Carnelian is reddish brown member of the chalcedony mineral family. It gets it's color from iron oxide. A lot of people call the fiery red orange carnelian, “true carnelian” and carnelian is naturally that color. The truth is that most of the fiery red carnelian is heat treated before reaching the gemstone cutting factories. This seems to have been a secret for thousands of years. Every source country of carnelian thought that other country's carnelian was naturally red but in fact, all of them were heat treating their stones. To tell the difference, hold a stone against the light. If the color is showing in stripes, it is heat treated. If the color shows as a cloudy distribution, it is natural. The name, carnelian is believed to come from the Latin word “carnis” for flesh in reference to the color.
This gemstone is very suitable for jewelry and on the Moh scale, has a hardness of 7. It has been a common stone for carving cameos for centuries. Carnelian is one of the birthstones listed in the ancient Hebrew, Arabic, Italian and Roman tables, and is a Zodiac birthstone for Leo and Virgo.
Carnelian is found in Australia, India, Brazil, Madagascar, Russian, the U.S., Uruguay and South Africa.
A lot of carnelian has been found in Egyptian tombs as the Egyptians believed that it would had great power in the afterlife by ensuring the soul's passage into the next world. Europeans wore the gemstone in the belief that it would protect them from evil and help in the continuation of hope and good luck.
Carnelian is also believed to help with emotional warmth, sociability, creativity, memory, harmony and courage.