What Color Is Carnelian?

Carnelian is a stunning gemstone that has been revered for its beauty and mystical properties for centuries. With its amazing color, it’s no wonder that it has been associated with passion, energy, and courage.

What Color Is Carnelian?

This captivating stone has a long and rich history. In ancient times, it was believed to have healing powers and was worn by warriors to give them strength and protection during battles.

It was also a popular stone among Egyptian royalty, who often used it in jewelry and amulets.Carnelian is a variety of chalcedony, a mineral that is formed from quartz.

The color of carnelian can range from a pale orange to a deep reddish-brown, with the most desirable specimens being a bright and vivid shade of orange. The stone is often used in jewelry making, and can be found in a variety of shapes and sizes.

In addition to its beauty, carnelian is said to have many metaphysical properties. It is believed to enhance creativity, boost confidence, and promote courage and motivation. It is also thought to have a grounding effect, helping to balance emotions and provide a sense of stability.

Whether you are drawn to carnelian for its stunning color or its supposed metaphysical properties, there is no denying that this gemstone is a true treasure. In this article, we will explore the color of carnelian in more detail, including its variations and how it is used in jewelry.

What Is Carnelian?

Carnelian, which is sometimes spelled cornelian, is a semi-precious gemstone, and is also a variety of the silica mineral chalcedony, with its color stemming from impurities caused by iron oxide.

Carnelian is often confused with sard, although sard tends to be darker in color, and much harder too. However, because the difference between the two isn’t definitive, the names are used somewhat interchangeably.

It is a relatively hard stone, with a Mohs hardness rating of 6.5 to 7. This means that it is durable enough to be used in jewelry, but care should still be taken to avoid scratches and damage.

Carnelian can be found in a wide variety of places across the world, with notable locations including Thailand, Peru, and Sri Lanka, although it’s also been found in India, Russia, Brazil, Indonesia, and Germany too. 

Now, let’s take a closer look at what color carnelian is! 

What Color Is Carnelian?

Carnelian is a reddish-orange gemstone that ranges in color from pale orange to a deep reddish-brown, although the most desirable specimens are a bright and vivid shade of orange. The amazing color of carnelian is all thanks to the presence of iron oxide within the stone. 

When it comes to the intensity of the color of the stone, it all varies depending on the concentration of iron oxide and other impurities within the stone, with a greater amount of iron oxide helping to make the vibrancy even greater. 

Carnelian is a translucent stone, meaning that light can pass through it, giving it a glowing appearance. When held up to the light, the color of the carnelian stone can appear slightly different, depending on the angle and intensity of the light source.

With such a vibrant color, it should come as no surprise that carnelian is a popular gemstone, and is used in a wide variety of different jewelry as a result. 

Can Carnelian Be Any Other Color?

Can Carnelian Be Any Other Color?

While the most common color of carnelian is a reddish-orange, it can also occur in other colors, although these are much rarer. For example, carnelian can sometimes be found in shades of pink, brown, and even black. 

These variations in color are due to differences in the concentration of impurities within the stone, such as manganese and iron. However, the orange variety is by far the most common and popular, and is what is usually referred to as “carnelian”. 

It is also worth noting that some stones that are marketed as carnelian may actually be heat-treated to enhance or change their color, so it’s important to purchase from a reputable source if you are looking for a natural carnelian stone.

How Can You Tell If Carnelian Is Real? 

If you’re concerned that your carnelian is fake, or if you’re considering purchasing carnelian, and are wondering how you can tell whether or not it is real, then there are a number of things that you can look out for to help determine its legitimacy: 


As mentioned earlier, natural carnelian is typically reddish-orange in color, although it can also be found in other shades. Be wary of stones that are an unusual color or that have a uniform color throughout, as this may indicate that they are synthetic or treatedTransparency: Carnelian is a translucent gemstone, which means that light can pass through it. Hold the stone up to a light source to check if it has some degree of transparency.

Surface Texture

Carnelian is typically smooth and polished, with a waxy or glass-like surface. Look for scratches or chips on the surface, as this may indicate that the stone is not genuine.


Like many gemstones, carnelian may contain inclusions, such as tiny bubbles or mineral deposits. While inclusions are not necessarily a sign that a stone is fake, they can help to confirm its authenticity.

Weight and Hardness

Carnelian has a relatively high density and a Mohs hardness rating of 6.5 to 7, meaning that it is harder than most materials but softer than diamond. You can check the weight and hardness of the stone by comparing it to other known carnelian stones or using specialized equipment.

Final Thoughts

Carnelian is no doubt one of the most beautiful gemstones out there, especially when it has that particularly vibrant and strong orange color that so many people desire. If you’re planning on buying carnelian, just remember to ensure that it’s legitimate first! 

Andrea Daehma