Carnelian was one of the first stones used in jewelry, probably because of its abundance. Yet it is rare to find carnelian with a rich, natural coloring. Each gem-cutter has his own method of obtaining a perfect hue, one which usually remains shrouded in secrecy.
Carnelians can usually be found in Uruguay or India, but Van Cleef & Arpels chooses cut carnelians from Idar-Oberstein, Germany or rough carnelians from Brazil, because of their incomparable color. The Maison always selects stones with a high polish, which is hard to obtain due to the gem’s micro-crystalline structure. Van Cleef & Arpels also ensures that colors are neither too brown nor too deep a red, in order to obtain its unique shade.
As a very peculiar stone, there are many legends about its supposed magical powers. Believed by the ancient Egyptians, as well as other ancient civilizations, to assist the soul in its passage into the afterlife, carnelian is said to protect against misfortune and fear. For instance, the burial robe of Pu-Abi, a Sumerian queen of the third millennium BC, was adorned with carnelian decorations. It is the gemstone for the 17thwedding anniversary.
Maintaining your carnelian:
To preserve the stone from damage or scratching, Van Cleef & Arpels recommends storing carnelian jewelry in a fabric-lined box away from other jewelry pieces.