AskDefine | Define carnelian

Dictionary Definition

carnelian n : a translucent red or orange variety of chalcedony [syn: cornelian]

User Contributed Dictionary



The red form was called carneolus in the Middle Ages, from Latin carneus "fleshy" after the color.


  1. A hard, reddish brown chalcedony; used in jewelery,
    1952 ''You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering, carnelian, topaz, and jasper, chrysolite, beryl, and onyx, sapphire, carbuncle, and emerald; and wrought in gold were your settings and your engravings. On the day that you were created they were prepared.'' — Ezekiel 28:13 RSV.



Extensive Definition

Carnelian, sometimes spelled cornelian, is a red or reddish-brown variant of chalcedony. Similar to carnelian is sard, which is generally harder and darker.

Distinction between carnelian and sard

The words carnelian and sard are often used interchangeably, but they can also be used to describe distinct subvarieties. The purported differences are as follows:
 CarnelianSard ColourLighter, with shades ranging from orange to reddish-brown.Darker, with shades ranging from a deep reddish-brown to almost black. HardnessSofterHarder and tougher. FractureUneven, splintery and conchoidalLike carnelian, but duller and more hackley.
It should be noted that all of these properties vary across a continuum, and so the boundary between carnelian and sard is inevitably blurred.


Carnelian was used widely during Roman times 2,000 years before the present era to make signet or seal rings for imprinting a seal with wax on correspondence or other important documents. Hot wax does not stick to Carnelian.
The word carnelian is derived from the Latin word meaning horn, in reference to the flesh color sometimes exhibited.


Carnelian is the zodiac birthstone of Virgo according to some texts. It is also one of the gemstones (along with peridot, diamond and sapphire) that has been associated with the month August.


External links

carnelian in German: Karneol
carnelian in French: cornaline
carnelian in Hebrew: קרנליאן
carnelian in Latvian: Karneols
carnelian in Japanese: カーネリアン
carnelian in Polish: Karneol
carnelian in Portuguese: Cornalina
carnelian in Slovak: Karneol
carnelian in Finnish: Karneoli
carnelian in Hindi: इंद्रगोप
carnelian in Turkish: akik
Privacy Policy, About Us, Terms and Conditions, Contact Us
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2
Material from Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Dict
Valid HTML 4.01 Strict, Valid CSS Level 2.1