Citrine is composed of silicon dioxide, and is in the quartz family of gemstones. From the french word ‘citron’, meaning lemon, citrine actually displays more of a yellow to golden-orange color than the lemon-color that its name implies. There are many types of citrine, and these are either treated or untreated. Untreated citrine is rare, and thus can be expensive as a result, but the vast majority of citrine on the market today is treated by way of heating the crystal in order to attain the desired hue. In fact, most citrine is found naturally as low-grade amethyst. The amethyst is then heated (usually on-site) to remove iron ions, which then turns the crystal less violet-purple and more yellow to orange in color. There is also a variety of quartz called Ametrine that is a bi-colored combination of amethyst and citrine.
Here are some different types of citrine and their color profiles:
Golden Citrine- golden yellow color
Yellow Citrine- lemon yellow color, aka lemon citrine or lemon quartz
Madeira Citrine- brownish-red to orange-red
Palmeria Citrine- bright orange color
Citrine is found all over the world, but Brazil is the leading supplier of natural citrine. Natural citrine tends to be light yellow to golden, often with some brownish tones, but can occur in deeper shades. Most (heat) treated citrine exhibits a reddish tint. Gem-quality citrine should be transparent, as it occurs this way in abundance. Because of this, you should only buy citrine that is crystal clear and without inclusions!
Citrine is cut into every shape imaginable and adorns all types of jewelry, so no matter what your preference, you’ll be able to find a citrine piece to suit. It ranks 7 on the Mohs hardness scale, and because of its strength, it is very desirable for jewelers to work with. Most all gem-cutters will facet citrine to enhance its brilliance…it is rarely seen as cabochon. Citrine is most often confused with yellow topaz.
Citrine is the birthstone for November, and is also the official gemstone for Virgo (those born September 17 to October 17). On your 13th wedding anniversary, citrine is the stone that’s given (see our Wedding Anniversary Blog for a complete list the gemstones for every milestone).
Known as the ‘success stone’, there is a rumor about citrine…that its energy is associated with prosperity, especially in business, and that many a merchant will keep a piece of citrine in their cash register to promote this. I have never personally seen this in practice, but I have seen stranger things in the way of superstition. Mythological lore also associates citrine with physical and healthful protection, and it is thought to generate positive energy by some. Whatever mythical powers it may or may not possess, it is one of the more popular gemstones in today’s market. This, however, is likely due to its beauty and affordability, even in larger carat sizes.
Citrine is relatively easy to care for because of its strength and durability. You can clean it with mild soap and warm water, using a soft cloth or soft bristle brush. Rinse well, and dry with a soft cotton cloth or jewelry polishing cloth. Remember to always store your jewelry in a fabric lined box, as this will prevent other jewelry items from scratching one another.