Can Carnelian Go In Salt? (Yes, But…)

We say “yes,” carnelian can go in salt. But there are those who disagree.

Read on for our explanation as to why we think you can put carnelian with salt, and why it is that others say it is a no go.

Then you can decide for yourself.

Why Can Carnelian Go In Salt? (EXPLAINED)

First of all, we think that we need to make a point to confirm how exactly we are cool with carnelian going in salt.

When we talk about carnelian and salt, we are talking about dry salt. Either in the form of crystals or even ground up salt.

We are not talking about salt mixed in with water, or seawater.

What Is Wrong With Saltwater?

We recommend against putting any crystal you care about in a salt water bath, including carnelian.

The reason?

Water molecules crowd into microscopic cracks in the carnelian (or other stones).

These are cracks that are much too small for us to see.

We see a smooth shiny and beautiful surface instead.

The water molecules on their own encourage the widening of the cracks, which can eventually lead to noticeable physical damage to the crystal.

This could come in the form of cracking or cleaving, as well as loss of color or shine.

When you throw salt in with the water, the water carries the salt components in with it, and then leaves the salt behind when the water dries/evaporates.

The salt in those crevices continues to do the water molecules bad work on the stone, again leading to eventual physical damage to the stone.

Why Is Dry Salt Okay?

We take the position that as long as the salt stays out of the cracks and crevices at the microscopic level, the salt is cool and fine.

When you place a piece of carnelian (Moh’s hardness of around 7, so pretty hard) in, on, or under salt (which is dramatically softer), the salt is going to have a pretty tough time getting into the carnelian to do its damage.

At the microscopic level, is it possible for small molecules of the salt compound to get into the tiny existing fissures of carnelian even if the salt is not wet?

Yes, absolutely.

However, it is going to happen at a much reduced rate, as the water is not there to ferry the salt deep into the cracks.

Overall, we think that the likelihood of your carnelian getting damaged as a result of being exposed to dry salt is pretty low.

But What’s The Argument Against Dry Salt?

The argument is this–contact with dry salt will allow some salt particles into the carnelian.

Not many, but some.

Over time, if you repeat this procedure, more salt will accumulate.

Eventually, the carnelian will get wet, perhaps while being washed.

Or perhaps some stray water molecules will get into the cracks, from being handled by sweaty hands, from sitting on a counter in a misty bathroom, or even just from the air.

The water molecules could carry salt on the surface of the carnelian up higher into the cracks where it couldn’t get otherwise.

And as we have already discussed, salt and water up in those cracks can encourage cracking and make the stone appear less beautiful.

Why We Don’t Agree With The Argument Against Dry Salt

We concede that it is possible that allowing carnelian to sit on dry salt could eventually lead to getting some salt ferried up into cracks.

However, we think that the amount of salt that could get into cracks is really minimal.

If contact with dry salt and water molecules floating around evaporated into the air is dangerous, then what they heck are we doing even handling stones!

After all, there’s water and salt coming off our hands at all times at the microscopic level (in the form of sweat)!

There is one area, however, that we do agree, and that is with a crystal cluster, or with a stone that already has tons of visible cracks, plus ground up salt.

Ground up salt is much more likely to get up into the crevices and cracks and nooks and crannies of a crystal cluster, and can be very difficult to clean out.

If you wanted to put a crystal cluster in contact with salt, we’d recommend that you use solid blocks, and to avoid using any salt particulates.

Want to learn more about using and caring for stones and crystals? Check out our Crystals Knowledge area for our latest articles.