ZIIO-Logo

Ziio’s Stone of the Month: Carnelian

Earrings GOIABA BOTTONE Long ORANGE

How do you feel about our innovative fusion of news and gemstones on the ‘Ziio Stone of the Month’ page?

 

Carnelian has all the qualities of a great gem!

This month we are offering carnelian jewelry. I had a lot of fun doing this research and I sincerely hope that you will be as captivated and delighted as I was while discovering these carnelian jewels and artifacts.

It is very interesting to search for and find these priceless treasures in museums around the world. I realized how this gem has been appreciated everywhere, by princes and queens from very diverse cultures. Carnelian, with its attractive color, is so beloved that it is attributed with qualities of protection, strength, and vigor. I have also rediscovered its charm, and I am pleased to share its great aesthetic qualities with you.

Happy exploring and shopping!

Best regards,
Elisabeth

    

As a token of our appreciation,

we are offering a special 12% discount on all purchases of cornelian jewelry throughout the month. 

Carnelian: A Gemstone of  Creativity

Cornelian, also known as carnelian, is a semi-precious gemstone renowned for its warm, reddish-orange hue. It belongs to the chalcedony family, a variety of quartz, and has been valued since antiquity for its beauty and metaphysical properties. The stone’s rich color, ranging from pale orange to deep reddish-brown, is due to the presence of iron oxide.

Today, Carnelian is still cherished in jewelry and for its supposed ability to boost confidence, creativity, and vitality.

Mesopotamia Queen Puabi’s Treasure

Queen Puabi was a prominent figure in ancient Mesopotamia, specifically in the city of Ur, around 2450 BCE. Her tomb, discovered by British archaeologist Sir Leonard Woolley in the Royal Cemetery at Ur, is one of the most spectacular archaeological finds of the 20th century.ors.

Tomb and Adornments

Queen Puabi’s burial chamber was lavishly adorned with numerous offerings and personal adornments. She was buried with an array of gold, silver, and semi-precious stones, including carnelian and lapis lazuli. Her headdress, one of the most notable pieces, included gold wreaths and a gold support comb, decorated with beads and ribbons made from these precious materials.

The richness of her tomb is not only evident in the sheer quantity of valuable items but also in the craftsmanship of these artifacts. For instance, her headdress alone weighed about 2.5 kilograms and was adorned with natural motifs like willow and poplar leaves made from gold sheets.

Source Penn Museum

Middle Kingdom –  Dynasty 12, late–early 13- Date: ca. 1850–1775 B.C. Egypt, Memphite Region,  burial of Senebtisi,  MMA excavations, 1906–07

 Broad collars indicated the social status of the wearer. High-ranking officials, royalty, and wealthy individuals wore collars made of more luxurious materials, while those of lower status wore simpler versions made from less expensive materials. 

Broad collar of Senebtisi

Senebtisi was a noblewoman from ancient Egypt, likely during the Middle Kingdom period, around the 12th Dynasty (circa 1985–1795 BCE). She is particularly known from her tomb at Lisht, which was discovered in 1907 by an expedition led by the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Medium: Faience, gold, carnelian, turquoise.

The broad collars of ancient Egypt, also known as “wesekh collars,” were highly significant both culturally and symbolically.  Wesekh collars were often associated with protection and power, believed to be imbued with the ability to protect the wearer from harm.  The collars were also linked to various gods and were sometimes depicted being worn by deities in ancient Egyptian art.

The design of wesekh collars was intricate and varied, often made from precious materials such as gold, silver, faience (a type of glazed ceramic), and semi-precious stones. These materials were chosen not only for their beauty but also for their symbolic meanings. For example, the color blue, often used in these collars, represented the heavens and the divine.

Source The Met 

Early 5th century BCE Ring with scarab from a tomb group allegedly from Vulci, one of the richest and most impressive sets of Etruscan jewelry ever found.

Etruscan Gold and carnelian ring from Vulci

Vulci was a prominent Etruscan city in present-day Viterbo, Italy, flourishing from the 8th century BCE to the 3rd century BCE.  Known for its rich archaeological sites  which have yielded significant artifacts including pottery, jewelry, and frescoes.

Trade and Economy: Vulci was a hub for trade with other Etruscan cities, Greeks, Phoenicians, and Romans, contributing to its prosperity and cultural exchange​.

Etruscans Society and Culture :The Etruscans had a sophisticated society with a strong emphasis on religion, art, and social structure, dominated by a powerful aristocracy.

 They used a script derived from the Greek alphabet. Despite limited understanding, inscriptions provide valuable insights.

Their polytheistic religion involved elaborate funerary rituals and beliefs in an afterlife, leading to the creation of elaborate tombs filled with grave goods.

​Influence on Rome: The Etruscans significantly influenced Roman architecture, religion, and governance. Early Roman kings and several cultural practices were of Etruscan origin​.

Roman Ring with Carnelian Intarsio

Carnelian stones, which were immensely popular throughout Greco-Roman antiquity, originated from deposits in the Arabian Peninsula and India.

Like the Egyptians and the Greeks, the Romans believed that the carnelian stone was endowed with magical powers capable of warding off the evil eye.

 The ring’s engraved gem portrays a male figure who wears a round hat and holds a walking staff. These attributes are often associated with the god, Hermes, known to the Romans as Mercury.

Source Johns Hopkins Museum

 

Queen Elizabeth I Carcanet  

I find a notable example ! This is a portrait from 1592 where Queen Elizabeth I is depicted wearing a carcanet (a type of necklace) that includes clusters of pearls separating square jewels of carnelian and a dark stone, possibly jet. This detailed portrayal highlights the use of carnelian in Elizabethan jewelry, showcasing its prominence during her reign.

 

Cinese Mythical Beast 

Carnelian agate of this brilliant gem-like quality, naturally endowed with the richest coral-red colour, would have been a highly prized resource in the 18th century, reserved for Imperial works of art of the highest quality. This mythical beast is outstanding for the high quality of its carving, skilfully modelled in the round to capture its powerful movement, muscular body, lean yet powerful torso and legs, and poised ferocious expression. It could have been created as a paperweight, or simply as a ‘plaything’, a prestigious object of pleasure for a high ranking patron.

Carnelian 9 cm x 3 cm - QING DYNASTY, 18TH CENTURY

The Qing Dynasty (1644–1912)

is also known as the Manchu Dynasty, was the last imperial dynasty of China. The dynasty was founded by the Manchu people from Northeast China. The conquest of China was completed in 1644 when the Manchus seized Beijing. The Qing Dynasty expanded China’s territory to include Tibet, Xinjiang, Mongolia, and Taiwan, reaching its largest territorial extent in Chinese history​.

 

 

Turkmen Jewelry

The Turkmen, as more than two dozen tribal groups of Turkic ethnic and linguistic heritage are collectively known, were pastoral nomads who lived in encampments, raised livestock, bred horses, and occasionally plundered settled areas for booty and slaves. In order to ensure year-round green pastures for their animals, the tribes moved two or three times a year.

Turkmen women wear a variety of different headdresses called sinsile. This piece, an example of the type worn by young girls every day until they are married, is remarkable for its opulence. It is a crown richly embellished with 377 turquoise beads and 33 table-cut carnelians. Thirteen pendants in teardrop form suspended from chains hang from the bottom section of the crown. The upper section is decorated with three half moons, a symbol of the rise and decline of human life.

The Met Museum 

Crown - Late 19th–early 20th century - Central Asia or Iran - Silver, table-cut carnelians, turquoise beads - H. 22.9 cm

In France during the Revolution, women played crucial roles, from participating in the March on Versailles to forming political clubs.

Carnelian jewelry became a part of their revolutionary attire. Figures like Charlotte Corday, who assassinated Jean-Paul Marat, are often remembered for their bravery, and such women inspired others to don symbolic jewelry.

Women in  Russian were active in the Bolshevik movement and the broader social upheavals. They were part of revolutionary committees and took part in significant events like the October Revolution.  Leaders like Alexandra Kollontai, an advocate for women’s rights , exemplified the spirit of the era, and carnelian jewelry became a symbol of the new order.

Conclusion

Carnelian jewelry during these revolutionary periods  was a powerful symbol of the wearer’s beliefs and commitments. The choice of carnelian, with its bold color and historical associations with courage, made it an ideal emblem for women who were at the forefront of societal change.

Revolutionary Symbolism

  Foto from 1stdibds

During the French and Russian revolutions, women wore carnelian jewelry to symbolize bravery and rebellion.

Carnelian, a red-orange gemstone, was considered a symbol of courage and vitality. Women wore it to demonstrate their bravery in the face of political upheaval. The vibrant color of carnelian resonated with the revolutionary spirit, representing the blood and sacrifice involved in the fight for liberty and equality.

Pendentif - 1 Cornelian - Gold 890 - 1900
Magnificent antique lucky charm (circa 1880-1900) in 14-carat yellow gold.
French antique cameo hallmarked Paris 1798. Carnelian stone representing a classical Greek goddess. 18kt gold with natural pearl mount. Dim: 51 x 32 mm