How To Use Carnelian For Inspiration, Confidence, Creativity & More
Carnelian is one of those crystals that's as beautiful as it is versatile—and whether you need a creativity boost or a bit more confidence, this is one stone to reach for. Here's what to know about carnelian, from benefits to uses, plus how to take care of it, according to experts.
What is carnelian?
Carnelian is a reddish-orange variety of the mineral chalcedony, and it ranges in shades from light to dark. As Yulia Van Doren, author of Crystals: The Modern Guide to Crystal Healing and founder of Goldirocks, tells mbg, carnelian does not crystallize, and as such, it's available mainly as a small tumbled stone or polished piece.
A majority of the carnelian you can purchase today originally comes from India, but it's dispersed all over the world with deposits in Brazil, Egypt, Uruguay, the U.S., and more.
Carnelian healing properties:
It sparks energy.
Carnelian is an extremely energizing crystal, Van Doren notes. Just like the fire it resembles, "Carnelian's gifts lie in sparking energizing flames in you," she says, adding, "This crystal helps get your inner fires burning brightly so that you can go further with your goals, desires, and dreams."
It inspires confidence and empowerment.
According to Heather Askinosie, crystal expert and co-founder of Energy Muse Jewelry, carnelian is the stone of joy, confidence, and self-empowerment. Again, think of it as a stone that stokes your inner fire, igniting your energy from within.
It inspires creativity
As Askinosie previously explained to mbg, carnelian is also great for tapping into creative energy. "It aligns with our second (sacral) chakra—responsible for creativity—and enables us to tap into our inner gifts and strengths," she says. It can also be used to remove blocks that leave us feeling burnt out, uninspired, and stuck, she adds.
It supports sexual energy.
Since carnelian is associated with the sacral chakra, it's also great for working with sexual energy. Creativity and sexual energy both come from the sacral chakra, and as spiritual teacher and activist Emma Mildon previously explained to mbg, carnelian can help amplify your intentions in these realms.
It offers protection.
Lastly, according to crystal expert and founder of Satya Jewelry Satya Scainetti, carnelian is also a stone of protection, stability, and vitality. "It's a great one to program with the intention to become more fearless and courageous in all that you do," she previously wrote for mbg.
How to use carnelian:
Keep it in your workspace.
If you feel you're lacking the energy and focus required to bring your creative dreams into reality, Van Doren suggests keeping a piece of carnelian in your workspace, whether on your desk or tucked into your work bag.
Incorporate it into self-care rituals.
Because carnelian can be so potent for boosting confidence and empowerment, it's a great crystal to include in your self-care rituals. One simple recommendation from Van Doren is to keep a piece in your bathroom. Put it in your medicine cabinet, on the edge of your bathtub, or wherever it will remind you to charge your self-care practices with extra intentionality.
Use it to amplify sexual energy.
Van Doren explains that if you're looking to spice things up in the bedroom, a bit of carnelian can definitely help. You don't have to actually incorporate it into the act itself but rather keep a small piece on your nightstand. You may want to move it out of the bedroom when it's time to go to bed—but more on that later.
Exercise with it.
Want to amp up your next workout? Bring some carnelian to the gym with you! As Van Doren notes, "Its strengthening energy will push you to go further and harder and help you stick to your biggest health and fitness goals."
Meditate with it.
Askinosie recommends sitting with this crystal and working with it for confidence, holding it in your nondominant hand and asking yourself, "What are my gifts?" and "What am I here to do?"
"Write the first three things that come to your mind. Wrap the crystal in the paper you wrote on and carry with you for 14 days," she adds.
Place it on or around your vision board.
If you're looking to manifest something in your life and you have a vision board to show for it, you can power up your vision with a bit of carnelian. Askinosie recommends placing a piece of carnelian on top of your vision board, allowing it to supercharge your intention—and give you the energy and confidence to go after your goal.
Protect your home with it.
And last but not least, if you want to offer your home some extra protection, Askinosie previously told mbg she always has a carnelian crystal just inside her front door. "These stones are effective at keeping negativity out, and they also invite positivity through the energy of abundance," she notes.
Combining it with other crystals.
First things first: According to Van Doren, the good news is that carnelian's energy pairs well with all crystals, and there aren't any combinations you need to specifically avoid.
With that said, some pairings may work better than others depending on what you're looking for.
If you're using carnelian to power up your vision board, for example, Askinosie recommends placing it on top of the board with angel aura quartz on the bottom, tiger's-eye on the left side, and red jasper on the right side. Those same stones, she adds, are also good for boosting creativity when used together.
If you're using carnelian for protection, on the other hand, Askinosie says it pairs well with pyrite.
And if you're looking for the sexually energizing benefits of carnelian, Mildon says orange sapphire pairs well with carnelian, as do rubies, which are thought to inspire passion and sexual connection.
Cleansing & charging your crystal.
Like all crystals, it's a good idea to give your carnelian a good cleansing and charging from time to time, especially if you've been working with it a lot.
Luckily, carnelian is super easy to take care of, according to Van Doren, who notes it's a resilient mineral that can safely handle all the classic methods for cleansing and charging. "I suggest charging your new carnelian in a full 24-hour cycle of sunlight and moonlight to supercharge its energies," she says, adding to place it on an indoor windowsill if you don't have access to a secure outdoor spot.
Along with using sun and moonlight, you can also use sound, water, salt, and even your own breath to clear it off. (Check out our full guide for cleansing and charging crystals for more inspo.)
Is carnelian a birthstone?
Yes, carnelian is a birthstone, though not one of the most popular ones. According to Van Doren, "It is one of the oldest gemstones to be used for jewelry and is a historical birthstone for August." (Most people know peridot as August's birthstone, but historically, carnelian is one of four associated with this month, as well as September.)
Which zodiac sign is it associated with?
Given that carnelian is associated with August and September, Van Doren says carnelian is a traditional birthstone for Virgo.
Which chakra is associated with carnelian?
When thinking about which crystals are associated with which chakras, color is often your biggest clue. Carnelian, with its bright orange color, is associated with the sacral chakra, which rules sexuality and creativity.
Is it a good crystal to sleep with?
As previously noted, carnelian can be great in the bedroom—but not for sleep. Because this stone is so energizing, it's not a great idea to put it under your pillow while you're trying to get some shut-eye. Of course, everyone's different and crystals are influenced by intention, so you could certainly see for yourself. But generally, no, this isn't a great crystal for sleep.
How should it be worn as jewelry?
Van Doren tells mbg that wearing carnelian as jewelry is a fantastic way to integrate its energy into your daily life. You could fasten a piece to a necklace or bracelet, find a pair of carnelian earrings, or quite honestly, "wear" it in your bra or keep it in your pocket.
The bottom line.
As you travel your spiritual path, having the right crystals on hand can help you with whatever it is you're working toward. And whether you want to boost your creativity or sexual energy, work with your sacral chakra, or inspire confidence in yourself, carnelian is a great addition to any crystal collection.
Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Editor, a registered yoga instructor, and an avid astrologer and tarot reader. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from State University of New York at Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.