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Used in jewelry-making since Antiquity, carnelian is a reddish-orange variety of chalcedony. Collections such as Bouton d’or® and Alhambra® feature carnelian in delicate harmonies of color, set off by pink or yellow gold. The stone also adorns the Maison’s High Jewelry creations, imbuing them with a radiant vibrancy.
Prized for millennia in Crete, Central Asia and the Far East, carnelian has inspired myriad beliefs and legends. Ancient Egyptians saw the stone as a symbol of life, endowed with the power to facilitate the soul’s journey to the next world.
With its warm nuances, carnelian also denotes joy and happiness. Van Cleef & Arpels mainly uses Brazilian carnelian in its creations, a variety of stones remarkable for their translucency and their deep, uniform color, as well as their gleam. Lapidaries often strive to harmonize the colors of carnelian gems; each expert has his or her own techniques to achieve the perfect hue.
To protect the stones from damage or scratching, the Maison recommends storing carnelian pieces in a fabric-lined box separate from other jewelry.