Carnelian is in the crystal spotlight today, and in this blog post, I’m going to tell you everything you EVER wanted to know about this gorgeous + fiery gem.
Before we get started… I’ve got the PERFECT free gift to go along with carnelian today: my Juicy, Creative Sacral Chakra Guided Meditation.
Historically, carnelian has been referenced in the bible as one of the gemstones that adorned the breastplate of the High Priest and the Breastplate of Aaron.
Anthropologists have also found carnelian in ancient jewelry dating back to old Egypt and ancient Rome. You’ll often see rich orange-red pieces inlaid in rings or pendants in museums around the world.
Or used in other unique ways…
Carnelian’s Energetic Properties
Carnelian has a fiery energy to it! Looking for some get-up-and-go? Then this is a great crystal to work with as it’s known to help eliminate procrastination.
Carnelian is ideal for helping us bust through laziness while enhancing our passion for getting something done.
While inviting in creativity it assists you in initiating or “getting going”, encouraging you to take steps towards your dreams and whatever lights you up. Plus, it’s also a good one for clarity of mind.
And carnelian helps make decisions, so you know what you need to do to get to the next step! It helps you quit overthinking and just get the job completed. Pair it with clear quartz to amplify its energy. Ka-Pow!
It’s also wonderful if you’re just feeling sluggish, tired, or low energy. Kind of like a crystalline shot of espresso!
And if you’re looking to boost your sex drive or confidence… this gemstone is your go-to to work with.
Invigorating Sexy-Time Energy
Does this sound like you?
- Tired and drained?
- Poor social skills? Or low confidence?
- Deny yourself of pleasures?
- Lack of passion, enthusiasm, excitement?
- Lack of creativity?
- Fear of change?
- Frigidity and/or fear of sex?
Then this may be the stone for you!
TIP: Need some inspiration on how to work carnelian into your life? Over here, I’ve listed 5 Simple Ways to work with your crystals every day.
Carnelian is an all-around booster. Need to amp something up? Carnelian to the rescue!
It’s known to boost life-force energy while strengthening the immune system, boosting vitality + fortifying the physical body.
So, you can pick up a carnelian to give your immunity a boost any time, especially if you are feeling run down or have a cold coming on. For example, you can drop a tumbled carnelian stone in your water bottle = Instant Gem Elixir!
For more tips on how to work with carnelian in this way, plus other gemstones and herbs to stop a cold in its tracks, jump over to my blog: How to Kick a Cold with Crystals.
Carnelian is a somewhat translucent, yet vibrantly colored Micro-Crystalline Quartz (aka chalcedony; click here if you’re not sure how to pronounce that — the geology teacher in me is sort of a stickler on that pronunciation because I so often hear it mispronounced) and it has a Mohs Hardness of 6.5- 7.
Being it’s micro-crystalline, it doesn’t grow in the shape of the usual 6-sided Hexagonal Quartz shape with a point. Instead, there are teeny-tiny crystals there, but you can usually only see them under a microscope.
Carnelian is quite easy to ID since it’s an invigorating, vibrant, juicy orange color; getting its color from iron impurities in the quartz. It’s most often solidly opaque in color with perhaps some colorless translucent areas — but sometimes bordering on technically being an orange agate. (Agates have tell-tale banding on them). For instance, take my GORGEOUS “Jumbo Jupiter” Polished Madagascar Carnelian Sphere below (it’s got about 25% agate banding on it).
So, Is it Agate?
As shown above, when you see layered colors in the stone, it may also be referred to as an “agate”… due to that translucent banding. You may wonder, “Well, isn’t this Fire Agate and not Carnelian?”
Yeah, it could be named that way. But it’s just a name. If it’s mostly non-banded and opaque orange then I would tell you it’s a proper carnelian… but even carnelian in its “purest form,” you usually see a bit of white or translucency to it. And that white area is just bits of quartz that did not get enough of the iron inclusions to turn it orange.
If you’re looking to pull together some different vibrational frequencies to spark some vibrant carnelian energy? I’ve got some tips in my article; Energizing Crystal Combo which includes gemstones and essential oils plus an amazing gem elixir smoothie recipe.
Being quartz, it’s a safe stone to use for just about anything. This means you don’t need to be concerned with it being toxic (in baths or gem elixirs) and water won’t harm it. It’s also quite easy to get your hands on and relatively low-cost. A total “no-brainer” to have in your collection. 😉
Is it Fake?
I recently had to rain on everyone’s parade with the carnelian-trending over on TikTok to let them know: that much of the carnelian they were making a hoopla over was DYED or HEATED to achieve the color they were looking at.
About 90% on the market today is not naturally that color. 🙁
Through my many contacts and very reliable geology sources, I’ve confirmed that high percentage. You can believe me or not. (I have, understandably, received lots of push-back on this).
Of course, I do implore you to do your own investigating on this. Always.
So, most carnelian is indeed dyed or heat-treated (to approx. 2900°F or 1,593.33 °C) to attain a more vibrant orange color. Sometimes it’s an organically sourced dye (vegetable dye or natural pigment) but chemical or iron salts can also be used. Carnelian stones are quite permeable (think of it as a sort of sponge) so they can easily take up the dye if left to sit in the dye bath for several weeks. The longer it’s left in, the deeper + more uniform the color. And this is NOT a new practice. It’s been done since ancient times.
Now everyone always wants some easy tips on IDing the faked dyed or baked specimens.
Hate to rain on your parade… again — but unfortunately, it’s not very easy to tell.
I used to think that old stock carnelian would be much less likely to be dyed, but since this is an ancient practice around since the days of Pliny The Elder, well… I’m not so sure that old stock is so “virgin” anymore.
SPOTTING DYED OR HEAT-TREATED FROM NATURAL TIPS:
- If your stone has a really even homogenous bright orange or reddish coloring, it’s most likely dyed. or maybe heated to enhance the color — Like here… they openly admit these are dyed.
- Natural carnelian has more of a cloudy dispersal of color (not mandatory), slight color variations coupled with inclusions + some natural patterning from time to time. That’s a tip-off that it’s more likely natural
Unfortunately, it’s just not easy to ID the dyed or baked specimens so it’s just not an exact science. BUT here’s something you can do that can work some of the time (if you’re OK with a slightly destructive testing method):
So a TRUE undyed carnelian will streak test white.
If you get an orange streak, well that’s proof that it’s dyed (or at least the section you tested was saturated in dye).
Now with all that said about fake or dyed or heated carnelian:
- Do I still enjoy working with it? I do.
- Do I wish it had not been tampered with? I do.
- Do I feel the energies of the crystal are diminished with non-natural treatments? I do. Slightly.
I just want to make sure you’re well-informed and then you can make a decision from a place of knowledge. Not tellin’ you not to work with carnelian here at all.
Carnelian is THE stone for Sacral Chakra work.
And the Sacral Chakra, or second chakra (also known as Svadhisthana in Sanskrit), located in your pelvic area, is all about:
juicy creativity, creating life, creating art… creating anything at all.
When you put anything into manifestation/creation mode, it’s all about the Sacral Chakra; very watery, juicy, fertile energy.
Carnelian is our ideal stone to help enhance and balance our sacral chakra. It resonates with the vibrations of physical and mental energy; creation energy!
I’ve got the PERFECT gift to go along with this stone today: my Juicy, Creative Sacral Chakra Guided Meditation.
Creativity and Vitality
As I mentioned earlier, if you need energy or vitality of any sort, carnelian helps boost that, and it also amplifies creativity energy; that “take-action energy” — making it a great stone for artists, crafters, writers.
Another way to bring the properties of carnelian into your energy field is to wear crystal jewelry like this juicy pendant below, which you can usually find quite inexpensively in any crystal shop.
Not for you?
Obviously, I love carnelian, but I know it’s not for everyone. And I know from experience, my clients, and from my students that some people are like “Carnelian, oh, I don’t like that stone. It’s not for me.”
If you’re one of those people or know someone who feels this way, ask them to check out this blog, because it might be just what the doctor ordered. Of course, it’s alright if you don’t like carnelian but consider this …
I find that the minerals that we’re often repelled by, sometimes, are the very ones we’re actually supposed to work with. Kind of like the exercise we hate the most is the one area we need to work on because it’s highlighting a weakness we may have.
Ever wonder if the things that bring out the strongest reaction in us, one way or another, positive or negative… if those things should be looked at a little closer?
Food for thought!
More Crystal Correspondences Please!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this spotlight on Carnelian. For more properties, correspondences, and meanings, check out these crystal spotlights I’ve done:
Now don’t leave without your gift —
I’ve got the PERFECT FREE gift to go along with this stone today: my Juicy, Creative Sacral Chakra Guided Meditation.
Tell me in the comments… do you have a piece of carnelian that you love? What is your favorite way to work with it? Or, is carnelian not for you?