Can Carnelian go in the Water? (And in the Sun?)


Carnelian is a brownish-red mineral made up of chalcedony, a form of silica. It has been used as beads from as early as the Neolithic period, and it continues to be used as a semi-precious gemstone. Carnelian is quite similar to another mineral known as sard.

Have you ever wondered if Carnelian can go in the water? In this article, we are going to discuss just that. We will look at its composition and properties. Then we will talk about its interaction with different water solutions and sunlight. Finally, we will discuss how to clean the stone.

Can a Carnelian Crystal go in the water?

Yes, carnelian can go in the water. It has a value of 6.5-7 on the Mohs Scale, which is above the required limit for minerals to survive underwater, so it will be safe. However, it should not be immersed in water for too long as that can tarnish the surface, damage the structure, or react adversely with the stone. 

Mohs Hardness Scale is a measure of the relative resistance of a mineral to scratching. Besides resistance, it also indicates the mineral’s relationship to water. Generally, if the value is above 5.0, it means that the mineral is safe underwater.

However, even though carnelian’s value on the Mohs scale is well above the threshold, it should not be immersed in water for a long time. This is because, over extended periods, water enters the tiny crevices of the stone and widens them. This encourages the formation of fissures, which may not be visible initially, but will slowly damage the structure of the stone.

Another reason why you should not immerse a carnelian for too long is that water can dull the color or tarnish the surface of the stone. It can also strip off its polish. In some cases, this can lead to irreparable damage to the look of the stone, forcing you to get a professional to grind off the exterior surface.

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What is Carnelian and Where is it Found?

Carnelian is a variety of the silica mineral chalcedony. While its color can vary from pale orange to almost black, the most popular variants are brownish-red, and this color is due to the presence of iron oxides. Carnelian is mostly found in Peru, Sri Lanka, and Thailand.

The term “Carnelian” comes from the corruption of the medieval word “cornelian”, which links back to cornel cherry—the color of the stone resembles the lovely red fruits. The term is also similar to the Latin word caro or carnis meaning flesh, a possible reference to blood.

Most of the commercial mining of Carnelian takes place in India. It is also found in Peru, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Russia, and Germany. Carnelian is used as semi-precious jewelry and for spiritual beliefs. 

Is Carnelian Different From Sard?

The two terms—carnelian and sard—are often used interchangeably as the difference between them is not very rigid. Both carnelian and sard are varieties of chalcedony, a form of silica, and the presence of iron oxide gives them both a reddish-brown color. However, the two terms are sometimes used to refer to two subvarieties.

When used in this sense, carnelian and sard differ in the following ways:

  • Color: Carnelian has lighter colors, ranging from orange to reddish brown. Sard, on the other hand, exhibits darker shades, from deep brown to almost black.
  • Hardness: Carnelian is slightly softer, while sard is harder.
  • Structure: Carnelian has an uneven and conchoidal fracture. Sard has a slightly duller and more jagged structure. 

Still, we must note that the distinction between carnelian and sard is rather blurry. 


Can Carnelian go in Rainwater?

Rainwater contains minerals and pollutants, so it is not a good idea to expose your stones to it. Carnelian has a value of 6.5-7 on the Mohs Scale, meaning that it is safe underwater. However, it should not be immersed for too long. Rainwater is even worse than tap water.

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In polluted areas, rainwater contains a lot of dust particles. This can damage the stone by fading its colour or damaging its structure. So, even though, carnelian is a strong mineral that is water safe, it is not a great idea to clean it using rainwater.

Keep reading to find out the right way to clean carnelian.

Can carnelian go in Moon water?

Yes, carnelian can go in moon water. Cleaning stones with moon water (water that has been exposed to the light of the full moon to soak up its energies) is a popular method of recharging the stone. Since carnelian is a strong and water-safe mineral, it will be perfectly safe in moon water when left for a short time.

Carnelian has a value of 6.5-7 on the Mohs Hardness Scale, which is above the value required for minerals to survive underwater. So, it is safe in the water as long as it is not left for too long. 

Many people believe that cleaning your stone in moon water is an effective way of charging it with the delicate energies of the moon. 

Can Carnelian go in the Sun?

Yes, carnelian can go in the sun. It has a hardness of 6.5-7 on the Mohs Scale, meaning that is quite a hard stone. However, it should be kept in mind that carnelian, when exposed to sunlight for a considerable time, will change its color. This is because of the presence of iron within the stone.

Stones like opal, when left in sunlight for too long, will lose their colors. Some stones can even crack. That is why, even though recharging stones in sunlight is a popular method, one should never do it for extended periods. 

In the case of carnelian, the presence of iron changes things. This iron is responsible for the distinctive reddish-brown color of the stone. When carnelian is exposed to sunlight, this iron oxidizes, and it leads to the darkening of the stone’s color. 

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This is a common method known as heat treatment, which exposes the gemstone to high temperature for altering its color and enhancing its clarity. Any piece of carnelian you purchase has most likely been treated in this way. 

How to Clean Carnelian Crystals Safely?

Carnelian has a value of 6.5-7 on the Mohs Hardness Scale. Since this is above the minimum value (5.0) required for minerals to survive underwater, carnelian is perfectly safe in the water. However, it should still not be immersed for too long. Keeping these points in mind, here is how you can clean carnelian safely:

  • Take a mild dish detergent and mix it with water.
  • Immerse the carnelian stone in the solution for a few minutes. Use a soft scrub to clean inside the crevices.
  • Take the stone out of the solution and rinse it under running water, ensuring that any excess soap is removed.
  • Let the stone air dry. Make sure you turn the stone a few times before drying to remove any water from the crevices. 

This should perfectly clean your carnelian. We do not recommend leaving your stone in water for long baths. When immersed for too long, the water can enter the crevices of the stone and encourage the formation of fissures. It can also dull the color of the stone. 


In this article, we have discussed whether carnelian can go in the water or not. With a value of 6.5-7 on the Mohs Scale, carnelian is a strong mineral and it is safe underwater. However, like all stones, they should not be immersed for too long. We saw how, due to the presence of iron, the stone darkens in sunlight. Finally, we discussed how to clean carnelian stones safely.

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