Carnelian: A Guide to History, Meanings and Properties

Carnelian meaning and usesAre you thinking of adding another glimmering gemstone to your collection? The carnelian stone is a striking orange jewel that’s sure to mesmerize you! Nicknamed the “Artist’s Stone” and the “Singer’s Stone,” carnelian is a fiery chalcedony gemstone beloved by kings and royalty since early civilization. 

Carnelian stones are more than just breathtaking gems. They’re vessels of life and pure energy that will rejuvenate your soul. Its glowing red accents dance with passion, while its golden yellow hues shimmer with its healing spirit. 

In this complete guide, we’ll be visiting the captivating carnelian’s history, origins, meaning, healing properties, specifications, and price. 

Let’s jump right in!

What is a Carnelian Gemstone?

The carnelian stone is a member of the chalcedony family, a type of silica mineral quartz. Other well-known minerals in this group include the onyx, agate, sard, and jasper. 

Although historically associated with August, the carnelian stone is the modern birthstone of July. For astrology-lovers, carnelian gemstones hail under the lively and visionary Virgo. Fun fact: Virgo’s star sign is The Virgin, the only sign represented by a female. As a symbol of feminine energy, it’s no wonder that the carnelian suits Virgos. 

Carnelian gemstones make dazzling pendants, rings, and other jewelry. However, in ancient times people used them for more than decorative ornaments alone. 

ddbnzpvgurvp4vg9.jpgCarnelian Specifications & Specifications 

Carnelian gemstones are a chalcedony quartz variety and composed of silicon dioxide with a hexagonal crystalline structure

As durable gemstones, carnelians clock an impressive seven on the Mohs hardness scale. These orange crystals are literally tougher than steel nails and knives. You won’t have any trouble wearing your carnelian jewelry on the go!

Carnelian Characteristics

  • Color: orange, yellow-orange, brownish-red 

  • Luster: waxy, dull

  • Transparency: translucent to opaque

  • Refractive index: 1.530-1.540

  • Double refraction: 0.004

  • Density: 2.60-2.64

  • Cleavage: none


Carnelian gemstone colors reflect the cozy autumn season, ranging from golden yellow to reddish-orange to rusty brown. Bright red-orange carnelian stones are in high demand because of their sunset-like hues. What gives the carnelian its fiery colors?

A gemstone’s colors result from varying environmental influences like temperature, pressure, and mineral impurities. For carnelians, their rusty colors come from trace elements of iron.



Clarity refers to the impact of gemstone inclusions, fractures, and other blemishes on a gemstone’s appearance and structure.

Since carnelians have a dull and waxy luster, the inclusions are not typically visible to the naked eye. As such, carnelian stones typically have lower clarity. However, as evidenced before, what they lack in clarity they make up for in color!


Carnelians are relatively easy to shape in a gem cutter’s studio. As a result, you’ll find this vibrant gemstone in a variety of shapes and cuts. 

Carnelian shapes are popular in classic oval or dome, alongside square and emerald cuts. Some carnelians are even left free-form in all their natural glory.


Treatment refers to the process of enhancing a gemstone’s clarity or color. Carnelian colors are usually treated by inducing heat or dyeing other forms of chalcedony quartz.

For heat procedures, carnelian gemstones undergo treatment at 2900 degrees Fahrenheit. The process is typical and chemically alters the carnelian’s concentration of iron oxide, inclusions, and impurities. 

Dyeing white or pale chalcedony creates the carnelian stone’s gorgeous orange shades. You can also soak the stone in a vegetable dye for weeks to produce a stable, uniform color. 

Since carnelians mostly come from India, it’s no surprise that the country has traditional treatments. One popular method is to leave carnelian gemstones out in the sun for months. The sun’s natural warmth transformed the colors from dark brown to a deep, gorgeous red. 

Another common approach was to place the freshly mined gems into clay pots coated with goat feces overnight to produce a smoky reddish-orange hue.

Carnelian History & Meaning

Carnelian’s name comes from "carnis," the Latin term for “flesh.” Like their namesake, carnelian stones often have a flesh-like tone. 

The carnelian gemstone stretches back in time to 1800 B.C. on the island of Crete. Its legacy spread worldwide, from the Yemen wadis to the Nubia Desert region of Egypt. It was the ancient Egyptians who nicknamed the carnelian the “Sunset Stone” for its blazing colors. 

Speaking of the Egyptians, they buried their mummies with carnelian gems to ease their passage into the afterlife. In ancient mythology, carnelian gemstones represented the sun god Horus and his mother, the fertility goddess Isis. 

Carnelians carried special significance for other religions and cultures too. The 12 ancient Israeli tribes used carnelians, and they also covered the breastplate armor of Aaron, Moses’s elder brother. The prophet Muhammad wore a carnelian signet ring to seal important documents. 

Meanwhile, carnelians served as protective talismans against earthquakes and other natural disasters in ancient Greece, Persia, and Babylonia. On the other hand, the Romans decorated their battle armor with carnelian stones for strength and courage. In the Middle Ages, alchemists used carnelian stones to draw out the energy of other chalcedony minerals. 
As you can see, carnelians have an exciting past as vibrant as the gem itself! Speaking of which, what makes these gems so colorful and full-bodied?

Next, we’ll look at how carnelians form and where they come from today.


Carnelian Origins

Carnelians don’t just embody fire; they’re born in it.

Millions of years ago, molten volcanic rock called magma pushed up to the earth’s surface. As it cooled and hardened, gas bubbles formed. When the magma eventually solidified into host rock, the gases evaporated and left behind tiny pockets of space. Fluids like silica filled these pockets, and over time they hardened into crystalline specimens. 

Once the carnelian stones were fully-formed, they became tougher than the surrounding rock. As a result, everything but the carnelians gradually eroded by wind, rain, and ice. The remaining carnelian stones were then carried away by streams and creeks and wound up in river beds.

Millions of years later, gemstone miners unearthed the stones!

Carnelian Mining Locations

For five thousand years, the Gujarat region in India has been home to one of the biggest carnelian mines. The mine most likely supplied the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans with these stones. Today, the Gujarat deposits are still known for their high-quality carnelian gemstones.

Additionally, Brazil, Uruguay, and Madagascar contribute to the modern carnelian market. Other mines exist in Australia, China, Russia, Serbia, Germany, and parts of the US and western Europe.

We’ve covered the carnelian stone’s history, origins, and mining locations so far. But what about carnelian stone meanings?

Carnelian Spiritual Meaning

What is carnelian stone good for in your daily life? At the core of its essence, the carnelian gemstone represents returning to your roots. It restores your love for yourself and your zest for life.

With the carnelian, you’ll ward off depression and find the strength to face the day. You’ll no longer drown in feelings of inadequacy because the stone helps you regain self-control over boiling anger, envy, or resentment. Carnelian enables you to release grief, whether over a lost loved-one or a painful breakup.

The carnelian gemstone may evoke fire, but it’s also a breath of fresh air from all that holds you back. Carnelian sparks creativity and empowers your inner voice to speak up. As a talisman of new realms and possibilities, carnelian is the perfect companion for those seeking opportunity and adventure. 


With newfound emotional freedom comes heightened mental clarity and concentration. You’ll soar through life with fresh eyes and an appreciation for everything around you. Ready to finally stop and smell the roses? Carnelian helps you see the beauty in even the smallest moments.

Even better, you’ll taste the sweet victory that comes with confidence. With a carnelian gemstone in hand, you’ll have a cheerleader as you achieve goals and ambitions. 

If one of those goals is career-related, you’ll find yourself leveling up your game at work. Try brightening up your office with carnelian or carrying a gemstone to your next meeting. Before you know it, you’ll attract all the financial abundance and prosperity you deserve.

Now that we’ve gone over carnelian stone beliefs let’s dive into its healing properties. 

Carnelian Healing Properties

Carnelian gemstones can heal your body and spirit. Wondering how to use carnelian stones for maximum healing power? All you have to do is wear carnelian jewelry, and the properties will sink into your skin.

Carnelian stone benefits include combating insomnia and blood-related problems such as blood pressure, clogged arteries, and weak blood flow. The potent healing stones will relieve lower back pain, arthritis, kidney issues, and aching joints. 

As for carnelian physical healing, this is where chakras come into play.

Carnelian Chakra Healing and Balancing

Healing stones are powerful aids for physical, emotional, and spiritual healing. The carnelian stone connects with two chakras: the sacral and solar plexus chakras. Next time you meditate, hold your carnelian stone or align it with your chakra points to activate healing.

Sacral Chakra

It’s no surprise that the carnelian gemstone associates with the sacral chakra as a symbol of fertility. This chakra, located below the navel, regulates your physical passion, reproduction, creative energy, and sense of adventure. 

A blocked sacral chakra means you may find yourself creatively burnt out. Your sexual drive may be either too low or too high. Worse, you may suffer from menstruation issues or labor pains.

Carnelian gemstones can balance this chakra. For example, take a carnelian gem into a warm bath to release creative energy all around you. To alleviate labor pain, place a carnelian stone into your mouth – just don’t bite or swallow! 

Solar Plexus Chakra

This holistic energy center swirls in the stomach, governing our self-esteem. When unbalanced, this chakra can trigger digestive problems and diminish confidence. 

By opening this chakra, carnelian stones restore your confidence levels and soothe indigestion. 


Pricing and Value

These gems are undeniably powerful, magnetic, mysterious crystals, but are carnelian stones expensive? We can happily say that they’re quite affordable! Because carnelian gemstones are widely available in the gem market, they’re budget-friendly.

With that said, the price of a carnelian stone will vary depending on a few factors.

Carnelian Pricing Factors

  • Carnelian gemstones with bright reddish-orange tones will command higher prices due to their popularity. Red carnelians can range from $3-25 per carat, while orange ones are $2-15 per carat.

  • Gems mined from India and Madagascar are likely to be more expensive due to their color and quality. Intricate shapes like cabochons and domes can hike up the price as well.

  • Keep your shopping experience easy and stress-free! You’ll secure the best value and dodge shady deals when buying directly through a reputable gem seller.

Looking To Buy A Carnelian Gemstone?

And that wraps up everything you need to know about carnelian stones! Let’s recap our journey together.

First, we broke down carnelian’s geological properties, colors, clarity, cut, and treatments. Here, we learned just how incredibly diverse and unique this golden-orange jewel is. 

Then, we explored the carnelian’s global heritage and traveled millions of years back in time to witness its fiery birth. We then toured carnelian mines around the world and combed the stone’s spiritual depths.

Finally, we concluded our travels by wandering through carnelian value and price points.

But your journey need not stop here. With a carnelian gemstone by your side, you’ll discover new aspects of yourself. You’ll bring out your inner artist and ascend to new dimensions of life — shedding past problems the way trees shed autumn leaves, making way for a fresh beginning. 

And at a bare minimum, you’ll have a vibrant, eye-catching jewel that’ll quickly become a conversation starter!

Explore our collection of carnelian stones today!

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