Citrine: Versatile, Affordable and Golden Yellow
Citrine is the most affordable of all the earth-toned
gemstones, thanks to its durability and availability.
It has become increasingly popular with budget-minded
women looking to expand their work and leisure jewelry
Citrine, a form of quartz, derives its name from the
French word for lemon, "citron." It is available
in a range of golden hues from lemon to straw to sun
yellow to gold, as well as oranges, browns, and deep
madeira red. It is generally more inexpensive than amethyst
and is also available in a wide range of calibrated
sizes and shapes, including very large sizes.
Citrine's lively colors can brighten almost any jewelry
style, and it blends especially well with yellow gold.
Its low cost makes it an ideal stone for popular free-form
fancy cuts for one-of-a-kind and customized pieces.
And good cut is as important in determining citrine's
quality as it is for more expensive yellow counterparts,
such as yellow sapphire.
As with other stones, citrine in very large sizes (above
three carats) in rich, deep colors has always been rare
and therefore the most valuable form of the gem. Although
this stone's dark orange and red shades traditionally
have been the most prized, its bright lemony hues have
become very popular in recent years because they mix
better with pastel colors.
In ancient times, citrine was carried as a protection
against snake venom and evil thoughts. It was also thought
to give calmness and mental balance to its wearer.
Citrine is the birthstone for November, as well as
recommended jewelry gift for couples celebrating their
13th wedding anniversary.
Most citrine is mined in Brazil. Supplies are most
plentiful in the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul,
particularly from the Serra mine. The Ira' mine also
produces large quantities of the gem.
These stones generally start life as either smoky quartz
or amethyst geodes. Heat treatments first turn them
clear and then give them a permanent color ranging from
yellow to brownish red.
Sometimes citrine is referred to as topaz quartz, which
is incorrect. The name refers to the color, which is
sometimes similar to topaz. But since topaz is a separate
mineral, the name could be confusing and should not
Occasionally, Mother Nature combines the colors of
amethyst and citrine into a single gemstone called ametrine.
With a ranking of "7" on the Mohs scale of
hardness (from 1-10, with "10" representing
a diamond, the hardest mineral on earth), citrine has
excellent durability and is suitable for everyday wear.
However, since much of the citrine on the market today
has been heat treated to improve its color, it should
be kept away from prolonged exposure to strong light