Carnelian is the trade name for chalcedony with warm primary colors. While carnelian is traditionally a solid shade of red or orange, “carnelian” has become an encompassing term in the trade that can include sardonyx, which is banded red, orange, yellow, and white chalcedony, and sard: a loose term from Antiquity usually denoting a darker, harder variety of chalcedony, but the color hue ranges are virtually the same. Carnelian also spans the gap between the technical definitions of agate and jasper: it can range from translucent to opaque. But whatever else you want to call it, carnelian is beautiful.
Personally, I love the patterned translucent material that shows bands of red, orange, yellow and white. It can be polished or given a matte finish. I even have some carnelian druzy in stock.
One of the specialist gemcutters I work with is German cutter, Dieter Lorenz. He has incredible vision in bringing the patterns of carnelian to life in his designs. He can use the natural banding and layering to create dramatic effects within a single piece. Since carnelian is quartz, it is fairly inexpensive, and it has wonderful working properties, so many gem fashioners, like Dieter, enjoy experimenting with it.
The art inherent to this gemstone makes it the kind of material I love working with, and I’ve made many one-of-a-kind custom pieces from all sorts of carnelian.
Carnelian has been used for cameos, intaglios, and other gemstone carvings for thousands of years, dating back to at least 4,000 BC. Its bold, vibrant colors attracted men who wanted to convey their robustness and virility to the world. Carnelian is also a modern alternative to ruby as the birthstone for July.
Durable enough to be worn in everyday rings and bracelets, and lightweight enough to make large statement pieces wearable, carnelian is a versatile jewelry gemstone. Stop by some time and look through my collection. I have some finished pieces of jewelry featuring carnelian, and I have some in the works. I also have trays of loose material that you can sort through and pick out for your very own one-of-a-kind custom design. Or you’re free to just look and admire. This is a gemstone of such character and variety, it deserves that kind of attention.