Red Agate Vs Carnelian: What’s the Difference Between the Two Stones?

Red Carnelian Stone

Red Agate and Carnelian tend to come in similar colors that range from deep red to intense orange, so telling the difference between the two can be a challenge. They both may also feature several other splashes of natural hues, and generally have a glossy finish.

So, why are these two crystals so similar, how are they different, and how do you tell the difference between the two? Read on to find out.

Why are red agate and carnelian so similar?

Both Red Carnelian and Agate belong to the chalcedony crystal family. This crystal group is made of microcrystalline quartz that comes in several forms, including Onyx and Agate. 

What is Red Agate?

Agate is formed when silica is deposited from groundwater within igneous rock cavities. It’s a combination of three types of naturally-occurring rock and mineral structures which consist of chalcedony, cryptocrystalline silica, and microgranular quartz, which is responsible for the shiny appearance.

Agate is formed in cavities and pockets caused by the cooling of lava or magma. This stone features concentric layers and comes in red, brown, black, white, yellow, green, and pink.

The agate industry was born centuries ago in North-Western Germany, an area abundant in Agate. By the 1900s, Agate could be found in Brazil and Uruguay, and since then it has also been found in several US states including Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington.

Red Agate is generally seen as a protective stone and is often worn by those who are looking for some stability in their lives. It’s also used by those who wish to work on self-love and love for others. Since other people are often considered a reflection of ourselves, many of us need to work on loving ourselves so we can serve others better. 

What is Carnelian? 

This stone is native to India, Brazil, Peru, and Sri Lanka but can be found all over the world today. Carnelian is a brownish-red mineral whose name comes from the Latin word “carneus,” which means “flesh-colored”. Carnelian’s uses in history are well-recorded, with mentions of it in the Bible. There’s also evidence that the prophet Mohammed wore a ring of carnelian and silver on his right hand’s little finger. For this reason, Carnelian is highly regarded in the Arab world.

Carnelian has also been thought of as holy among Muslims. It’s typically used as a seal, engraved in silver, just like the seal worn by the prophet. According to the 8th-century Muslim scholar Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq, any wishes that a Carnelian wearer made would come to fruition. In Iran, traditional jewelry bearing the names of any one of the twelve Imams was made of Carnelian.

Looking back a little further in time, Ancient Egyptians used Carnelian to represent the might of Horus, the Sun God. Ancient Egyptians also placed a Carnelian stone with their dead for good luck in the afterlife. When archeologists opened up the tomb of the Sumerian Queen, they found an ornate robe encrusted in Carnelian. People assumed she’d been buried in this encrusted robe so that her soul would be fortunate in the afterlife. 

Most stones that are sold as Carnelian today are dyed Agate stones. Because Carnelian and Agate come from the same family, dealers often don’t disclose whether they’re selling genuine Carnelian or Dyed Agate. This habit has formed because Carnelian is quite difficult to find these days, while it was once fairly common. So, when you’re looking at Carnelian jewelry, assume that it’s made of dyed agate or ask which it is – vendors are unlikely to volunteer the information if it’s not real Carnelian if you don’t! 

What’s the difference between Red Agate and Carnelian? 


These two stones display a similar hue, but Red Agate tends to be more of an intense red, while Carnelian is more orange. Carnelian also features several more colors than Red Agate, ranging from reddish-brown and orange to yellow and even clear white-colored spots.  

Some natural Agate boasts unique color banding that can form layers in gray and off-white. Agate may also feature stripes and various colors blended in clouds or moss-like shapes.


As with all crystals, Red Agate and Carnelian are formed from minerals that grew under pressure underground over centuries. They’re full of intense energy from the ground and should be cleansed any time the wearer encounters unfavorable energy. 

These two stones also work on healing different chakras, which we’ll look into in more detail below. Red Agate helps to heal and balance the root chakra, helping the user to feel balanced, grounded, and more in tune with their feelings, thoughts, and actions. Red Agate’s energetic vibration offers protection in the navigation of life, offering calmness, ease, and composure.

Carnelian connects to the sacral chakra, allowing the wearer to revive this vital energy point and bringing more balance, harmony, and peace.

What are the healing benefits of Red Agate? 

Red Agate is the birthstone for the zodiac sign of Gemini, which is characterized as an impulsive, non-committal, and indecisive person. It’s good for grounding these impulses and soothing the anxiety that brings on a fear of commitment for the Gemini. 

Red Agate is known as a protective talisman and is helpful for those who wish to overcome challenging situations. Red Agate envelopes the wearer with a protective shield, guiding them to feel encouraged to rid themselves of negativity and energetic blockages. It also opens up the heart, making it perfect for someone who wishes to feel more open-minded or get themselves out of a cycle of unhelpful habits. 

Red Agate is also used to help with growth, strengthening one’s willpower so that our goals and desires are more attainable. It also resonates with the vibrations of the root chakra, located on the base of the spine. The state of the root chakra dictates the state of the rest of the chakras, much like the foundation of a building.

This chakra is comprised of whatever brings stability in our lives: basic needs like somewhere to live, food, water, and safety. It’s also responsible for our emotional needs like the ability to let go of self-doubt and fear. When we meet these needs, we feel safe and grounded, experiencing less day-to-day anxiety

Many psychologists also believe that trust is closely linked with our root chakra development. As children, if a person’s guardians readily and consistently provided what they needed emotionally, they’d feel secure in themselves and in the world. This consistency taught them that the world was a place they could trust to meet their basic needs. But if someone’s caregivers withheld or didn’t provide what they needed consistently, they may find themselves with root chakra blockages. For this reason, Red Agate is popular among those who had difficult childhoods or tumultuous relationships with their parents or caregivers. 

What are the healing benefits of Carnelian? 

Carnelian is the birthstone of the zodiac sign Virgo, which is often characterized as a quick and methodical thinker who is prone to tension and stress.  

The Carnelian stone is associated with vitality, progression, and ambition. It fuels the soul and mind with productive and inspiring energy. Like Red Agate, Carnelian empowers the user to pursue their desires with high vital power. Its energy makes you encouraged, invigorated, and stimulated. It emphasizes the wearer’s inner power, filling their heart with comfort and warmth.

This warming orange-red stone is also associated with the sacral or second chakra, located just below the belly button. Unsurprisingly, this stone’s hue echoes that of the sacral chakra, which is represented by the color orange. The sacral chakra is responsible for emotions, emotional wellbeing, creativity, self-expression, sensitivity, intimacy, and sexuality. It dictates our ability to give and receive love and our spiritual wisdom, all of which are stimulated by the Carnelian stone. 

The Difference is in their Energetic Properties

Red Agate and Carnelian may look similar but they both off very different healing properties. If you are on the lookout for either of these stones, whether in jewelry form or as a straight crystal, so make sure you look for a reputable vendor. As we’ve mentioned, some stones are dyed, polished, and passed off as something else, so be aware of who you’re buying from. Since you’ll be using these crystals to balance your chakras and promote positivity in your life, it’s important to know where these stones came from so you get the right effects!