One of the stones that you’ll often come across in jewelry is a carnelian, but if asked you probably wouldn’t be able to put a name to it. It is a reddish brown stone, a member of the chalcedony quartz family and is often used in earthy jewelry and sometimes in tribal or statement pieces. As a member of the agate family, carnelian has a Mohs value of 6.5 which makes it a stone that is not extremely hard. It ranges in color from a fleshy peach/orange to an orange that is almost black. As a semi precious stone, carnelian is one of the zodiac birthstones for the signs of Leo and Virgo. The earliest known uses for carnelian are specimens found that date back 5,000 years and rings and insignia during the Roman Empire were often fashioned with carnelian.

Beaded Carnelian Necklace with Sterling Silver Clasp
Often you will find beaded carnelian necklaces that are approximately 15 to 19 inches in length. Because it is a semi precious stone it is often used with sterling silver, however, occasionally you may find some carnelians set in 14k gold. A necklace made with 6 mm beads that has a spring ring clasp would usually retail for approximately $25, yet some carnelian beaded necklaces are often combined with other beads such as those made from turquoise and jade, which would carry through the warm earthy colors.

Carnelian Artisan Jewelry
A great number of artisans and designers like to work with carnelian because it lends itself well to ‘artsy’ pieces. Some handmade artisan chains use a combination of agate, amber and carnelian, set in sterling silver with oversized links. You will often see this type of chain in Native American jewelry and tribal pieces. It is generally big and bold with etched designs in the silver frames in which the gems are set. In fact, as the urban warrior look comes into its own this year, you will be seeing much more bold carnelian jewelry.

Exotic Tribal Carnelian Jewelry
In addition to the earthy carnelian jewelry that is currently trending, such as the Native American pieces, you will be seeing a lot of tribal pieces fashioned from sterling silver and carnelian. Some are antique pieces that have come full circuit to the new millennium and are a welcome addition to the urban outfit. Natural carnelian pendants are often reminiscent of tribal war shields, many of them round with a large carnelian stone in the center and other smaller gems such as turquoise and agate circling it. There are quite a few Turkoman (Western Turks) pieces that are really quite amazing in their craftsmanship.

Carnelian and Glass Beads
Nothing lends itself better to crystal or glass beads than carnelian gemstones. Many necklaces and bracelets are fashioned with Swarovski crystals or glass beads. Quite often you will see these pieces fashioned with an antiqued finish on the sterling silver, and beaded necklaces often have dangling beadwork as well as sterling chains and charms. Chloe makes a stunning Carnelian and Long Fall Leaves Lariat necklace that is choker length with long carnelian and silver leaves dangling from the front, just at the collar bone.

Although the burnt orange of carnelian is the perfect color for late summer and autumn, this gemstone can be set with an amazing amount of other precious and semi precious stones for a look that can be worn year round. Carnelians themselves are not expensive stones, but the price of the jewelry will depend on the other stones fashioned into the piece, the quality of metal being used, and of course the designer and artistry involved. Because carnelian is often set in earthy or tribal jewelry, it is currently trending so you will want to have more than one piece of carnelian jewelry to complete your urban wardrobe.

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