As one of the most antiquated processed gemstones in human history, Carnelian has an illustrious spiritual connection to us all.
The carnelian gemstone was one of the first objets that was carved and drilled into beads about 8000 years ago. Al kinds of jewelry with this gem where worn by kings and dignitaries.
The earliest sources of carnelian are not very clear but probably the mining of carnelian from the ancient world was at the streams of Sardinia, the Wadis (dried riverbeds) of Yemen and Stela Ridge in the Nubian Desert in Egypt.
As well over 5000 years Gurajat in India has been probably the supplier of gemstones for the Egyptian, Roman and Greek empires.
In the past this orange gemstone was used to protect the dead as they journeyed into the afterlife as the thought that it helped to accept the natural circle of life and the loss of loved ones.
The name of the Carnelian has its roots in the Latin word “carneus” that means fleshy referring to the color of the stones or as well its said that it comes from a fruit called cornel which also got its name from “carnis”.
Very ancient traditions say that carnelian benefits all the matters to do with blood and that it improved the blood flow to vital organs.
Personally I’m not a real believer of the intensity of the energies that are assigned to the gemstones… Maybe that they might help to canalize certain energies or smooth them… But it fascinates me the stories and what they meant to people in the past.
Nevertheless it’s said that the Carnelian is an energizing gemstone, that it boosts the enthusiasm and brings the optimism into your life. That it encourages to stop hesitating and helps you to achieve your dreams and purposes.
Back in history we find this gemstone named in the Bible as the gemstone of Aaron’s breastplate and the twelve tribes of Israel.
In Mesopotamia the Sumerian Queen Pu Abi was buried in a luxurious robe of gold, blue Lapis Lazuli and orange carnelians. In Egypt the mummies where adorned with Carnelian representing the strength of the Sun God Horus. As well its known that the Architects that designed the marvels of the world as the Pyramids or the Sphinx wore Carnelian in jewelry to show their profession and position in society.
In some ancient kingdoms as Babylonia, Greece and Persia they used the Carnelian gemstone as a Talisman to protect them selves from natural disasters. And so they had a saying : “No one who wore carnelian was ever found beneath a broken house or a fallen wall”.
In the Ancient Rome the officials where known to wear Carnelian set in their rings so they could seal their documents as the wax could not stick to the smooth surface of the stone.
Back to one of the most amazing monuments made for love, The Taj Mahal in India. It was built by the Shah Jahan for his beloved wife Mumtaz. In there we can see that it’s decorated with thousands of carnelians that where imported from Saudi Arabia.
In the Middle Ages, carnelian was used by alchemists when boiling stone to release the energy of other gemstones.
Looking as well into the life of Napoleon Bonaparte we know that he found in one of his campaigns to Egypt a Carnelian amulet that he attached to his watch chain and wore that for the rest of his life because he believed it gave him good luck. What I find interesting is that its said that after he passed it to his nephew Napoleon III with the following message: “As regards my son, I desire that he will keep, as a talisman, the Seal which I used to wear attached to my watch”. He was not really superstitious and just wore the jewelry piece sporadicly. At some point he went to Africa and there he was killed by the Zulus. They say that the amulet was not found with the body…
And as I don’t want to finish with the curiosity that the Carnelian is the traditional gemstone gift for the 17th wedding anniversary I leave you here with a poem of the German poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe:
Carnelian is a talisman.
It brings good luck to child and man;
It drives away all evil things,
To thee and thine protection brings.
From such a gem a woman gains
Sweet hope and comfort in her pains
Photography by AJG Filmproductions