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What it is
is a form of chalcedony, which is the microcrystalline form of quartz.
It occurs in uniform shades of red, orange or red-brown. Most Carnelian
sold today is heat treated to enhance its color.
Because quartz is the most common crystal in the world, deposits of
Carnelian are found around the globe. The most famous sites are in
India, Brazil, Uruguay and Japan. Deposits are usually found in the
lower temperature and lower pressure zones near the Earth’s surface. In
the United States, deposits are located in Texas, MD, Florida Colorado
and North Carolina.
Many gem scholars agree that the tradition of birthstones arose from the
Breastplate of Aaron described in the Bible (Exodus 28, 15-30). The
breastplate was a ceremonial garment set with twelve gemstones and the
design called for the twelve stones of the Twelve Tribes of Israel to be
set in four rows. These gemstones corresponded to the zodiac signs of
the time; our present calendar with its month system had not yet been
developed. Today, birthstones have come to be more commonly associated
with the calendar month of birth, although some prefer aligning the
stones with astrological charts to divine their birth or natal stone.
In Western society, astrologers recognize this crystal as a primary
birthstone of Virgo (Aug. 22 to Sept. 22). Hindu astrologers name it a
secondary stone for Aries (Mar. 21 to April 20) and Scorpio (Oct. 24 to
Nov. 22). Carnelian is associated with Thursday and Friday. The Arabs
associated it with the month of July. It is a sun stone and associated
with the Fire Elemental. Carnelian is connected with the #1 and #3
Some of the oldest examples of human jewelry contain Carnelian. At an
excavation site in Ur, archaeologists uncovered the tomb of Pu-Abi, a
Sumerian Queen from the third millennium, B.C. She wore a robe that
contained Carnelian, along with other precious and semi-precious
The greatest myths surrounding Carnelian come from Egypt. Ancient
Egyptians so revered the power of the stone that it was one of three
used most often in their jewelry, along with turquoise and lapis lazuli.
The goddess Isis protected the dead with a Carnelian Amulet she named
Thet. After being soaked in Ankhami flower water, on a sycamore tile and
placed on the body of the deceased, this gift of Isis would grant the
Ka, or soul, protection from harm while moving through the afterlife.
In Europe, Carnelian has also been an important symbol in history.
Ancient Greeks and Romans called it Sardius and used the stone for
signet rings, cameos and intaglios.
In Asia, Tibetans created amulets of silver with generous applications
of Carnelian, Turquoise and Lapis Lazuli, much as the Egyptians used
these same stones.
In India, Hindu astrology names Carnelian as the secondary stone of
Buddhists in China and India created amulets inlaid with Carnelian and
other semi-precious stones, ascribing to them powers of protection and
utilizing them in many rituals.
Since the times of ancient Egypt, when Carnelian was believed to protect
the dead in the afterlife, Carnelian has represented great magical
powers among spiritualists. Some have said it has the power to protect
against telepathic invasion or the evil of envious people. Others have
said that it has the power to see into past lives and resurrect the
Carnelian is frequently known as a stone of great spirituality. It has
been said to be a healing gem with a wondrous capacity for mental and
physical healing properties. Crystal healers prescribe Carnelian for
individuals who are timid, for the stone’s power to spur motivation and
increase self-confidence. Crystal healers also prescribe the use of
Carnelian as a sleep aid because of its ability to calm and ease
anxiety—a calm mind will be able to overcome insomnia—and its ability to
bring dreams as answers to one's questions. Dreaming of Carnelian has
been interpreted to signal the approach of a significant problem in a
Carnelian provides energy conducive to stabilizing the energy in the
home. As with all forms of Chalcedony, it is used to balance the energy
of the body, mind, emotions and spirit. It symbolizes benevolence and
good will, and enhances generosity, responsiveness and receptivity.
Carnelian's healing properties are thought to help purify the blood,
relieve menstrual cramps and back pain. It is also thought to be
beneficial in the treatment of infertility and is worn to enhance
passion and desire. Pink carnelian can be used to encourage love between
parents and children, and between parents and parents.
Copyright 2006 Liddy Midnight