Carnelian Stone buying guide


Posted on March 03 2021

Carnelian Stone buying guide

Carnelian Stone buying guide

Treasured by kings and queens, carnelian gemstone is the heritage of many royalties.
The national stone of both Norway and Sweden, carnelian, was also used to decorate the Taj Mahal in India.
The Romans were fascinated with carved carnelian stones and used them for making stamps. It is considered a traditional gift for the 17th wedding anniversary.
The carnelian gemstone is also known as cornelian and sard. It is a semi-precious gemstone that’s often used in jewelry.
A combination of the silica mineral chalcedony, the carnelian gemstone has its orange or reddish color due to the iron oxide impurities in it.
Depending on how much iron oxide there is in the individual stone, the color can range from pale orange to an intense, black coloration.
The best-known and generally the least expensive variety of chalcedony is carnelian.
It ranges in color from yellow-orange to rich, reddish-orange, to orangey-brown, and varies from semi-opaque to translucent.
Carnelian is one of the ancient gemstones and dates back several thousand years.
The first carnelian gemstone cuts in history were found in the Varna Chalcolithic necropolis, Bulgaria. Approximately 6,500 years ago. It was a carnelian bead with 32 facets.
Since then, carnelian jewelry has been found in many other places. In the Balkans, in Greece, and across the rest of the ancient world, and the Middle East.
The word carnelian or cornelian comes from the Medieval Latin word, “corneolus” which comes from the Old Latin word, “corneum” — cornel cherry. Presumably, the name was chosen because the carnelian stones resemble those translucent red fruits.

How did these gemstones occur?

It is a microcrystalline quartz. It is found deep inside the sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic rocks.
During the volcanic eruption when lava bursts, these rocks form holding this compact fibrous structure.
Rocks contain a large amount of this chalcedony variety as rough, due to which the stone becomes reasonably priced.

Where are these gemstones found?

It was first discovered in Arabia and Egypt deserts.
At present, India is the primary source of this stunning gemstone. The stones obtained from India are mostly bright and require no enhancement.
Madagascar comes second as an important source. Fine beads reddish-brown or reddish-orange are best obtained from this country.
Few states in South America also produce fine quality gems possessing a rich reddish-orange hue.
Australia, Brazil, China, Scotland, West Germany, Colombia, Saxony, Russia, and a few parts of Africa also contribute to the world’s total Carnelian supply.
If you’re looking to buy one, here’s a complete Carnelian stone buying guide to help you with the process.

All you need to know about a Carnelian`s clarity:

  • Appearance: It holds dull brilliance.
The transparency state of this lovely gem is clear thus; due to its mass, the inclusions present within the stone are not visible through the naked eye.
As rough it contains fractures and cracks on its outer surface, which are removed during the initial gemstone processing.
Carnelian is almost always translucent but can also be opaque at times. It has an attractive sheer to waxy luster, which gives the stone a beautiful appearance.
Carnelian’s luster brings out the color of the stone and makes you want to reach over and touch the smooth stone.
  • Cut: This remarkable stone is firm and sturdy therefore it is easy for gemstone cutters to give any desired shape.
However, the most universal shapes seen in regular jewelry are either smooth oval or round. Usual shapes like square, emerald, and many other creative shapes can be created but are not commonly seen.
All these shapes are distinctive but do not highlight the beauty of the stone as oval or round.
A well-cut and well-polished carnelian gemstone will have a beautiful shape and will reflect light off its surface quite effectively.
It can make either a great jewelry gemstone or a beautiful piece of ornamentation in and of itself.
  • Carat Weight: Large size of this gemstone looks wonderful in rings, pendants, and stud earrings.
It is regarded as a precious stone but is priced as a semi-precious stone therefore high carat weight single stone could be selected.
This stone below 1-carat weight is rarely available.
Mostly the size of stone selected for diverse jewelry items falls between 2-5 carat weight. Higher the carat weight more becomes the cost of the gem.

How To Choose Carnelian Gemstone Color?

Carnelian comes in a variety of orange to red hues, from faint to vivid.
While dynamic, vibrant hues are generally more desirable, there is no specific carnelian gemstone color that’s valued more than the others.
Both light orange and dark red carnelian gemstones are equally priced and valued, so the choice between them is purely cosmetic and subjective.
It is best to choose the carnelian color that you think looks best on you.

How to use Carnelian Gemstones In Jewelry?

As with other opaque silica gemstones, carnelian jewelry is quite affordable making it ideal for daily jewelry pieces.
It adds a burst of color to any outfit and tends to stand out beautifully against any skin tone.
Carnelian looks beautiful in both silver-hued and yellow gold metals.
When set in yellow gold, carnelian takes on a vintage charm as the two colors compliment each other perfectly.
However, silver metals accentuate the color of the stone and add the perfect contrast.
The gemstone also suits a range of styles, be it casual and bohemian or classy and formal. This depends on the setting and the skill of the designer.
It also pairs well with more expensive materials, such as gold and diamonds, which can make for stunning and unique jewelry designs.
This is why you’ll find carnelian jewelry ranging from a few dollars to thousands of dollars.
Carnelian stones can be used in anything from rings and earrings to bracelets, pendants, necklaces, and rings.
With a hardness of 6.5 to 7 and very good wearability, the carnelian stone makes for a very long-lasting and sturdy jewelry stone.
When maintained and cared for properly, a Carnelian stone can last in top condition for a very long time.
It is an excellent alternative gemstone to engagement rings, but it might not be for everyone.
The trouble with engagement rings is that it’s a piece of jewelry that you’ll be wearing frequently, if not every day. As such, it needs to be durable enough to withstand regular exposure.
Carnelian is a relatively soft gemstone, compared to engagement ring staples such as diamonds, sapphires, and rubies, and will require careful maintenance to keep it from scratches and fracturing.
It’s important to set your carnelian in a protective setting like bezel or halo and to remove it whenever engaging in vigorous activity.
While we don’t recommend carnelian for engagement rings, if your heart is set on it, it’s not impossible to make it work.

Can a Carnelian be used for jewelry for men?

The Finger ring is the only carnelian jewelry item for men popular around the world.
A single stone in dark brown-orange hue in oval shape is ideal for rings made up of 18K or 21K gold.
The beauty of the rings is augmented with the large size stone.
The minimum size of the stone should be between 2-4 carat weight, however; a higher carat weight could be selected as suitable to one’s pocket.

How else can a Carnelian gemstone be used?

Other than jewelry, it is widely used for making eye-catching cameos and intaglios.
The carving done on this stone looks wonderful due to its deep red color.
Further, as it is translucent, the carved design is emphasized to its best.
Italy is the main source for finest artwork made from Carnelian, same as other gemstones.
Anything to be aware of before purchasing a Carnelian gemstone?
Our Carnelian stone buying guide is here to save you from being fooled!
Most carnelians on the market are untreated, but sometimes these stones can be subject to heat-treatment to enhance their natural color.
Additionally, you can also encounter certain “carnelian” stones on the market that are little more than dyed white chalcedony stones or lightly colored agate.
You can usually tell these apart by holding up the stone to a source of light. If the stone displays an internal striped pattern, it’s usually dyed agate.
Natural carnelian is cloudy inside, with no patterns.
Carnelian itself is rarely used as an imitation of other stones but it can sometimes be mistaken with fire opal or amber.
Fire opal is usually brighter in color and more transparent, however, while amber is significantly softer.
These days the International Gemstone Organization certifies the dealer for their reliability.
These dealers are liable to give written certificates mentioning the authenticity of the purchase made by the buyers.
This splendid gem is often enhanced to improve its color.
The stones that are light in color are heat-treated to attain the bright red-orange hue.
Dull and pale stones are sporadically dyed to acquire an intense color.
Buyers should always ask the dealer to specify whether the stone owes its color to treatments or is natural.
The International Gems Organization accepts the different treatments performed to enhance the beauty of the stone but selling enhanced stone at the cost of natural stone is against the law.

Carnelian`s Price:

It is found plenty in several parts of the world. The abundant quantity makes this an affordable gem.
The main price determinants for this gemstone are color, carat weight, and country.
The bright red color is valued most followed by reddish-orange and other colors.
As mentioned, with the increase in carat weight price also increases.
The supplier country plays a role in deciding the price. Gems from India and beads from Madagascar are of premium quality that is most sought after.
This is the reason why the price increases if these countries furnish the buying items.
Clarity and cut are 2 Cs that are important to consider when planning to purchase but do not affect the price.

Carnelian Gemstone Meaning and Symbolism:

The carnelian gemstone is regarded as a stone of motivation, endurance, courage, and leadership.
Its warmth and bold energy are loved by timid speakers who need the courage to go out in front of large audiences.
Carnelian stones were also the favorites of fierce warriors heading into battle.
Ancient Egyptian architects would carry carnelian stones as a sign of their high rank.
Alchemists in the Middle Ages would use carnelian as a boiling stone for other chalcedonies to activate their energies.
Called “The Setting Sun” by the ancient Egyptians, the carnelian was also identified with the female energy and was associated with the fertile blood of Isis, the Egyptian Mother goddess.
Today, it continues to be of value for those who believe in crystal healing.

All you need to know about a Carnelian gemstone`s care:

Make sure you don’t expose the carnelian to heat for a longer time, as it may cause some permanent damage to the stone.
You can easily clean this stone with soapy water and a brush.
Due to its hardness, the stone may not get scratches easily, but be careful not to use a scrubber or other hard objects for cleaning.
Store in fabric-lined boxes or wrap them in soft clothes. Keep this stone away from chemicals, especially while doing household work.


We hope you found our Carnelian Stone buying guide helpful!
Do not forget to keep in mind the different characteristics of this gemstone to help you choose the best one.
And make sure you are not fooled into buying a fake one!
We recommend you pick whatever type of Carnelian you find eye-catching. Analyze it through your eye, follow our guide, and go for it.
At the end of the day, the color or cut does not matter more than your happiness.
Once you're done with this, you're going to have the best Carnelian gemstone, which you can flaunt!

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