Agate vs. Carnelian – What Is The REAL Difference Between Them?

Last Updated on February 27, 2022

Although agate and carnelian share some similarities, they also have distinct differences in physical attributes and metaphysical benefits.

Agate and carnelian belong to the chalcedony family, but they have different banding patterns. Agate usually has defined banding, while the carnelian does not have such a pattern.

The metaphysical benefits of agate and carnelian also differ. Agate is associated with courage and strength, while carnelian is known for its vitality and energy.

Which stone is suitable for you depends on your individual needs and what you want to achieve. For a better understanding between these two stones, keep on reading as we will answer the following questions:

  • Are carnelian and red agate the same thing?
  • What is carnelian agate?
  • Is carnelian agate expensive?
  • Is carnelian an agate or chalcedony?


Agate vs. Carnelian

Agate and carnelian are both types of quartz found in the mineral group called chalcedony. Both varieties form colorful, translucent stones that have been used since ancient times to make jewelry, bowls and other ornaments.

The differences between agate and carnelian lie in their physical properties and metaphysical benefits.

Physical Properties

The agate and carnelian share the same color palette, primarily red, orange and yellow. However, agate can be found in varying darker shades of red, while carnelian is usually less saturated from reddish-brown to orange.

Agate and carnelian stones are typically smooth, but some are rough or chalky. They both have a waxy luster, with some carnelian stones that have resinous luster.

Their hardness also varies slightly, where agate is rated a 6.5 to 7 on the Mohs scale and carnelian is usually a 7.

The most distinguishing physical difference between agate and carnelian is their fracture. Agates have a conchoidal fracture, which means they break along smooth curved surfaces, while carnelians have a sub-conchoidal fracture, which means an uneven and wavy surface.

The banding and lines in agates is also a key identifier, as the carnelian typically does not have any bands. Agates have a significant variation in banding and streaks, while carnelian has a more consistent color.

Metaphysical Benefits

The chakra associated with agate is the root chakra, representing the foundation and feeling of being grounded. The root chakra is linked to the sense of safety and security, both physically and emotionally.

Agate is also known to help with courage and strength. It provides the strength to overcome challenges in life and shields against negative energies.

On the other hand, the carnelian is associated with the sacral chakra, located in the lower abdomen and related to the ability to feel pleasure. Carnelian also helps in vitality and energy to increase passion and drive.

Are Carnelian and Red Agate the Same Thing?

It is not uncommon for red agate, a type of chalcedony, to be confused with carnelian. Carnelian is also a chalcedony variety often found in the same locations as red agate.

Both rocks are orange or red in color, but the significant difference between the two is the streaks are only present in red agates. Carnelian has a uniform color with no streaks.

Agates are found all over the world, but carnelian is mainly sourced from India and Brazil.

What is Carnelian Agate?

Carnelian agate is another type of chalcedony that is usually orange, red, or brown. The distinct banding patterns are what make this type of agate unique. These bands can be straight or curved, and they often have a concentric pattern.

Carnelian agate is a semiprecious gemstone that is translucent and has a very smooth surface. Carnelian agate is often used for decorations and other ornaments. However, it is most suitable for different types of jewelry such as bracelets, earrings and pendants due to its bright color and smooth surface.

Is Carnelian Agate Expensive?

Carnelian agate is not considered expensive compared to other gemstones. The price of carnelian agate depends on the color, size and quality.

The typical rate for a carnelian agate bracelet is $9.00, while some rings are $8.00. Pendants and other jewelry with carnelian agate range in price but are typically less than $50.00.

Is Carnelian an Agate or Chalcedony?

While both agates and carnelians are varieties of chalcedony, carnelian contains enough iron oxide to give it a reddish-orange color.

Agate is also a form of chalcedony usually banded or layered in appearance. The bands can be different colors, and the agate’s appearance can vary depending on where it was found.

So, carnelian is a form of chalcedony rather than a type of agate.

Eran Hayo is the Chief Editor of Jewels Advisor, with over 5 years of experience in the fields of jewelry and memorabilia. He built Jewels Advisor to serve one main purpose – to teach you everything he knows about jewelry, and help you make better-informed decisions when buying diamonds and engagement rings online. His work has been cited on famous publications such as The Sun, MSN and WikiHow.