Chemical Composition and Formation Process

Carnelian is a variety of chalcedony, a microcrystalline form of quartz, with the chemical formula SiO₂. It forms through the deposition of silica from aqueous solutions in volcanic and sedimentary rocks. The red to orange color of carnelian is due to the presence of iron oxide impurities.

Names and Alternative Names

The name “Carnelian” comes from the Latin word “cornum,” meaning “cornel cherry,” due to its similar color. Alternative names include “Cornelian”, “Sard” and “Mecca Stone,” referring to its historical use and trade.

Mythology and Legends

In ancient Egyptian mythology, the “Sunset Stone” protects the soul in the afterlife. It was used in amulets and jewelry placed in tombs.
In Roman mythology, carnelian associated with the goddess Isis and brought courage and protection against negative energies.
In Islamic tradition warriors wore carnelian rings for courage and physical strength.

Electric Cosmology

Carnelian is neither an insulator nor a conductor; unlike other quartz, it has no piezoelectric properties.

Mining, Production and Use

Carnelian has been mined since antiquity, with significant sources in India, Brazil, and Egypt. Historically, it was used in signet rings, seals, and amulets. Today, carnelian is mined primarily in Brazil, India, and Uruguay. The rough stones are cut, polished, and crafted into beads and other jewelry pieces. Carnelian remains popular in modern jewelry design and is often used for its vibrant color and believed metaphysical properties.