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Carnelian Question

Hi folks! I just joined Orchid a few days ago…and already I’m
learning a great deal from you!

I have a lapidary problem that I’m hoping you can help me solve.
Recently I purchased a 10 lb lot of Carnelian agate, with the
idea of using it to make hearts and cabs for my ring and pendant
work. This stone was advertised as "fiery red carnelian agate."
Now my question is

  • the agate which arrived this afternoon contains a few pale
    pinks and yellows, lots of amber shades, and some browns. I’ve
    always thought of Carnelian as primarily a red to reddish brown
    stone. Was I wrong? Is this stuff I’ve received Carnelian?

Opinions (even lengthy ones) will be greatly appreciated!

Thanks for your help! I look forward to being able to return the
favor, as we all share our knowledge of different aspects of the

-Pete Steiner- @Peter_B_Steiner

Hi Pete,

I won’t bother with a technical discussion.

Who cares whether it’s Carnelian or not? As you describe it,
(whatever it is), it is NOT “fiery red”.

You did not get what you paid for. Send it back for a refund.


You will need to treat them.The best referance on treating
Agates is"Gemstones and Chemicals"(How to create color and
inclusions) by George W.Fisher,PHD.The only publisher listed is
Lapidary Journal and that is dated.No luck from them,get back to
me.I think I can source it.

                                      Mark Liccini

LICCINI 107C.Columbus Dr.#1A Jersey City,N.J.07302

Hi Peter,

I fully agree with Tom. You have bought something that is NOT
what was advertised. Send it back and get your money back, if
you can !!!

Although what you purchased may be classified as carnelian (some
might just call it chalcedony), your description certainly
eliminates it from the category of ‘FIREY RED CARNELIAN AGATE’.
If the retailers/wholesalers you purchased the lot from said
’CARNELIAN AGATE’ this would be more like the truth.



The definition of a gemstone changes based on whether you are
the buyer or the seller. The closest reference to hand says
"yellow - orange to orange - red", and that makes sense to me.
If the price was good enough you might (probably will) improve
the color by heat treating it in your kitchen oven. But you might
be able to do better by returning it and buying something you
don’t have to mess with. I always try to do well on price and I
don’t see a reason to buy at “boutique” prices, but I do think
there are many sources where, “if it seems too good to be true
— it is”. You have to do a lot of research to find the
suppliers who have the best prices on DECENT goods.

Wish I could help on a carnelian supplier, but I don’t know of
any — haven’t bought any in a while. Good Luck!

Cornalian is a variety of agate. The colour goes from
translucent flesh-red to red to reddish orange. Sard is the name
used for the translucent yellowish to brownish red.

refractive index : 1.53 to 1.54
birefringence : 0.009
specific gravity :2.58 to 2.64

Best regards,


Thank you all for your replies…they have been most helpful!

P.S. Francoise, are Sard and Carnelian of equal