This article is about carnelian - a classic gemstone, popular for thousands of years!
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Carnelian is actually a form of chalcedony.
As such, it's a silica mineral, and a member of the quartz family.
Like onyx or agate, it has a microcrystalline structure, meaning
it is made up of tiny quartz crystals, tightly bonded together
as opposed to smoky quartz, citrine or amethyst - which are
also quartz, but are varieties that form very large crystals.
Carnelian is translucent to opaque. Better grades are translucent.
Almost all Carnelian is heat treated to enhance or bring
out the characteristic orange / reddish brown color.
Carnelian is used to make cabochons, carvings and beads.
Be careful when shopping; A lot of the "carnelian" on the market
today is unattractive red agate that has been dyed to match the look
of this popular gemstone. Red agate stones with weak color or
unattractive banding patterns can be made into saleable goods with dye.
Carnelian is believed by many to be beneficial in the treatment
of infertility and impotency, and to enhance desire. Some also
believe carnelian can be used to cleanse and purify the blood.
Carnelian Care Tips
other stones in the agate / chalcedony group,
Carnelian is a 7 on the Mohs hardness scale, so it is fairly hard,
tough and durable. It doesn't scratch, chip or break easily.
Carnelian is an easy to care for stone. When set
in sterling silver
or gold jewelry, it can be cleaned and polished in the usual manner
using a commercial jewelry polish. Carnelian bead jewelry can be
cleaned by washing with mild dish soap. As with all jewelry, it
should be rinsed well and dried with a soft cloth after polishing.
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