July Birthstone–Carnelian

Carnelian July Birthstone
The traditional birthstone for July is ruby and yes, you can get lower grade ruby at a more affordable price, but its still a precious gem. The modern alternative is carnelian (often spelt cornelian), a gem that is often over looked in shop bought jewellery, which is a shame as its has a lovely translucent quality. It is a form of chalcedony that varies from crystal to yellow through to fiery oranges and reddish brown, the colour coming from the presence of iron oxides.

Carnelian Circle Earrings by EmmaRuthJones

Carnelian is an ancient stone. An amazing haul of gold jewellery with carnelian and lapis lazuli beads dated from 2500 BC was found at the ancient Mesopotamian city of Ur (modern day Iraq), at the tomb of Queen Pu-abi. She was found covered in an elaborate beaded cape and wore an even more elaborate headdress, that quite frankly looks like something out of Star Wars. She was buried with 52 attendants and a oxen and cart. It is thought that some of the attendants may have been poisoned and may not even have been dead when buried, but merely unconscious. Others were subjected to serious head trauma. Blimey. 

Pu'abis Headress
Other facts about carnelian include-
*Hot wax doesn’t stick to carnelian, so it has often been used in signet rings http://www.trauma-pages.com/ford98.htm and seals especially by the Minoans and Romans.
*It was believed that carnelian brought luck by the ancient Babylonians and Greeks
*The Ancient Egyptians belived it aided the journey into the afterlife
*And Napoleon wore carnelian as a symbol of victory and courage. 
Do you use carnelian in your jewellery or have a favourite piece that uses it? Let me know!

2 thoughts on “July Birthstone–Carnelian

  • 22nd July 2014 at 11:01 am

    Gosh, what an interesting post! I love history and jewellery so this was perfect reading for me. I hadn't heard of Queen Pu-abi before, that woman could accessorize! What an amazing headdress and cape. Some ancient Chinese Emperors also had concubines etc buried with them, alive! Makes me feel very queasy. The other facts you gave were also fascinating. I will definitely be following your lovely blog from now on.

  • 22nd July 2014 at 6:21 pm

    Thanks Hannah! I hadn't heard of Queen Puabi until I began researching. It fascinates me how closely linked gemstones and culture are. Glad you enjoyed 🙂 Emma


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