Carnelian is a form of chalcedony quartz and is found throughout the world. One of the earliest Uses - of carnelian was in jewelry found in the tomb of Queen Pu-Abi of Sumer which dated to approximately 3000 B.C.E. It is common in Egyptian tombs and was apparently as popular as lapis lazuli and turquoise for jewelry. Egyptian myth links carnelian with the Goddess Isis who is purported to have used it to protect the dead (more specifically, their souls) as they made the transition to the afterlife.
Buddhists in China believed in carnelian’s protective powers and fashioned it into amulets. Tibetans used it for amulets as did Muslims who called it the “Mecca stone” because it was believed that Muhammad wore carnelian in a ring. This gemstone is also named in The Bible as one of the stones in the breastplate of Aaron.
Ancient Greeks and Romans called carnelian sardius. It has also been known as sadoine and pigeon’s blood agate. The word carnelian comes from the Latin carneus which means fleshy and probably was so named because of the stone’s color. Carnelian was popular in Europe during the Renaissance and the nineteenth century.
Belief in carnelian’s power of protection remains, as well as its power to calm fears of death. It also protects against anger and soothes grief and sorrow. Carnelian is useful for maintaining calm during times of transition and is helpful in drawing out a person’s talents. This gemstone aids in reaching goals through focus. Carnelian promotes harmony, creativity and self worth.