Also known as Cornelian, this is a member of the Chalcedony gemstone family. In ancient times, the high value of Carnelian meant that it was exclusively accessible only to the rich and elite of society.
Carnelian was popular during Roman times to make signet or seal rings for imprinting a seal with wax on important documents at the time.
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Color – Coming in varying shades of red to orange, it is a trendy gemstone for accessorizing, whatever the season’s fashion trends may be. Depending on iron impurities (iron oxide/hematite) in the chemical equation of the rock, each stone can range in color from orange to reddish brown. If it glows with an intensity of color when held to a light, you’ve got a genuine Carnelian.
Clarity – A special feature is the dull luster of this stone. Although normally translucent, the inclusions within are not visible at first glance. Furthermore, the surface of the stone is fractured and rough. But this will not be evident in any Carnelian jewelry you may buy, since any coarseness is removed when the gemstone is cut in the lapidary.
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Cut – Carnelian is a very hard and durable stone and is easily cut into almost any shape. The most popular shapes, however, are round and oval, as they truly bring out the beauty of each stone. For this same reason, you will also find that most often the surfaces are polished and not faceted.
Price – The intensity of red in the stone is a major factor in fixing a price point. This means that shades veering towards orange or brown will not be valued as high. Obviously, the carat weight of the stone is another important aspect, with the price increasing proportionately.
Where is Carnelian gemstone found?
The country of origin too influences the price greatly. Stones from India and Madagascar usually fetch higher prices as they are considered to be of premium quality. More reasonably priced Carnelians are sourced from other countries such as Africa, Russia, Columbia, Germany, Scotland, China, Brazil and Australia.
Enhanced Stones – Carnelians are sometimes treated to enhance the color. Untreated Carnelians fetch a higher price than those treated.
More About Carnelians
Ancient Egyptians had a special name for the Carnelian – “the Setting Sun”.
It is said that ancient warriors believed in the power of Carnelian gemstones so much that they wore one around their necks. This was because a Carnelian was credited with the power to enhance a person’s courage and physical strength.
Africa, India, Russia, Columbia, Germany, Scotland, China, Brazil and Australia.
Most Carnelian is naturally colored, however some lighter-toned stones are heat treated to enhance its color. Some Carnelian on the market is actually dyed white Chalcedony or lightly colored Agate. Therefore buy only from reputable source.