Carnelian / Chalcedony


This week's Word of the Week is a two-fer, because you can't have one without the other. The first word is carnelian, which is a variety of chalcedony, and that's a family of minerals. Varieties of gemstone within the chalcedony family include agate, chrysoprase, onyx, bloodstone, jasper and – wait for it – carnelian! And carnelian is a mineral of the quartz family, reddish in color, with a translucent, waxy appearance. It registers 7 on the Mohs scale and is also sometimes called cornelian or carneole. Carnelian comes from the Latin word meaning “flesh.”

The item pictured here is a carnelian abstinence pendant with Manchu script. It was offered by Michaan's Auctions in Alameda, California at their June 11th estate auction, with a pre-sale estimate of $400-$600. Bidders must have liked what they saw, because the final price (with the buyer's premium) was $4,130. The top lot was a GIA-certified jade cabochon ring; it sold within range, for $8,260, against an estimate of $8,000-$12,000. Also, an Asian amber jade necklace of round beads with openwork nephrite box form links finished at $2,006.