How To Know If Carnelian Is Real Or Fake (Full Answer)

Last Updated on December 30, 2023

As with any other precious stone, there are ways to determine if Carnelian is real or fake, including checking its properties, such as color, structure, hardness, temperature, inclusions, and luster.

Carnelian is a red-colored gemstone that belongs to the Chalcedony mineral family. It is believed to be an energizing stone that helps bring happiness and vitality into its wearer’s life. However, there are so many counterfeit Carnelians around today, making it very difficult for people to buy one or two of these precious stones.

To know more about how to identify genuine Carnelian, continue reading as we list down some of the most important tips as well as answer these questions:

  • What is Carnelian Agate?
  • What does real Carnelian look like?
  • What is Carnelian good for?
  • How much is Carnelian worth?
  • Where to buy real Carnelian?


How To Know If Carnelian Is Real Or Fake?

Various tests can be performed to determine if a Carnelian is real or fake. The most common way is to check its properties, such as color, structure, hardness, temperature, inclusions and luster.


You need to check the Carnelian’s color visually. Like other varieties of chalcedony, Carnelian can be translucent to semi-opaque with hues of red, orange, red, or brown. These colors come from iron oxide impurities.

Some items sold today look like Carnelian, but a type of Agate called Carnelian Agate. The banding patterns on these stones can be very similar to Carnelian, and it is often difficult to distinguish the two without close inspection.

However, a genuine and natural Carnelian will have an even spread of color, whereas an Agate will have distinct bands or layers of color.


Another way to know if Carnelian is real or fake is by holding it under a light and looking at its structure. Carnelian is evenly colored and does not look fibrous even under the light.

On the other hand, a heat-treated Agate will look fibrous and streaky under the light.


The hardness of the Carnelian is around a seven on the Mohs scale, which means that it does not scratch easily. You can use a knife to test its hardness. A real Carnelian will not show any scratches, whereas a fake one will.


Carnelians are generally cool to the touch. However, some fake Carnelians have been treated with a heat process to enhance their color. These stones will feel warm to the touch instead of the cool sensation of a real Carnelian.


A real Carnelian will have no material inclusions visible to the naked eye. However, fake Carnelian stones may have air bubbles, banding or bulbous inclusions with streaks of red to yellow-brown colors.


The luster of Carnelian is vitreous, which means that it has a glass-like sheen. Hold the Carnelian up to the light and see if its surface consistently reflects light. A fake Carnelian will have a duller luster and may even look resinous.

What Is Carnelian Agate?

Carnelian Agate is a type of Agate that has a resemblance to Carnelian. Agate is a type of quartz that is characterized by its banded appearance. The banding of colors is what makes it resemble Carnelian.

Carnelian Agate comes in different colors: red, brown, white, green, pink, yellow, and black.

What Does Real Carnelian Look Like?

Real Carnelian stones vary in color from pinkish-orange to a deep brown but are typically a rich orange to red color. These stones can be translucent to semi-opaque with a glassy luster. As a type of chalcedony, Carnelian is hard that it does not scratch easily.

Moreover, a few telltale signs determine if a carnelian is real. The most obvious giveaway is the color: authentic Carnelian will have a deep and consistent hue, while fakes may be lighter or more patchy in color. Additionally, real Carnelian typically has a glassy sheen, whereas imitations can have a dull, waxy finish.

What Is Carnelian Good For?

Carnelian is a class of chalcedony that has been used as a gemstone and ornamental stone since ancient times.

Regarded as the luckiest gemstone, Carnelian promotes confidence, courage, and happiness. It is also thought to increase productivity and prosperity. In addition, Carnelian is said to be a powerful stone for healing, both physically and emotionally.

How Much Is Carnelian Worth?

The price of Carnelian varies significantly, but it is generally priced at $1 per carat. As the size of the Carnelian increases, so does its price.

However, if Carnelian is shaped into jewelry pieces, such as rings and bracelets, the price may be higher. For instance, a necklace with Carnelian beads may cost up to $100, while smaller items, like earrings, can cost up to $30.

Where To Buy Real Carnelian?

You can buy real Carnelian at jewelry stores, online shops, and most importantly, from a trusted seller. It is important first to identify real Carnelians to avoid purchasing fake stones.

If you are looking for a cheaper yet authentic stone, purchasing it in India maybe your best option. Most of the commercial Carnelian on the market is sourced from India.

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.