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The Natural Carnelian gemstone is a brownish and red tinted gemstone. It colours varies from a brown-red to a red-orange range. Its name is deroved fro the Latin word carneus, that means the colour of flesh. The colour in the Carnelian gemstone is because of the amount of Iron in its chemical composition. The darker shades of the Natural Carnelian gemstone are called as’sard’.
Loose Natural Carnelian gemstone is one of the most ancient gemstones. It was widely used by Roman pope in Rome back then for making insignia and seals for imprinting important letters and documents. It speciality was that the wax does not stick to Carnelian. The Natural Carnelian gemstone has its traces in the Bible. It is one amongst the 12 other gemstones mentioned in the Breastplate of Aaron.
It has the identification of a birthstone in ancient Arabic, Hebrew and Roman tables. Carnelian gemstone is used and is a birthstone for the zodiac sign Virgo
Like other chalcedony, Carnelian has
- Hardness of 6.5 to 7 on the Mohs scale,
- Density of 2.58 to 2.64
- Refractive index of 1.530 to 1.540
- Clarity from translucent to opaque.
Today, Carnelian is used for cabochons and beads. It is also carved to produce cameos, intaglios and other sculptures. The most important Carnelian deposits are found in Brazil, Uruguay, India and Madagascar.
Since Carnelian has such a long history, it is not surprising that a great deal of folkore and legend has become attached to it. Carnelian was regarded as one of the luckiest gems to wear. A proverb states that “No man who wore a Carnelian was ever found in a collapsed house or beneath a fallen wall.” Carnelian was used as a talisman by people dating back as early as the ancient Babylonians and Greeks. Many Muslims believe that Carnelian brings peace and happiness to its owner. This belief is attributed to the fact that Mohammed wore a ring set with a Carnelian seal. Emperor Napoleon jealously guarded a Carnelian seal that he found in an Egyptian campaign and often wore as a watch charm. Many Carnelian gemstones being offered for sale on the market today are actually agate gemstones that have been dyed and then heat-treated. But there is a way to identify Natural Carnelian. The dyed agate will display striping when held against the light, while the Natural Carnelian will show a cloudy distribution of color. Natural Carnelian is becoming increasingly rare.