Carnelian Meaning: Here’s What It Means and How To Use It

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From promoting health and vitality to enhancing the flow of life force, crystals and gemstones have been long touted for their incredible healing powers. 

Although there are many, carnelian is arguably the most famous — but where exactly did it come from, and how can the semiprecious stone be identified? We’ll tell you. 

In this article, we’re diving into the Chalcedony family to uncover all the details about one of its most famous members. So if you’ve ever wondered about carnelian and its usage — keep reading. 

What Is the Definition of Carnelian?

According to the Collins Dictionary, the noun carnelian (also spelled ‘cornelian’) is a type of agate that refers to a red or reddish-yellow translucent variety of chalcedony — often used in jewelry. 

With this definition in mind, let’s take a quick peek at some of the things this coveted stone is often associated with:

  • Zodiac Sign— Taurus, Cancer, Leo, Virgo
  • Planet — Mars
  • Typical Colors — Clear to translucent yellow-orange to rich, near reddish-orange, to orangey brown
  • Birthstone — July
  • Chakras — Root Chakra, Sacral Chakra, Solar Plexus Chakra
  • Element — Fire
  • Essential Oil — Ginger
  • Chemical Formula — SiO₂ 
  • Companion Flowers — Torch Lily
  • Numerical Vibration — Number 5 

Note: When carnelian is banded, it’s often called “Carnelian Agate.”

What Is the Origin of Carnelian?

The history behind the highly-prized carnelian stone is a bit fuzzy, but its name is thought to come from Medieval Latin corneolus, which itself first came from the Latin word, cornum, meaning cherry dogwood or cornel cherry. 

Due to the gemstone’s reddish, yellow color, however, there is also a theory that the name is derived from the Latin caro, carne, or carnis, meaning flesh. 

The oldest use of carnelian dates back to the early Neolithic and has been a popular choice for signet rings from Roman and Greek times ever since. 

Today, most carnelian gemstones come from India, but the precious mineral is actually mined worldwide. With this in mind, here are some of the top countries where carnelian is sourced from:

  • Indonesia
  • Brazil
  • Russia (Siberia)
  • Germany
  • Peru
  • Sri Lanka
  • The United States 
  • Thailand
  • Egypt
  • Uruguay
  • Australia
  • Madagascar
  • South Africa

What Is the Best Way to Spot a Fake Carnelian?

With its long and distinguished history, so much so that it has become a part of many legends or folklore, it is no surprise that you will find quite a few fakes for sale in today’s gem markets. 

Unfortunately, a lot of carnelian gemstones found today are heat-treated and dyed agate — but worry not, there is a surprisingly simple way to spot the imposter! 

Simply take the gemstone and hold it against a source of light; as you peer into the stone, if it is a natural carnelian, it will have a cloudy distribution of color, whereas the heat-treated agate will show stripes within its coloring. 

What Are the Supposed Healing Properties of Carnelian?

Carnelian — aka “bloodstone” — is considered a very powerful healing stone that offers a wide range of awesome benefits. The carnelian healing properties of this versatile stone can:

  • Help you to feel grounded
  • Enhance creativity and the flow of creative ideas
  • Boost motivation
  • Combat fatigue
  • Stimulate success 
  • Heal the Heart chakra
  • Repel negativity
  • Boost fertility
  • Enhance sexual energy
  • Open your heart to divine guidance and love
  • Support emotional balance
  • Assist with energetic cleansing and purifying
  • Increase spiritual growth and awareness

What Is the Best Way to Use Carnelian?

There are many ways that you can use a carnelian crystal — here are a few great ideas:

  • Keep it in your workplace for an extra boost of energy and focus
  • Use it to amplify sexual energy and spice things up in the bedroom (wink, wink)
  • Keep it on hand as you exercise to give you the strength needed to push through
  • Meditate with it for confidence and to connect with your spirit guides
  • Incorporate it into self-care rituals to boost confidence and empowerment
  • Place it on or near your vision board to make your manifestations come true
  • Protect your home with it by repelling negativity while inviting positivity
  • Use it as a talisman to protect against fire and misfortune
  • Pair it with other crystals, such as clear quartz, garnet, citrine, lapis lazuli, tiger’s eye, amethyst, jasper, and labradorite, to boost the healing magic of carnelian

To maximize the healing power of your gemstone crystals, it’s very important that you cleanse them prior to use. There are many ways that you can do this, but some of the easiest methods are listed for your reference below:

  • Saltwater bath
  • The light of the full moon
  • The light of the sun
  • Sound
  • Burying them in the Earth (soil)
  • Smudging
  • Visualization or meditation
  • Selenite

What Are Translations of Carnelian?

Now that you know all about carnelian, let’s take a look at some common translations below:

  • Afrikaans — Carnelian
  • Arabic — عقيق
  • Bulgarian — Карнелиан
  • Chinese (simplified) — 红玛瑙
  • Croatian — Karneol
  • Czech — Karneol
  • Danish — Carnelian
  • Dutch — Carneool
  • Finnish — Karneoli
  • French — Cornaline
  • German — Karneol
  • Greek — Σάρδιος
  • Italian — Cornalina
  • Japanese — カーネリアン
  • Korean — 카넬리안
  • Norwegian — Karneolsk
  • Polish — Karneol
  • Portuguese — Cornalina
  • Russian — Сердолик
  • Spanish — carnelian
  • Swedish — Karneol
  • Thai — คาร์เนเลียน
  • Turkish — Carnelian
  • Ukrainian — Карнеліан
  • Vietnamese — Tiếng Carnelian

A Final Word

Known for being a stone of courage, endurance, motivation, and leadership, the carnelian crystal captivates in much the same way that the flash of a fiery sunset does — hence why Ancient Egyptians gave it the nickname of “the setting sun” or the “Sunset Stone.” 

It symbolizes bold energy and warmth as well as joy and links to the rich and fertile menstrual blood of the goddess Isis. Additionally, Carnelian’s metaphysical properties offer stability, grounding, good luck, and a zest for life, making this self-esteem-boosting stone a must for anyone looking to add a new healing crystal to their collection.


Carnelian Value, Price, and Jewelry Information | International Gem Society

Carnelian definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary

Carnelian Bead | Historic Jamestowne