mineralogy, history, and metaphysics

Welcome to the Carnelian page. Here, you will learn everything you need to know, including mineralogy, history, metaphysics, and more!





Major resources from Peru, Indonesia, Brazil, and India.


(Motivation, Passion, Confidence, Courage)


Carnelian is an orange-red mineral commonly used as a semi-precious gemstone. It is a variety of the silica mineral chalcedony, colored by impurities of iron oxide, with the chemical formula of SiO2, and a Mohs Hardness of 6.5-7. The colors can vary greatly, ranging from pale orange, to brown, to an intense red coloration. Carnelian has a hexagonal crystal system and a vitreous luster. It also has a rich history, including uses as ornamental beads since the Early Neolithic; as well as its use within elite Roman culture, where it was crafted as intricate wax seals for imprinting on correspondence and other important documents. Today, significant mining localities for carnelian include Peru, Indonesia, Brazil, and India.


Although it is now commonly called "carnelian", it is thought to be a 16th-century adaptation of the 14th-century word "cornelian". The term Cornelian comes from the Medieval Latin ‘corneolus’, which is itself derived from the Latin word ‘cornum’, from the cornel cherry, whose translucent red-orange fruits resemble the stone. Another closely related stone, called Sard, is thought to be the original adaptation of the stone’s namesake. According to the Roman philosopher and naturalist, Pliny the Elder, the term ‘sard’ derived its name from the city of Sardis in Lydia, and according to accounts of its usage, may ultimately be related to the Persian word “sered”, which translates to "yellowish-red", which is another allusion the red colored variation of chalcedony that we know today.

The beautiful, red stone has been used as decorative beads since the Early Neolithic, with the first faceted carnelian beads being described from the Varna Chalcolithic necropolis, during the middle of the 5th millennium BC. A little later, during the 4th millennium BC, the bow drill was first used to drill holes into carnelian at the Neolithic site of Mehrgarh, which is now located in Baluchistan, Pakistan. During approximately 1800 BC, carnelian décor was recovered from Bronze Age Minoan layers at Knossos of Crete, Greece. Additionally, carnelian was widely used throughout the Roman Empire in order to make engraved gems for wax seals. These were important tools for imprinting a seal with wax on correspondence or other documents, as hot wax does not stick to the stone.


Chalcedony is a cryptocrystalline form of silica, composed of very fine intergrowths of quartz and moganite. It occurs in many different forms, colors, and patterns, and many varieties have been used as gemstones since early Antiquity. Varieties of Chalcedony include agate, carnelian, chrysoprase, and jasper. In ancient times, chalices would often be carved out of chalcedony and lined with silver to protect royal families from poisoning and political upheaval.


Metaphysically, carnelian is said to be a strong stone of personal empowerment and stick-to-itiveness. A stone of the Sacral Chakra, it is said that it can aid its user in finding courage to face harsh truths about their current reality. Carnelian is also said to be a stone of motivation and vitality, endowing its user with the extra boost of confidence and self-worth they need in order to create and facilitate personal growth and progress. Physically, carnelian is said to aid the body with infertility and impotency, as well as helping to create healthy blood flow and circulation. It is also said that the stone can be used for treating lower-back pain, as well as providing essential mineral absorption to the kidneys and liver.