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Carnelian, also known as Sardius, Mecca stone, or Santiago stone, is a semi-precious gemstone with a distinctive reddish-orange color that makes it impossible to go unnoticed. This reddish hue is due to its composition of iron oxides, but it can vary to a more intense shade when the stone is exposed to heat or a lighter tone if it contains iron hydroxide in its composition.
Its characteristic color, reminiscent of flesh, is the main quality that gives it recognition, leading to the belief that this is the origin of its name. The word "carnelian" comes from the Latin "caro, carnis," which translates to "flesh," so it has historically been associated with life. It has also been referred to as the stone of fidelity, linking it to the color of the sunset, which, although it disappears every day, always returns.
The unique color of carnelian is similar to that of cabochon rubies, which can also be compared to flesh or blood and are used in various forms of jewelry, such as this beautiful ring by Albert Hern.
Carnelian has been used for various purposes since ancient times, either as a precious stone or as an amulet. It is believed that in ancient Egypt, it was offered to the goddess Isis, who was responsible for guiding the deceased to the afterlife. It was also used as an accessory in the headdresses of pharaohs, and protective qualities were attributed to it as a talisman.
In Asia during the Middle Ages, carnelian was known for its anti-inflammatory properties and was even believed to have protective powers. In China, it was used as an artistic tool, with its pigment being useful for decorating objects.
In Europe, carnelian's healing properties earned it the title of a comforting stone, primarily used by women who claimed to feel more attractive because of it. In the East, carnelian crystals' astringent and toning properties were utilized, making it a true elixir.
This mineral, belonging to the chalcedony family, is primarily composed of silicon dioxide (SiO2) with aluminum and silica. It has a density of 2.6 and is a variety of cryptocrystalline quartz, appearing more opaque in its raw state, which increases its value as it becomes more translucent.
On the Mohs scale, it has a hardness of 7 and is considered a semi-precious stone that forms at low temperatures, ranging from 50 to 120 °C, in the interior spaces of volcanic areas, from silica dissolved in groundwater.
This silica crystallizes into microcrystals that absorb iron and manganese oxides from the water, transforming into the prized reddish-orange carnelian.
The most significant deposits are found worldwide, passing through Brazil and Uruguay in the Americas, across central and northern Europe, including England, Ireland, and Romania, to India and Madagascar.
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Carnelian, or carnelian agate, has been called this because it sometimes exhibits the characteristic bands of agate, a variety of chalcedony with multicolored bands of low contrast. Agate is not defined as a mineral in itself; it is considered a collection of quartz microcrystals that, when observed by the human eye, reflect various mixed shades.
The carnelian meaning its different to.
There are three main characteristics to consider in recognizing genuine carnelian: color, luster, and transparency. The color is fundamental and the first sign to evaluate; it should be red like flesh or slightly orange like a sunset.
The reddish-orange tone of carnelian crystals is unmistakable and is the best guide to determine if you are dealing with a genuine stone. Luster is also important for identification. Carnelian exhibits a waxy vitreous luster that resembles glass.
The last characteristic, related to the spiritual significance of carnelian, is transparency. The translucent appearance of this mineral is associated with its purity and energy charge, which has been linked to life, the sun, and fire.
Since ancient times, carnelian has been believed to have spiritual significance, associated with spirituality and religion. In Christianity, it is mentioned as one of the precious stones that make up the wall of Jerusalem, according to the Book of Revelation in the Bible.
For Muslims, it holds great value and is known as the Stone of Mecca, as it was supposedly used as a seal in the ring of the prophet Muhammad. Traditionally, in popular belief that has spread worldwide, this stone grants courage, power, and ambition to those who wear it or carry it as an amulet.
Other cultures talk about the carnelian healing properties, something that tends to happen to older gemstones.
In Buddhist religion, it symbolizes wisdom and is considered one of the seven treasures. In various cultures, it has been attributed with healing properties for the spirit and emotions. It is said to influence negative feelings, happiness, motivation, and concentration, promoting spiritual growth.
The earliest references to carnelian date back to 2,000 to 4,000 B.C., and there are records of carnelian in Celtic deposits from the Bronze Age. The great Greek, Roman, and Babylonian civilizations incorporated it into their jewelry, invoking protection and strength.
In the death mask of Pharaoh Tutankhamun, you can observe inlays of this crystal, and it has also been carved into sacred animals such as the falcon Horus and the ram of Amun in Egyptian mythology.
It is considered the symbol of the Apostle Philip and was used by the early Christians in crosses, boats, or transport to recognize each other and protect themselves from the Romans.