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Lentoid seal
MFA# 1971.173


Carnelian amulets
MFA# 35.1500

A pale orange-red to deep red translucent stone that is a variety of Chalcedony. Carnelian was mined or gathered as an ornamental stone since at least 3000 BCE. It is found in Egypt, India and areas of Europe as water-worn pebbles. Carnelian was popular for amulets and scarabs and is still used as gemstones.

Carnelian cabochon

Synonyms and Related Terms

sard; cornelian; chalcedony; Karneol (Deut., Pol.); cornaline (Fr.); cornalina (Esp., Port.)

Physical and Chemical Properties

  • No visible crystals
  • Fracture = conchoidal, uneven, splintery
  • Cleavage = absent
  • Luster = waxy to vitreous
  • Streak = white
  • Fluorescence = generally inert
  • Pleochroism = absent
Composition SiO2
Mohs Hardness 6.5-7.0
Density 2.58-2.68 g/ml
Refractive index 1.535 - 1.539
Birefringence 0.003 - 0.009


Properties of Common Gemstones

Resources and Citations

  • Mineralogy Database: Quartz
  • Encyclopedia Britannica, Comment: "carnelian." Accessed 14 Sept. 2001 .
  • Gem Identification Lab Manual, Gemological Institute of America, 2016.
  • C.W.Chesterman, K.E.Lowe, Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Rocks and Minerals, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1979
  • Wikipedia: Carnelian (Accessed Sept. 14, 2005 and Dec 2022)