical Uses

Like the unexpected fire of a sunset, or the first flash of autumn brilliance, Carnelian captivates. Its bold energy brings a rush of warmth and joy that lingers, stimulating and empowering. Known as a stone of motivation and endurance, leadership and courage.

Carnelian is a stabilizing crystal, perfect for anchoring in the present. Its high energy helps restore lost vitality and motivation, and stimulates creativity for new pursuits. It improves concentration and removes extraneous thoughts in daydreamers, and during meditation. This stone also protects against envy, rage, and resentment - yours, or from others, and encourages a love of life. It is useful for overcoming abuse of any kind, helping you to trust yourself and your perceptions.

Carnelian, in its beautiful shades of orange, stimulates the Sacral Chakra.

Carnelian encourages acceptance of the cycle of life and helps remove the fear of death. As an ancient stone, it was used to protect the dead on their journey to the afterlife. It gives courage and promotes positive life choices. Carnelian is a crystal of action, overcoming procrastination or indecision. It encourages one to stop waiting for dreams to appear, and stimulates the courage to embrace change and Divine Will to begin to make one's highest goals happen.

Physical Characteristics

Color: Red orange

Luster: Vitreous

Transparency: Transparent to nearly opaque.

Crystal System: Hexagonal

Crystal Habits: Cryptocrystalline - microcrystalline aggregate.

Cleavage: None

Fracture: Uneven, splintery, conchoidal.

Hardness: 7

Specific Gravity: 2.63 - 2.65

Streak: White

Educational Videos

Hunting Carnelian in Oregon

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