A carnelian intaglio from the 1st century BC
Carnelian (or cornelian) is the translucent
red variety of chalcedony
which on its turn is a form of cryptocrystalline quartz
. It's been known and used since antiquity when it was sourced off the surfaces of the Egyptian and Arabian deserts. The highliest prized carnelian has a true blood-red color.
Carnelian can be created by heating nearly colorless chalcedony, turning it red. Today, naturally colored carnelian is rare, it is common to find artificially colored (dyed) material. It is usually carved into intaglios or cameos or fashioned as beads or cabochon