What Was Carnelian Used for in Ancient Times?

Carnelian is a beautiful reddish-orange gemstone that has been valued by humans for thousands of years. This stone has been used for various purposes throughout history, ranging from decorative items to religious objects. In this article, we will explore the uses of carnelian in ancient times.

The History of Carnelian

Carnelian is a type of chalcedony, which is a mineral in the quartz family. Its name is derived from the Latin word “cornelius,” which means “cherry.” This gemstone has been found in many parts of the world, including India, Egypt, Greece, and Rome.

Ancient Egyptian Uses

The ancient Egyptians were known to use carnelian for various purposes. They believed that this stone had protective powers and could ward off evil spirits. As a result, they would often include carnelian in their jewelry and amulets.

In addition to its protective properties, carnelian was also used by the ancient Egyptians as a symbol of power and authority. Pharaohs would often wear necklaces or bracelets made from carnelian to showcase their status.

Ancient Greek and Roman Uses

The ancient Greeks and Romans also valued carnelian for its beauty and symbolism. They believed that this stone could help with concentration and focus, making it popular among scholars and philosophers.

Carnelian was also used by these civilizations as a sign of wealth and prosperity. Wealthy individuals would often adorn themselves with carnelian jewelry or use it to decorate their homes.

Other Ancient Uses

Carnelian was not just used by the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans. In India, this stone was believed to have healing properties and was often used in Ayurvedic medicine.

In addition to its healing powers, carnelian was also used by various ancient cultures as a decorative item. It was often carved into intricate designs and used to create beads for jewelry.


Carnelian has been valued by humans for thousands of years, and its uses in ancient times were varied and diverse. From protective amulets to symbols of power and wealth, carnelian has played an important role in many civilizations throughout history. Today, carnelian continues to be a popular gemstone, valued for its beauty and symbolism.