Blog, Gem stones

Carnelian

Carnelian

Carnelian is a brownish red to orange, translucent to opaque chalcedony variety. The coloring agent is iron. Similar to carnelian is sard, which is generally harder and darker.  It is probably named after the color of the kornel cherry because of its color.  Its name comes from the Latin word carneus, which means “fleshy” also a reference to its color. The color of carnelian can be enhanced by heating.

 

 Carnelian is also known as cornelian.  It was once thought to still the blood and calm the temper.  It was also believed to give the owner courage in battle, and help timid speakers to be eloquent.  The ancient Greeks and Romans valued carnelian and used it for intaglios. It has also long been popular for signet rings. The Romans believed that dark carnelian represented the male; while the light color symbolized the female.
Fine quality carnelian may be found in Scotland, Brazil, and Washington State.  It is also found in Egypt, India, Scotland, Germany, Japan, Colombia the United States and China.

In India, when freshly mined, carnelian is often placed in the sun to change its brown tints to red.  Most carnelians in the market today are agates which are dyed and then heat-treated.  When held against the light, the color variety shows stripes; natural carnelian shows a cloudy distribution of color

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