Dreaming of that holiday in the sun? Yearning for beautiful sunsets whilst you sip down a tropical cocktail? Trying to shake off those winter blues? Well, we have the remedy for you! Take a look at our beautiful orangey-red Carnelian beads and we guarantee that you will get a dose of happiness that brightens up your day.
Carnelian (or Cornelian) is a translucent variety of Chalcedony that receives its beautiful orange and red tints from Hematite that is embedded in a colourless Silica. It can have unbroken colours or sometimes some form of banding. In India, the stone is quite brown, so it is left out in the sun until it eventually turns orange. They literally capture the sunlight in this stone – magical!
The major sources of Carnelian are India, Brazil, Uruguay and Japan. Three blocks weighing more than 1.5 kilos have been discovered on the lower Narbada River in India. Other locations include Queensland, Australia; Bohemia, Czech Republic; Franche-Comte, France; the Black Forest and Bavaria, Germany; Rathnapura, southwest Sri Lanka; Siberia, Russia; Cornwall, England; and the US states of Connecticut, Florida, New Jersey, Tennessee, and Washington.
Although now the more common term, "Carnelian" is a 16th-century corruption of the 14th-century word "Cornelian" which itself was derived from the Latin word “carneus”, which means “fleshy” – a reference to its colour. Carnelian has been known to be used as beads since the Early Neolithic period. The first faceted beads are described from the Varna Chalcolithic necropolis (5th millennium BC). Carnelian was recovered from Bronze Age Minoan layers at Knossos on Crete in a form that demonstrated its use in decorative arts, dated 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, since hot wax does not stick to Carnelian. The Romans said that dark Carnelian represented the male while the light colour symbolized the female.
Most of today’s commercial Carnelian is heat-treated and comes from India, Uruguay and Brazil. Since it is a relatively inexpensive gemstone, it is very popular for polished and cut beads, cabochons, pendants and cameos. It is also used for decorative arts and ornaments such as spheres, eggs, prisms and wands.
Carnelian is very similar to Sard and both are varieties of the silica mineral Chalcedony, coloured by impurities of iron oxide and Hematite. Sard is generally harder and darker (the difference is not rigidly defined, and the two names are often used interchangeably). The colour of both can vary greatly, ranging from pale orange to an intense brown colouration. Carnelian has a rating of 6.5 on the MOHs scale.
Orange gemstones like Carnelian are said to be excellent aids for training, coordination of physical exercise programs, and balancing body energy levels whilst boosting a listless attitude and stimulating the appetite. It is thought that Carnelian aids architects, builders, and construction workers in their creation of master buildings. It is also believed to stimulate power and stamina in athletes.