Healing Crystals Co.

Carnelian: Complete Guide (Updated 2024)

many pieces of tiny orange smooth stones top view

In this post, we reveal everything you need to know about carnelian, including its benefits, properties, meaning and uses. Let's dive in!


An unsuspecting stone that packs quite the punch, carnelian is a natural wonder, and one that every person on the planet can benefit from, someway, somehow. Here’s everything you need to know about this blood orange gem. 

In this article we discuss the following:

  •  What is Carnelian
    • Carnelian Stone Meaning
    • What Color is Carnelian?
    • Spiritual Meaning of Carnelian
    • What Does Carnelian Look Like?
    • Is Carnelian Toxic?
  • Carnelian Benefits
  • Where is Carnelian Found
    • Madagascar Carnelian
  • Properties of Carnelian
    • Carnelian Healing Properties
    • Carnelian Metaphysical Properties
  • Carnelian Colors
    • Red Carnelian
      • Red Carnelian Properties
      • Red Carnelian Metaphysical Properties
      • Red Carnelian Meaning
    • Orange Carnelian
      • Orange Carnelian Meaning
      • Raw Orange Carnelian
    • Yellow Carnelian
    • Pink Carnelian
    • Brown Carnelian
    • Green Carnelian
    • Blue Carnelian
      • Blue Carnelian Meaning
      • Blue Carnelian Properties
    • Black Carnelian Stone
  • Carnelian vs Other Stones
    • Agate and Carnelian
      • Red Agate vs Carnelian
      • Difference Between Carnelian and Agate
    • Carnelian and Jasper
    • Carnelian and Bloodstone
    • Citrine and Carnelian Combination
    • Carnelian and Rose Quartz
  • Types of Carnelian 
    • Raw Carnelian
    • Tumbled Carnelian
    • Natural Carnelian
      • Healing Properties of Natural Carnelian
    • Banded Carnelian Agate
  • Carnelian Uses
    • Carnelian Sphere
    • Carnelian Heart
    • Carnelian Egg
    • Carnelian Pendulum
    • Carnelian Carving
    • Carnelian Pendants
    • Carnelian Brooch
  • Carnelian Jewelry
    • Carnelian Beads
      • Carnelian Beads Meaning
      • Red Carnelian Beads
      • Ancient Carnelian Beads
    • Carnelian Stone Ring
      • Red Carnelian Ring
      • Natural Carnelian Ring
    • Carnelian Stone Bracelet
      • Carnelian Bracelet Meaning
    • Carnelian Stone Necklace
  • How to Wear Carnelian Stone
  • How to Cleanse Carnelian
    • How to Cleanse and Charge Carnelian
  • Buying Carnelian Stone
    • Price of Carnelian
    • Carnelian Beads for Sale
    • How Do You Know If a Carnelian Stone is Real

What is Carnelian

Carnelian crystal is a gemstone of the chalcedony variety, which in turn makes it a derivative of the quartz family. 

In the zodiac, carnelian is the birthstone for the sign of Virgo and, during the 20th century, carnelian took over as the official birthstone for the entire month of August. It remains a fantastic piece of crystal to gift to anyone born during this time. 

Carnelian Stone Meaning

Carnelian stones have held their place in the crystal healing world for at least two centuries, though historians speculate that the stones were also one of the earliest favored gems, finding their place in society as early as the likes of lapis lazuli and turquoise. 

seven smooth polished brown orange and peach stones close up view

Symbolically, the carnelian crystal meaning boils down to health and luck. We’ll delve much deeper into this very shortly.

What Color is Carnelian?

A lot of mineral collectors would describe carnelian as reddish brown, however there are a lot of stones in circulation that take on a more burnt orange hue, similar to that of jasper or beryl. 

Some more rare forms of carnelian exhibit a light orange hue, and may even hold pure white in places. 

Spiritual Meaning of Carnelian

The carnelian meaning and uses span from physical to metaphysical, both of which we will properly break down in the upcoming sections. 

One thing that is worth noting is the undeniable presence of carnelian in the bible. In Exodus, a stone called ‘odem’ is listed as the first crystal in the royal breastplate. Biblical scholars have managed to trace the origins of this name and it seems likely that ‘odem’ was simply an alternate word for carnelian. 

In Hebrew, odem literally refers to redness or red stones. 

What Does Carnelian Look Like?

Carnelian is easily identifiable: it has a translucent body that will take on either a reddish brown, or burnt orange ray energy. It does occasionally vary between semi-opaque to fully translucent, and that depends entirely on the source of the original deposit, and the presence of inclusions at the time of formation. 

Is Carnelian Toxic?

Carnelian is entirely nontoxic, though it is not recommended to use this stone anywhere near salt water. This can cause fractures, and eventual breakage or splintering of the stone itself. 

Carnelian Benefits

Carnelian energy is versatile, adaptive and highly intuitive. These are three benefits that all will enjoy when working one on one with the power of carnelian. 

Many are skeptical prior to working with these stones, as they are not considered to be particularly alluring or aesthetically pleasing in all forms. However, once a connection to the frequency of the stone is formed, the user tends to find a loyal companion for life. 

Where is Carnelian Found?

Carnelian is not considered to be a rare or hard to find crystal, however it doesn’t occur in as many countries around the world as other similar stones. 

The biggest deposits of carnelian are found in Brazil, Russia, Indonesia, Germany and India. India is responsible for the mining of almost all commercial carnelian found in today’s market. 

Madagascar Carnelian 

A number of years ago, an unexpected and generous deposit of carnelian was found on the island of Madagascar. 

These specimens have since become the prized possessions of many mineral collectors around the world. They can be very hard to come by and are often sold off on auction for well above the regular retail price of carnelian stones. 

Properties of Carnelian

Carnelian Healing Properties 

By simply looking at the physical carnelian qualities, it’s easy to see how and where it might offer healing properties to the physical human body. 

Carnelian is often equated to that of blood, given the translucent redness of the stone facade. Many believe that these stones can facilitate a healthy blood supply to the organs and tissues, allowing them to thrive no matter what else is going on in the body. 

The carnelian root chakra is a real thing, and these stones work to rejuvenate one’s sexuality and fertility, when used correctly. Similarly, if you have trouble with your kidneys, you might find that carnelian helps to properly regulate them, causing accelerated healing in other parts of the body. 

Back problems and arthritis are supposedly also treated via carnelian, and there are many individuals out there who swear by these stones as gentle pacifiers of intense spells of depression. 

Carnelian Metaphysical Properties 

When it comes to carnelian’s magical properties, this is a stabilizing stone. It restores one’s natural levels of vitality and motivation while, in the process, stimulating creativity to levels that would have previously not been possible. 

Carnelian is a courage bringer; it wants you to make more positive life choices, and will motivate you toward a life of success, as opposed to one of settling. These stones can be instrumental in overcoming abuse of any kind. You’ll slowly start to trust yourself again, as well as those around you. 

This is an invigorating stone and it will fill the energy fields of the body with life and action.  

three smooth orange and peach stones close up view white background

Carnelian Colors

Red Carnelian

Red Carnelian Properties

Carnelian gemstone’s most natural color is that of red ray energy. All of the aforementioned properties are held within each red carnelian gem, just waiting for you to tap into them as you feel necessary.

Red Carnelian Metaphysical Properties

Metaphysical carnelian symbolism can lead us to look at the color ray of the stones, and what they can offer when they fall under these specific ray energies. Red carnelian falls under red ray energy, and connects quite deeply with the red or root chakra. 

From here, the grounding effect is able to take place, and the user is anchored to the Earth in a healthy and beneficial way. This is a crucial crystal healing property for anyone who tends to float off into space without much control. 

Red Carnelian Meaning

Red carnelian means fearlessness, passion, sexuality and health. It’s a motivational stone, as opposed to a passive healer, so there is fire, action and courage in every moment spent connecting to this particular crystal energy. 

Orange Carnelian

Orange Carnelian Meaning

When carnelian takes on a more orange hue, it is supposedly sliding more into the world of love, and communication of love. Orange stones are known for being instrumental in the process of fertility, so, if you are looking to conceive a child, this could be the stone for you. 

Raw Orange Carnelian

Raw orange carnelian are those that have yet to be tumbled or polished. They make for great home display pieces, and bring a potent frequency of fertility to the home. 

Raw orange carnelian may look particularly rough and even dirty, but this is how these crystals form deep beneath the surface of the earth. As a result, they bring a strong sense of grounding energy to all who make use of them in their most natural form. 

Yellow Carnelian

Depending on the origin of the stone, carnelian can oftentimes be totally yellow, void of any red, brown or orange at all. These stones can be very difficult to identify as they are often instantly confused for citrine or yellow calcite, so you’ll need to rely on more specialized retailers to confirm their nature. 

Pink Carnelian

Certain varieties of carnelian may take on an opaque pink hue, depending on the intensity of the inclusions at the time of formation. When red is not able to properly develop, stones often exhibit a pinkish body instead. 

Brown Carnelian

Similarly, when shades of red are left to over develop, the result tends to be a deep brown stone. 

Brown carnelian holds all of the same healing properties as that of red, orange and yellow carnelian.

Green Carnelian

There is no such thing as green carnelian. Within the crystal market, chrysoprase, an opaque green stone, is commonly mistaken for carnelian in green ray energy. 

Be weary of any retailers claiming to have green carnelian in stock. 

Blue Carnelian

Blue Carnelian Meaning

Sometime in the more recent decades, crystal manufacturers began experimenting with carnelian and dye. Blue carnelian surprised everyone by doing unexpectedly well on the crystal market, and it is still being sold quite freely across crystal platforms. 

Blue Carnelian Properties

Blue carnelian is merely red, orange or pink carnelian that has been manipulated to hold a significant amount of blue dye. The stones hold all of the original carnelian properties, and unfortunately do not take on any special blue ray energy properties when they are changed into this color ray. 

Black Carnelian Stone

Dark carnelian is not uncommon, especially in shades of deep red and brown. On rare occasions, carnelian can appear to be almost black in tone, due to a very deep, dark formation process with the right minerals present. 

Sometimes, carnelian onyx is listed as black carnelian. This is a stone that forms when onyx and carnelian share a deposit. This is extremely rare and deposits of this nature have not been discovered in recent years. 

Carnelian vs Other Stones

Agate and Carnelian

Red Agate vs Carnelian

Carnelian agate is a name you’ll find being thrown around relatively often within the crystal market. Agate and carnelian look extremely similar, and are often confused for one another. 

The easiest way to spot them would be to take time in examining the color pattern of each stone. Agate is usually banded, whereas carnelian is usually more solid in its hue. Carnelian is considered more valuable than agate. 

Difference Between Carnelian and Agate

The biggest difference between carnelian and agate is that agate is a protective stone, whereas (as we know) carnelian is an active healer. 

Some manufactures actually make use of agate in order to produce counterfeit carnelian. In particular, they dye the bands so that the agate takes on a more solid hue. 

Carnelian and Jasper

Examining carnelian rock closely will show that almost all forms of these stones are translucent. Jasper, on the other hand, is almost always opaque. 

Jasper also exhibits multicolored patterns and bands that are simply not present in any form of carnelian, ever. This is an easy differentiation to make, especially to the more trained crystal eye. 

Carnelian and Bloodstone

There is no question as to which stone is bloodstone and which is carnelian. Bloodstone is a solid black and red crystal with little to no opacity at all, while carnelian is sometimes incorrectly named bloodstone due to its blood looking hue. 

Citrine and Carnelian Combination

Combining a piece of citrine with a piece of carnelian is something that more seasoned crystal healers are doing more and more. 

Using the stones in unison has proven to offer the individual increased stamina, creativity and general vitality. Stones that are used in unison are said to be “combining forces”, and don’t necessarily need to have formed together beneath the earth in order to take on increased positive properties. 

Carnelian and Rose Quartz

Likewise, carnelian and rose quartz make a dynamic duo, especially for the individual who is seeking an amplification of romantic love in their life. These two stones work to bring more sensuality, unconditional love and soulmate energy into the physical experience of the user. 

Types of Carnelian

Raw Carnelian

Rough carnelian that has not been tumbled or polished will be described as raw. It comes out of the ground and is sold off as is. It may have numerous imperfections throughout the crystalline structure, but it is extremely potent and highly versatile. 

Displaying carnelian in rough form in the home is a great way of inviting all of the metaphysical properties into one’s general living space. 

Tumbled Carnelian

Also known as polished carnelian, tumbled stones are made by placing rough cuts of any crystal into a tumbling machine. This machine then rolls the stones back and forth, until all sharp edges are gently worn away and the stone takes on a more rounded, manageable shape. 

Natural Carnelian

Natural carnelian will either be a way of referring to raw carnelian, or to stones that have not been manipulated by human beings in any way. 

For example, a retailer may choose to use the term “natural carnelian” to describe a genuine stone that is free of dye, tumbling or synthetic polish. 

hand holding large smooth orange stone close up view

Healing Properties of Natural Carnelian

Natural carnelian holds all of the same healing properties as regular carnelian. We have explored carnelian properties in depth in the aforementioned sections, though we will add that natural carnelian will always have a stronger connection to the Earth than stones that have been “improved” with dyes or polish. 

Banded Carnelian Agate

As mentioned, banded carnelian occurs when agate stones are dyed to be more solid in color. As a result, a synthetic, cheaper form of carnelian is born. Banded carnelian should be carefully identified as such, and one must always keep in mind that it holds no original carnelian properties. 

Carnelian Uses

Carnelian Sphere

What is carnelian stone used for? A shorter list could be written about what carnelian stone is not used for! 

Sphere shaped versions of carnelian are like unique crystal balls, and they are ideal for generating energy in a specific zone of the house, or for the purpose of energy rolling over the human body. 

These spheres are generated by tumbling large-sized raw pieces of carnelian until they take on a perfect sphere shape. 

Carnelian Heart

Carnelian hearts are gorgeous little gifts, but we particularly like them for the purpose of carnelian palm stones. These can be held easily in the palm of the hand during prayer or meditation, and they work to deepen the practice over time. 

Carnelian hearts can also be used in the practice of gua sha, and other types of ancient massage techniques. 

Carnelian Egg

Like spheres, tumbling carnelian into egg shaped units makes for some great energy work stones that roll easily over human flesh. If you’re seeking physical healing benefits from carnelian, an egg is a great way of making direct contact with the properties and frequencies of the stones. 

Carnelian Pendulum

Carnelian is not the most powerful crystal for the purpose of pendulum work, but it can be used for very basic yes or no questions, and to indicate the direction of energy flow in certain instances. 

Carnelian Carving

Sometimes referred to as carnelian granite, carvings are becoming common practice for crystal artists around the world. Carnelian is an incredibly easy stone to carve into, using the right tools. 
Carnelian holds a number 7 on the Mohs hardness scale, which means that, once a carving is complete, it will hold its shape quite sturdily for years to come. 

Carnelian Pendants

Different kinds of faceted carnelian make for some great crystal pendants. Carnelian is common in crystal jewelry making, the specifics of which we will get into in the following section. 

Use carnelian pendants to either wear as jewelry, or as a pendulum suspended from a single chain or string. 

Carnelian Brooch

Some of the best vintage carnelian jewelry is that of crystal brooches. Carnelian was extremely popular to wear as pinned jewelry during the 70s and 80s. It remains a sought after item for those who still have a taste for this kind of unique accessory. 

Find carnelian brooches via specialized retailers, or try your luck at your local thrift stores. 

one piece of orange smooth stone close up view white background

Carnelian Jewelry

Carnelian Beads

Carnelian Beads Meaning

Beads are always the most affordable and accessible way of getting into the crystal jewelry world. Crystal beads are made by tumbling offcuts of these stones that would otherwise have been thrown away. 

One can invest in a generous bag of carnelian beads for next to nothing, and you can then use them to string necklaces, prayer beads or bracelets if so desired. 

Red Carnelian Beads

Red carnelian beads are more common, as red is the most natural hue for carnelian stone. Red carnelian beads offer all of the listed carnelian properties to the user, despite being heavily tumbled and polished pieces. 

What’s great about red carnelian beads is that they have the hardness rating of 7, meaning they can take quite a punch before they’ll ever crack or break. 

Ancient Carnelian Beads

Ancient carnelian beads have surfaced in a number of regions around the world, including Cambodia. Historians speculate that these beads could date back to as early as 400BC. 

Many of these beads have been etched, and have withstood the test of time in order to make it into our modern day history books. Today they are found mostly in museums, but if you’re lucky you may find some being sold on auction via private sellers. 

Carnelian Stone Ring

A crystal ring is easily made using a carnelian cabochon. When in ring form, carnelian is often compared to the likes of garnet or ruby. Depending on the hue, they can be totally indistinguishable. 

This has led to the increased popularity of the carnelian engagement ring. More and more people are using these stones for their engagement pieces because of their likeness to rubies and/or garnets, but with a tenth of the price tag. 

Red Carnelian Ring

A red carnelian ring doesn’t have to be used for the purpose of engagement, nor does it have to be expensive. 

Red carnelian is common and abundant, and it can be set into affordable ring options that won’t break the bank. Carnelian rings are great pieces to have on your hands during meditation, or simply as you go about your day. 

Natural Carnelian Ring

Unpolished carnelian is also being made into crystal rings by some of the more adventurous jewelry makers. There is something very striking about wearing a rough cut crystal right there on one’s finger, so this style is more and more sought after around the world in the current market. 

Carnelian Stone Bracelet

Carnelian Bracelet Meaning

Carnelian bracelets aren’t just visually pleasing; they are also very effective for the purpose of connecting to the healing properties of the stone in question. 

If you are interested in any of the physical healing benefits that can come from wearing carnelian, we recommend wearing it as a bracelet. This puts the stone in direct contact with the human bloodstream, where it can send its potent frequency through the rest of the body as needed. 

Carnelian Stone Necklace

A carnelian stone necklace hangs close to the heart chakra and, while carnelian is not usually a heart centered stone, it will work to stimulate this energy center regardless. 

Carnelian stone necklaces can double up as pendulums or prayers beads. 

How to Wear Carnelian Stone

As mentioned, the best way to wear carnelian stone is entirely dependent on the individual needs of the user. If you are seeking physical healing from these crystals, then wearing them on the wrist is recommended. 

If you are in need of more metaphysical or meditative properties from carnelian, we’d encourage you to wear them on the fingers, or to hold the stones in your hand during meditation. 

Carnelian earrings are great for anyone who needs a bit of grounding throughout the day, as they may feel their head drifting off into the clouds quite easily. 

How to Cleanse Carnelian

Carnelian is not a self cleansing crystal, and thus it needs your help to stay in good working order at all times. We’d recommend properly cleansing and recharging your carnelian crystal at least once a month, or as often as your schedule allows. 

How to Cleanse and Charge Carnelian

Remember, carnelian stones are not compatible with salt water, so, if this is your go-to cleansing method for the rest of your collection, you’ll have to do things differently when it comes to these stones. 

You can use any of the following methods for cleansing and recharging your carnelian stones:

  • Hold the carnelian stone under running water for up to 60 seconds, and then towel dry. 
  • Bury the carnelian stone in the garden for up to 48 hours. 
  • Leave the carnelian under the light of the full moon and retrieve it only the following morning. 
  • Place the carnelian on a bed of Himalayan salt and let it recharge here for as long as possible, or whenever not in use. 
  • Burn sage or other sacred incense over the carnelian for cleaning and recharging. 

Buying Carnelian Stone

Price of Carnelian

Carnelian is an inexpensive crystal and there is no need to break the bank when shopping for these stones, unless they have been mined in Madagascar, or have been inlaid into precious metals such as gold or silver. 

Generally speaking, a palm sized piece of carnelian will retail for around $5 upward. Carnelian jewelry requires workmanship, so you may find bracelets, earrings and rings retailing for upward of $10. 

one piece of raw unpolished crystal rock white background

Carnelian Beads for Sale

Carnelian beads are inexpensive and a generous sized bag of them should go for little over $6 maximum. To find carnelian beads for sale, check out e-commerce platforms such as eBay and Etsy. 

How Do You Know If a Carnelian Stone is Real?

The best way to determine the authenticity of a carnelian stone is to hold it up to some natural light. Real carnelian will show a natural, even distribution of color and hues and, if there are any discrepancies, they will fade in a cloudy manner. 

Replica or counterfeit carnelian will be more solid throughout, with distinct bands of color as opposed to the gentle cloudiness. 


We hope you have enjoyed this guide to carnelian! 

If you are interested in incorporating crystals into your life, you should consider a mindful breathing necklace made of a crystal that resonates with you. Mindful breathing jewelry made of crystals not only help provide the benefits of the crystal you choose to wear, but they can also be used to help slow your breath, leading to a greater sense of calm and serenity. Also, if you are interested in reading more about anxiety and crystals, check out our comprehensive blog post on the 15 Best Crystals for Anxiety!

Did You Enjoy This Article?

Thank you for reading! If you enjoyed this article, you might also like the following articles: Yellow Obsidian: Complete Guide and Green Quartz Crystals: Complete Guide

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Feb 20, 2023 • Posted by Akwuba

I have this Carnelian in my home🙏

Feb 07, 2022 • Posted by Christel Welty

Thank you for taking the time to share your knowledge.

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