CARNELIAN Mentioned in the Bible
Origins Brazil, India, Madagascar Sri Lanka & Uruguny
Colors Found Orange to red
Family Chalcedony Quartz
Hardness 6.50 – 7.00
Refractive Index 1.53 – 1.54
Relative Density 2.58 – 2.64
Also known as Sadoine or Mecca Stone and sometimes spelled Cornelian, the name is derived from the Latin world for flesh, “carne,” due to its orangey red color.
Legends and lore
Carnelian has been an important gem in nearly every great civilization. From the royalty of Ur (the Mesopotamian capital of pre-biblical times), to Napoleon (he returned from his Egyptian campaign with a huge octagonal Carnelian) and Tibetan Buddhists, Carnelian has been revered for its healing, spiritual and creative qualities.
A deeply religious gem, Carnelian was used by the Egyptian goddess Isis to protect the dead on their journey through the afterlife.
Carnelian is mentioned in the Bible as being one of the “stones of fire” (Ezekiel 28:13-16) given to Moses for the breastplate of Aaron (Exodus 28:15-30) and is also one of the twelve gemstones set in the foundations of the city walls of Jerusalem (Revelations 21:19). It is the symbol of the Apostle Philip.
Popular in ancient Greece and Rome for intaglio (a gem carved in negative relief) signet rings, the Romans symbolically associated dark colored Carnelian with men and light colored Carnelian with women.
Muhammad’s seal was an engraved Carnelian set in a silver ring.
To this day, Buddhists in China, India and Tibet believe in the protective powers of Carnelian and often follow the Egyptian practice of setting the gem with Turquoise and Lapis Lazuli for enhanced power.
Just the facts
Carnelian is a translucent orange to red variety of Chalcedony. Uniformly colored cryptocrystalline Quartz, its red tints are caused by iron oxide trace elements.