The name carnelian is said to be derived from the Latin word carnis, meaning "flesh," due to its color.
Ancient Egyptian tombs are full of carnelian jewelry, as they believed the gemstone had great power in the afterlife. According to their system, carnelian amulets could help ensure the Ka's (the soul's) passage into the next world. Elsewhere in the Middle East, carnelian represents the Hebrew tribe of Reuben and the apostle Phillip, and in Hebrew literature, carnelian appears as a gemstone in Aaron's breastplate. Some Muslims call it "the Mecca stone," Islamic doctrine holds that engraving the name of Allah on carnelian stones boosts courage; some even believed that Allah would grant all the desires of wearers of the stone. The Greeks and Romans used carnelian in rings and signets. Ancient Greeks and Romans called it sardius and used the gemstone for signet rings, cameos and intaglios. Tibetans created amulets of silver with generous applications of carnelian, and in India, Hindu astrology names carnelian as the secondary stone of Scorpios.
Red carnelian has been used for centuries to stop the flow of blood, and many believe the gemstone will stop nosebleeds. It is said to help heal physical wounds and blood disorders, because of their red color. Yoga enthusiasts say carnelian is excellent for the first chakra, and the gemstone is thought to bring passion to the wearer. It is recommended for infertility or impotency, and because of its ability to balance, carnelian is good for family areas of the home (especially a bedroom where more than one child sleeps). Deposits of this gemstone are found in Brazil, India, Australia, Russia, Madagascar, South Africa, Uruguay and the U.S.A. Carnelian is associated with the astrological signs Taurus, Cancer, and Leo..