Carnelian is a glassy, translucent gemstone that is typically light brownish-red to deep transparent stone. Carnelian belongs to the quartz family of gems and has been called Red agate or Red chalcedony in modern times. Most cabochon Carnelian are opaque with a domed top and flat bottom. Carnelian is a brownish red to orange variety of chalcedony quartz, coloured by trace amounts of iron. Darker colours (red-brown to brown) are often referred to by the name sard. Since it comes from the Quartz family, it is a hard and durable stone suitable for daily use as jewellery.

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