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Etymology and history

Carnelian was recovered from Bronze Age Minoan layers at Knossos on Crete in a form that demonstrated its use in decorative arts. This use dates to approximately 1800 BC. Carnelian was used widely during Roman times to make engraved gems for signet or seal rings for imprinting a seal with wax on correspondence or other important documents. The word carnelian is derived from the Latin word caro, carnis meaning flesh, in reference to the flesh color sometimes exhibited. According to Pliny the Elder, sard derives its name from the city of Sardis in Lydia, but it more likely comes from the Persian word سرد sered, meaning yellowish-red.

Carnelian description

Carnelian (also spelled cornelian) is a reddish-brown mineral which is commonly used as a semi-precious gemstone. Similar to carnelian is sard, which is generally harder and darker. (The difference is not rigidly defined, and the two names are often used interchangeably.) Both carnelian and sard are varieties of the silica mineral chalcedony colored by impurities of iron oxide. The color can vary greatly, ranging from pale orange to an intense almost-black coloration. Carnelian is a form of chalcedony, a member of the quartz family and most Carnelians is heat treated today to enhance the reddish brown color. Carnelian is a form of Quartz, the most common form of rock in the Earth's crust. Specifically, geologists classify Carnelian as a Chalcedony; a member of the cryptocrystalline or microcrystalline group within the Quartz family. Cryptocrystalline crystals are too small to be seen, even with a microscope.

Carnelian jewelry

The bright, warm orange of carnelian gemstones make it one of the favorites of jewelry makers all over the world. Come and savor a variety of carnelian silver and beaded jewelry (jewelry), carnelian beads, and carnelian healing stones.


The largest carnelian occurrence is Australia, Brazil, Madagascar, Russia, South Africa, and the USA.

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