Citrine Gemstone Information
About Citrine - History and Introduction
Citrine is one of the most popular gemstones available today. It belongs to the very large family of quartz (SiO2) gemstones. More specifically, it is the yellow to golden-orange variety of gemstone-quality macrocrystalline quartz (silicon dioxide). The name 'citrine' was derived from 'citron', a French word meaning 'lemon', although its color tends to be more golden rather than lemon-yellow.
Natural citrine is actually quite rare and because it is more valuable than most other varieties of quartz, much of the citrine today is actually heat-treated to obtain its attractive golden color. Almost all heated citrine will exhibit reddish tints. Citrine is very closely related to violet-purple amethyst, another variety of macrocrystalline quartz. The only difference between citrine and amethyst is the oxidation level of iron ions (Fe3) present in colorless quartz crystal. When quartz is heated, iron impurities are reduced, resulting in less violet-purple color and more golden to orange colors. Ametrine is the natural bicolor combination of both golden citrine and violet amethyst in a single specimen.
Identifying Citrine Back to Top
Citrine can be easily identified through its distinct quartz properties. It is one of the few gemstones that naturally occurs in golden to yellow colors. Other similar colored stones are typically much harder (sapphire and topaz) or much softer (sphalerite and sphene). Golden beryl, orthoclase and tourmaline can also often cause confusion. Natural citrine quartz derives its attractive golden color from the presence of iron impurities. It has a specific chemical formula of SiO2 (silicon dioxide), a density of 2.60 to 2.70 and a refractive index of 1.544 to 1.553, all of which can help distinguish citrine from similar materials.
Citrine Origin and Gemstone Sources Back to Top
Although citrine deposits can be found all around the world, Brazil is the world's leading supplier. Other notable sources include Argentina, Bolivia, France, Madagascar, Myanmar (Burma), Namibia, Russia, Scotland, Spain, Uruguay and Zambia.
Buying Citrine and Determining Citrine Gemstone Value Back to Top
Citrine Gemological Properties: Back to Top
Please refer to our Gemstone Glossary for details of gemology-related terms.
Citrine: Varieties or Similar Gemstones: Back to Top
There are several different and distinct varieties of quartz gemstones. There are also many similar-looking gemstones that can cause confusion but are unrelated by way of composition, including imperial topaz, golden beryl and golden sapphire. Below are other SiO2 gemstone varieties and trade names that are very closely related to citrine:
Citrine Gemstone Mythology, Metaphysical and Alternative Crystal Healing Powers Back to Top
Citrine's color is thought to radiate positive energy. It is known as the 'success stone', since it is believed to promote prosperity and abundance, especially in situations involving business. Citrine has actually earned the nickname of 'the merchant's stone', owing to the fact that many businesses will keep citrine in their cash registers for good fortune. According to legend, citrine is able dissipate negative energy. It is also thought to generate stability in life and be good for general protection. Emotionally, citrine is believed to relieve depression, self-doubt, anger and irrational mood swings.
Physically, citrine is beneficial for digestion, stomach problems and sleep disturbances. It is also thought to be especially helpful for thyroid, heart, kidney and liver disorders. Citrine is also said to be especially powerful for overcoming physical addictions, fears and phobias.
Citrine is often used as a birthstone of November (along with topaz) and it is the official 13th wedding anniversary gemstone. It is also considered the official stone of Virgo. To achieve the most benefit from your crystal, wear the stone in contact with the skin, especially the targeted area.
Citrine Gemstone and Jewelry Design Ideas Back to Top
Citrine is perfectly suitable for any type of jewelry design, including rings. It is considered hard, durable and can easily withstand the daily wear and tear of commercial mainstream jewelry. Citrine is typically worn as pendants or rings, but it can also be used for necklaces, pins and brooches. Citrine is also quite popular for use in beaded and string jewelry designs. Citrine is a favorite for many jewelers and designers owing to the wide range of shapes and cuts available. Citrine is one of the most popular golden gemstones on the market today and it is very moderately priced even in large sizes.
Note: Buy colored gemstones by size and not by carat weight. Colored stones vary in size-to-weight ratio. Some stones are larger and others are smaller than diamond by weight in comparison.
Citrine Gemstone and Jewelry Care and Cleaning Back to Top
Citrine, like all quartz, is considered to be very durable, but there are still a number of other gem types capable of scratching citrine, including topaz, spinel, sapphire and diamond. Take caution by not wearing or storing other gems near each other, especially when engaging in vigorous physical activities like sports, exercise or even household chores. Clean your citrine using a mild soap and warm water. You can wipe gemstones using a soft cloth or brush. Be sure to rinse them well to remove any soapy residue.
As with almost all colored stones, harsh chemicals are not recommended, especially bleach and acid. Ultrasonic cleaners are typically considered safe for citrine, but steamers should be avoided due to citrine's sensitivity to heat. Avoid prolonged exposure to direct light or extreme temperature conditions. When storing citrine gemstones, wrap them in a soft cloth and place them inside a fabric-lined box.
- First Published: September-19-2006
- Last Updated: August-25-2016
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