Carnelian Gemstone Properties 

Design Possibilities

The rich tones of gold play off the warm color of carnelian, but it is more often seen in designs with silver, antique silver, or with pewter. Combined with deeply contrasting black onyx, the fire-reds of carnelian become even more vibrant--for a sophisticated casual look. For a more adventurous impression, combine it with green aventurine and a hint of something blue like lapis lazuli or sodalite. Or, for an exciting treat for the eyes, combine the fire-orange stone with vivid blue-green turquoise.


Named after the red-orange Kornel cherry, carnelian was believed by the Romans to be a stone of courage--able to shore up confidence and strength. In ancient Egypt, the stone was placed on mummies to assist the dead in their journey to the afterlife.

Metaphysical/Healing Properties

From antiquity, carnelian has been worn in cameos in the belief that it will ward off insanity and depression. In contemporary times, carnelian is thought by some to enhance self esteem, to combat feelings of inadequacy, and to increase physical energy. In the home, it is sometimes used as a talisman to protect against fire and misfortune. Carnelian is associated with the solar plexus chakra (the yellow chakra), in which imbalances are thought to cause digestive problems, as well as lack of confidence.

Scientific Description

Carnelian is a variety of chalcedony and is a micro-crystalline quartz. It appears in a vibrant range of fire-orange reds to brown-reds and has a dull, waxy luster (as opposed to the vitreous quality of crystal quartzes such as amethyst). The reddish tints in the translucent stone are due to one of its ingredients: iron oxide.
Mineral InformationChalcedony, microcrystalline quartz group
Chemical CompositionSiO2
ColorFlesh-red to brown-red
Hardness6 1/2 - 7
Specific Gravity2.58-2.64
Refractive Index1.530-1.539


Carnelian is found in India, Brazil and Uruguay. In India, the stone is treated with exposure to the sun that turns brownish tints to purer reds.

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**Please note that all metaphysical or healing properties listed are collected from various sources. This information is offered as a service and not meant to treat medical conditions. Fire Mountain Gems and Beads® does not guarantee the validity of any of these statements.

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