Monday, September 5, 2011

Rock Review: Carnelian

Carnelian and Jasper Pendant by Layne Designs

In today’s rock review, we discover Carnelian. It’s perfect gem to usher in fall in hues, or orange red and brown.

Geology Buzz

Carnelian is a rust colored mineral that is often used as a semi-precious gemstone in jewelry and decorative art. It is a type Chalcedony that derives its color from the presence of iron and can range from pale orange to nearly black. It is between a 6-7 on Moh’s scale of hardness, has a vitreous luster and is translucent. Sard is the name of a slightly harder and darker version of Carnelian, however, the names are used interchangeably at times since there is such little variance between the two gems.

Fun Facts

Carnelian can be found often in ancient cultures like the Phoenicians, Romans, Greeks, Syrians, Hebrews and Egyptians. It was a favorite for creating official seals and signet rings. The stone could be carved with relief style symbols, crests and seals that represented a person or government. The gem was either then set into a ring or fixed onto a cylinder and used to press warmed wax leaving a one of a kind mark on letters and documents to make them official. The Phoenicians also used Carnelian to create unique scarabs used in amulets, decoration or ceremony. It is also the gem that was in the first position on the breastplate of the Hebrew High Priest.

Carnelian is said to have a number of metaphysical properties that can be imparted to a wearer including enhanced clarity and perception, sharpened concentration and protection from negative emotions. Finally, enjoy this poem written by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe about the lovely Carnelian’s history and properties.

Carnelian is a talisman,
It brings good luck to child and man;
If resting on an onyx ground,
A sacred kiss imprint when found.
It drives away all evil things;
To thee and thine protection brings.
The name of Allah, king of kings,
If graven on this stone, indeed,
Will move to love and doughty need.
From such a gem a woman gains
Sweet hope and comfort in her pains".

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