Saturday, March 31, 2012

Saturday's Gem - Carnelian

Good Morning Friends.  It is  wonderful to be back; I had my first day off in 16 yesterday and it felt so good to drive freely on 41 up towards Yosemite.  I love that drive, the landscape goes from palms and vineyards to old west.  Piles of massive boulders decorate the lonely rolling hills and in the background there are the massive sierra mountains.  The terrain begins to get rougher and you start to see ranches here and there with white horses lazily grazing on the wild grasses.  If you have a good imagination and can ignore the other cars you could maybe picture a cowboy rolling up on his horse overlooking the ranch from a nearby cliff.  Too cool if you ever get a chance it is well worth the trip.
These stones are a wonderful example of the Carnelians Botryoidal shape and the waxy luster that makes it so desirable.  These beautiful specimens can be purchased from
FeatherBear3 at

Anyway, I am happy to be back and to have the satisfaction of completing my portion of a project for my company and now it is time for Saturday's Gem; Carnelian.  Carnelian is a beautiful semi-precious gem that comes in a variety of red to warm brown hues.  The darker browns are known as Sardonyx but there is not a sharp distinction between the two gems, so I am going to put them together.

Carnelian is a categorized with chalcedony which is a microcrystalline quartz which simply means that the make up is of tiny crystals giving it a more soft look rather than the sharp look of crystal quartz.  Where crystal quartz (macrocrystalline) will create distinct and sometimes large crystal points (i.e. Amethyst,) a microcrystalline such as Carnelian will form more of a massive or globular shaped gem stone.  Another way to distinguish Carnelian from other quartz is its "waxy" luster versus a sharp crystal sparkle.  Often the coloration is in bands of brown and when it is broken it has an uneven fracture. 
This gorgeous necklace shows a perfect example of the banding found in the Carnelian stone.  The necklace can be purchased from ETSY shop CC Stiel at
they have many fine pieces of jewelry so please stop by.
Carnelian has been worn for centuries and throughout ancient times and has be regarded as a gem to protect the wearer from dangers and harmful influences.  Ancient Egyptians would often adorn their deceased with this gem to protect the dead from harm.  Today it is still thought to have protective energies and it is suggested that a person wearing Carnelian is more composed, calm, and confident.  Of course you should never use any natural healing or energy stones in the place of seeking medical advice from your physician.  The information in this blog is based on traditions not sound science.

One of my favorite pieces that are created with the Carnelian stones are cameos.  Not all cameos have the striking white picture with a dark background, these are often made from other semi-precious gems (such as agate and onyx) and shells.  But the Carnelian cameos have a very delicate subtlety to them and while the carved images may not jump out at you as do the others they are equally beautiful.  Some Carnelian cameos may have a stronger contrast it just depends on the stone that was carved. 
This exquisite pendant is a perfect example of the subtlety that I was mentioned above.  This beautiful vintage piece can be purchased from City Details at
Cameos made from gems (including Carnelian,) minerals, and shells that have "bands" of varying colors.  The artist will select the piece based on the natural potential for a beautiful carving.  The will then cut the piece accordingly and carve through the layers giving the cameo its distinct appearance of two different stones or having been painted.  Over the years people have cheated and made cameos by using different methods (such as overlaying one piece on top of another) but a true cameo is carved from one solid piece and is not painted.
This Gorgeous ring is a perfect example of how the artist chose the stone for its layers and the potential for a striking and contrasting piece.  The white layer is carved back to expose the colorful Carnelian.  You can purchase this amazing Antique piece from Art4U2Buy at

Here are some of the ETSY treasures I found using this wonderful stone.

1 comment:

Jacki said...

Thank you so much for the feature on your blog. I enjoyed reading all of the history of carnelian stones.