Learn about Citrine
Citrine is rare in nature. In the days before modern gemology, its tawny color caused it to be confused with topaz. Today, its attractive color, plus the durability and affordability it shares with most other quartzes, makes it the top-selling yellow-to-orange gem. In the contemporary market, citrine’s most popular shade is an earthy, deep, brownish or reddish orange.
Citrine Birthstones & Anniversaries
Along with topaz, citrine is a birthstone for November. It’s also recognized as the gem that commemorates the thirteenth anniversary.
Overview of Citrine
November’s second birthstone, citrine, is a variety of quartz that ranges from pale yellow to a honey orange color. It takes its name from the citron fruit because of these lemon inspired shades.
The pale yellow color of citrine closely resembles topaz, which explains why November’s two birthstones have been so easily confused throughout history.
Citrine’s yellow hues are caused by traces of iron in quartz crystals. This occurs rarely in nature, so most citrine gems on the market are made by heat treating other varieties of quartz—usually the more common, less expensive purple amethyst and smoky quartz to produce golden gemstones.
Brazil is the largest supplier of citrine. Other sources include Spain, Bolivia, France, Russia, Madagascar and the U.S. (Colorado, North Carolina and California). Different geographies yield different shades of citrine.
With a hardness of 7 on the Mohs scale, citrine is very durable against scratches and everyday wear-and-tear—making it a lovely option for large, wearable jewelry.
History of Citrine
Citrine quartz has been adored since ancient times. The name “citrine” was used to refer to yellow gemstones as early as 1385, when the word was first recorded in English. However, since the gemstone’s color closely resembled topaz, these two November birthstones shared a history of mistaken identities.
Quartz and topaz are actually unrelated mineral species. But before these differences were clear, many cultures called citrine (the yellow variety of quartz) by other names like gold topaz, Madeira or Spanish topaz—contributing to the confusion between these yellow gemstones.
In ancient times, people believed that citrine gemstones could calm tempers, soothe anger and manifest desires, especially prosperity. To leverage these powers, Egyptians used citrine gemstones as talismans, the ancient Greeks carved iconic images into them, and Roman priests fashioned them into rings.
A key discovery gave citrine a boost of popularity in the mid-18th century. Mineralogists realized that amethyst and smoky quartz could be heat-treated to produce lemony and golden honey hues of citrine, contributing to an abundance of affordable enhanced gemstones on the market.
Once citrine was distinguished from topaz, it quickly became popular in women’s jewelry as well as men’s cufflinks and rings. Today, it remains one of the most affordable and frequently purchased yellow gemstones.
Frequently asked questions about Citrine
Learn more about colorful gemstones, their symbolism, which stone represents your birthstone, which stone to celebrate an Anniversary with and more ways to incorporate colorful gems in to your jewelry box.
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