Carnelian Stone: Properties, Benefits & Meanings

Carnelian gemstones close-up
Carnelian Gemstones

Carnelian Overview

Carnelian stones have a long and colorful history, with many different uses and meanings. It is a type of Chalcedony with similar properties. However, you can chisel it more easily or shape it into jewelry or other decorative items compared to some kinds of Chalcedony.

You can also use Carnelian stones as ornate carvings and beads in necklaces and bracelets.

This guide will discuss the various properties of carnelian stone, including its colors, hardness, crystal structure, and meaning. Additionally, this guide will discuss some of the most popular uses for carnelian stone, including jewelry making and decorative carvings.

  • Variety of: Quartz
  • Wearability: Good
  • Symbols: Energy, Warmth
  • Color: Red/Pink
  • Hardness: 6 – 7
  • Birthstone: August
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What Is Carnelian?

Carnelian is a semi-precious reddish-brown mineral gem. It is similar to sard but is softer and lighter (the difference is not rigidly defined). It is a variety of Chalcedony and is considered a good choice for jewelry.

What Kind of Rock is Carnelian?

Carnelian is a type of rock made up of silica mineral chalcedony. It has a close relative of sard and only differs in color – it can be either red or reddish brown.

Is Carnelian A Natural Stone?

Carnelian is a natural type of Chalcedony that has been used as a gemstone for centuries, with striking colors making them popular choices among jewelry designers and collectors.

Is Carnelian A Crystal?

Yes, Carnelian is a crystal. It is formed from microcrystalline quartz by the intergrowth of two different types of minerals: quartz and moganite.

Where is Carnelian Formed?

Carnelian is present in igneous, metamorphic, sedimentary rocks, and basalt formations. It is typically found at hot springs, weathering crusts, and sometimes sediments.

What Does The Word Carnelian Mean (Etymology)?

Carnelian is a modern twist on the 14th-century word “Cornelian,” which comes from the ancient Latin word for a cornel cherry, “cornum,” because its fruits resembled the stone. Cornum comes from “caro” or “carnis” meaning “flesh.”

Sumerian and Egyptian artisans were known for making jewelry sets with this stone over 4500 years ago. Ancient Romans and Greeks valued the stone as well. A hard red chalcedony used in jewelry is the definition of Carnelian.

Where is Carnelian Formed?
Carnelian Geode

What are the Physical Properties of Carnelian?


Carnelian comes in two primary colors, red and pink. If you’re looking for a beautiful and unique stone, you’ll love Carnelian. This semi-precious quartz is often available in solid colors but can also come with stripes or darker patches.

Heat treatments can change the stone’s color, so it’s up to the seller to decide the exact shade they want. However, it is most prevalent in orange, red, or amber.


Carnelian is a complex, dark stone with an uneven fracture system. It has a Mohs hardness of 6-7. In addition, silicon makes up the stone’s main structure, making it very durable. This durability makes it quite suitable for use in jewelry and other ornaments.

Crystal Structure

Carnelian primarily contains silicon dioxide crystals (SiO2) in an octahedron shape. In addition, iron oxide impurities give it a signifying red color.

Mineral GroupQuartz
Chemical nameSilicon dioxide
ColorDark Brown, Red, Orange, Pink
Hardness (Mohs scale)6 – 7
FractureUneven, Splintery
LusterDull Vitreous
Specific Gravity2.59 – 2.61
Table of Carnelian Physical Properties
Carnelian Stone Locations
Carnelian Stone Locations

Where is Carnelian Found?

Carnelian gem deposits are found throughout the world. Some minor deposits can be found in:

  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Botswana
  • Bulgaria
  • Canada
  • China
  • Czech Republic
  • Egypt
  • France
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Indonesia
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Luxembourg
  • Madagascar
  • Mozambique
  • Namibia
  • New Zealand
  • Peru
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Russia
  • Slovakia
  • South Africa
  • Sri Lanka
  • Switzerland
  • UK
  • Ukraine
  • Uruguay
  • USA

However, they are not commercially viable for one reason or the other. The significant deposits of Carnelian are in the following countries.

  • India
  • Brazil
  • Siberia
  • Germany

Here, most carnelian gemstones are dyed and heat-treated to achieve additional color variations.

India is the biggest miner of Carnelian commercially, but the other countries also take advantage of their deposits. According to geologists, the Mesopotamian civilization discovered Carnelian in the Bengal region of India.

What Is Its Appearance?

Carnelian is a vitreous, translucent stone. It has a glossy finish and looks almost greasy. The carnelian stone does not shine; instead, it is dull.

If it contains banding, experts consider it as both Agate and Carnelian.

How to Say Carnelian?

Its pronunciation is Kaa-nee-lee-uhn. Sometimes, it is also spelled Carnelion but is pronounced the same way.

Carnelian cabochon
Carnelian cabochon

Types of Carnelian

There are two different forms of Carnelian.

Carnelian Onyx: It is composed of red and white banding lines.

Carnelian Agate: It is a banded form of Carnelian.

What Are Its Uses?

Carnelian is a stunning crystal that people have used for centuries for various things.

1. Protection

Carnelian is known to be suitable for protection. In ancient times, people engraved it with the image of a warrior or a sword. Then this stone was placed in a home to protect it from lightning strikes and disaster.

2. Courage

The carnelian stone is still quite popular because of its property to increase the wearer’s courage and strengthen their personality. In modern times, its most common use is to bolster the wearer’s confidence in public speaking and improve their eloquence.

3. Medicine

The Carnelian stone is a healing crystal. Alternative medicine practitioners often use it to prevent skin diseases and nose bleeds. Since it aligns with the sacral chakra channel, it is known to be good for stimulating sexual impulses and increasing fertility as well.

Carnelian Necklace
Carnelian Necklace

4. Jewelry and Ornaments

Carnelian is also often used in jewelry, as with most other malleable gemstones. Different types of carnelian jewelry have different effects on the wearer.

  • Carnelian Necklace: Women traditionally wore necklace ornaments to provoke better moods. The carnelian stone is also known to be good for reducing blood flow.
  • Carnelian Ring: A carnelian ring was an essential ornament for middle age men, signifying their station and economic prosperity. It was primarily worn in ancient Egypt and the Middle East.
  • Carnelian Bracelet: To help energize and encourage. It has the power to spark courage and strength in those who wear it, as well as give good luck.

5. Egyptian Culture

Carnelian was a famous stone in ancient Egyptian jewelry, used for sun disks and to represent the eye of Horus in Egyptian mythology. It is thought it was the most widely used stone in ancient Egypt.

How Can You Tell If A Carnelian Is Real?

Carnelian is not a very precious stone, so not many people sell a fake one. However, scammers sometimes try to sell colored glass or other colored materials instead of the actual gem.

There are a few things to keep in mind when buying a Carnelian to judge its authenticity:

  1. Weight: Carnelian is a relatively dense stone. When picking it up, it should feel heavier than a similarly sized piece of glass. 
  2. Transparency: It is a translucent stone. If you hold it up to a light, you should be able to see through it. Moreover, it should have a glass-like luster.
  3. Inclusions: Any material trapped within a stone during crystallization is known as an inclusion. A natural Carnelian has a cloudy appearance and has imperfections in the structure; however, it should not have any visible inclusions. Therefore, it is not real if you notice air bubbles when checking the stone.
  4. Acetone Test: Genuine Carnelian’s color is due to iron impurities inside the crystal structure, so it doesn’t come off. However, dyed glass only has a surface layer of paint which can easily be removed with some chemicals. Dampen a cotton bud with some acetone and rub it over the gem to test its authenticity.
  5. Temperature Check: Carnelian is a non-conductive stone. It is less conductive than glass. So if it heats up from your body heat when held in your hand, it is likely a fake one.
How to Tell If Carnelian is Real?
Different Carnelian specimen

Carnelian Value (Price Per Carat)

The Carnelian stone is not particularly rare, which makes them quite affordable. The value of the stone can depend on a variety of factors.

  1. Size: Larger stones naturally cost a lot more than smaller ones.
  2. Color: A more vibrant and uninterrupted color is worth more in the market.
  3. Cut: Uncut gemstones are worth much less than their cut versions.

The lower end of the spectrum for a carnelian gemstone is $3 per carat. However, the more expensive pieces can be up to $9 per carat.

Rough Form of Carnelian
Rough Form of Carnelian

What Does Carnelian Symbolise?

When it comes to stones, Carnelian is one of the boldest and most energetic options around.

The sunny color stone has been linked with

  • Courage
  • Endurance
  • Energy
  • Leadership
  • Motivation

It is trendy among the Arab people as a symbol of power and kingship – because it often projects a strong sense of proactivity.

Outwardly happy colors like orange are also associated with Carnelian in some circles because of their natural brightness properties and rich coloring.

Carnelian Meaning

Which Birthstone is Carnelian?

Experts list it as one of the birthstones in ancient Arabic, Hebrew, Italian and Roman tables. Carnelian should be your go-to choice for an everyday gemstone ring for those born under the sign Virgo. It is the birthstone of August.

Which Chakra is Linked to Carnelian?

When it comes to chakra stones, you can often tell what crystal is associated with which chakra by its color. For example, red crystals like Ruby are linked to the heart chakra, while yellow crystals like Turquoise are connected to the solar plexus.

Carnelian is believed to be connected primarily with the sexual and creative energies of the solar plexus (the yellow chakra).

This connection makes sense, given that this stone is brightly colored and has symbolism that relates directly to these areas of our lives.

Red Carnelian is said to help align all three of your main energy centers – root (lower), sacral (middle), and Crown (higher) – which can be very beneficial for overall well-being.

Where Should Carnelian be Placed?

When it comes to using Carnelian stones in your home, you have a few options. For example, you can place them on the south side of the house if you want to invite abundance into your life. 

Alternatively, this stone is also known to encourage fertility and intimacy when left in the bedroom.

So if you’re looking for a unique way to add color and energy to your space and increase your vitality, Carnelian could be a great choice.

How To Purify and recharge carnelian?

Over time, gemstones linked with your chakras accumulate negative energy and spend their own energy. Therefore, it is important to take care of your carnelian gemstones.

If you are not careful, they can lose their efficacy and start to degrade, leading to a loss of benefits for the wearer. You can make sure nothing like that happens in two simple steps:

  • Purify the gem using smudge sticks containing herbs like sage. Burn them over the carnelian to remove any negative energy accumulated within it.
  • Recharge the energy of the carnelian by placing it under the full moon for a few hours.
How To Clean Carnelian Jewelry
How To Clean Carnelian Jewelry

How to Clean Carnelian Jewelry

After buying your preferred form of jewelry, it is necessary to take care of it as well. Like any other worn accessory, jewelry accumulates dust and dirt over time, reducing its splendor.

However, simply cleaning it without knowing how to can lead to damage that can ruin your jewelry forever. When cleaning Carnelian jewelry, follow the given instructions to keep it safe:

  • Use delicate materials such as microfiber cloths to prevent abrasions.
  • Do not use ultrasonic cleaners or hot water as they can cause damage to your jewelry.
  • Soak the jewelry in warm soapy water for a few minutes, take it out, and gently scrub it with a toothbrush to remove stains.
  • Dry your jewelry with a lint-free cloth, and polish it with a microfiber cloth to give it a lustrous finish.


Is Carnelian heat-treated?

Most Carnelian stones are heat treated. Heat treatment increases their durability, improves their color, and gives them a better finish. However, some people prefer to get untreated stones.

Is Carnelian soft or hard?

It is a 6-7 on the Mohs scale, which makes it a good gemstone for jewelry.

Is Carnelian opaque?

No, Carnelian is a translucent gemstone. If your Carnelian stone looks opaque, it is likely a fake.

Is Carnelian porous?

Yes, Carnelian is a porous gemstone. Because of this, it is safe to clean it with water.

What is carnelian stone good for?

Carnelian stone is linked to energy and endurance. It helps boost people’s confidence and gives them the courage to keep going.

What are the health benefits of Carnelian stone?

The Carnelian stone is primarily used to prevent skin diseases and nose bleeds. However, it is also used as a sexual stimulant.

What works well with Carnelian?

Many stones work well in tandem with Carnelian. Some of them are Citrine, Orange Calcite, Ruby, and Sunstone. These stones harmonize with each other and give great benefits to the wearer.

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