Citrine, a cherished member of the quartz family, is perhaps the most frequently purchased yellow gemstone. Its name has been derived from the citron fruit, which resembles a large lemon.
Pure quartz is colorless, and traces of various elements are responsible for giving each type of quartz its distinct hue. Citrine owes its captivating sunny shades to the presence of iron. This alluring gemstone is available in hues that range from pale yellow and golden-orange to reddish-brown. Currently, the majority of citrine gemstones available in the market are actually other varieties of quartz (amethyst, smoky quartz) that are heat treated to get the desired golden-yellow color.
Citrine does occur naturally, however, is very rarely found. A natural citrine does not have visible inclusions or color zoning, which makes it extremely sought-after.
This gemstone has been around for centuries and was prized for its rarity. It was especially popular among the affluent class. Citrine was used by the ancient Romans for embellishing various types of jewelry and intaglio work. In the early part of the 20th century, during the Art Deco period, large faceted citrines were prominently used for creating fine jewelry items that highlighted the distinctiveness of that particular era. Even today its popularity has remained intact, and the gem has been coveted for its beauty and splendor.
Natural citrine is not common, and Brazil is its leading manufacturer in the world. Other important sources include Uruguay, Scotland, Madagascar, Spain, USA and Russia.
Cherished since ancient times, citrine is said to bring success and prosperity to the wearer. Owing to these properties, it is also called the ''success stone''. Citrine is believed to attract abundance in all fields, especially business. It is therefore often found in cash registers of shops, earning it the name ''the merchant's stone''.
Many believe that this radiant gemstone exudes positive energy and also facilitates mental clarity. Its ability to dispel all kinds of negativity further adds to its appeal. This property also ensures that a citrine never requires to be “recharged” or “cleared”. Believed to withhold the power of the sun, this luminous gemstone symbolizes positivity, growth and happiness.
In order to make the most of the benefits of a citrine, the ancient Greeks carved iconic images into them, Roman priests used them for adorning rings, while Egyptians wore them as talismans. Even today, a natural citrine is highly revered for all the qualities mentioned above.
Hardness & Strength
The golden-yellow variety of quartz, citrine, exhibits a remarkable luster and sparkles brilliantly when cut. It has been given a rating of 7 on the Mohs scale of hardness and is fairly resistant to scratches and durable enough for use in jewelry. Radiant and affordable, citrine is also a popular alternative to topaz and yellow sapphire.
Citrine in its most pure and natural form radiates a translucent yellow hue. The presence of iron oxide in the quartz is responsible for its captivating color. “Lemon quartz” is the name often used to refer to a naturally light-yellow citrine. A citrine, because of its color, is often mistaken for a yellow topaz.
Since natural and untreated citrines are extremely rare, amethyst and smoky quartz are frequently heat treated to obtain the coveted golden-yellow hue. Low temperature heat treatment (approximately 750 degrees Fahrenheit) results in a mild yellow hue, while high temperature (approximately 1700 degrees Fahrenheit) causes the amethyst or smoky quartz to turn into a deep orange to reddish-brown shade. This treatment is stable and is widely used for permanent color change. The citrines available at Angara are natural and are not enhanced in any way.
Quality & Grading
A natural and untreated citrine is significantly more valuable than other yellow-orange gemstones, such as tourmaline, yellow sapphire and yellow topaz. This gemstone is rare in its natural form and greatly sought-after by gem enthusiasts and collectors. There are several factors that determine the value of a citrine:
Color is the most critical factor that establishes a citrine’s worth. In its natural form, this gem is mostly pale-yellow to golden-yellow in hue with hints of smoky brown.
In comparison to lighter tones, a citrine which displays a deep color with reddish tints is more expensive. A reddish-orange hued citrine is typically referred to as ‘Madeira’ colored, after the renowned wine. In recent times, even the pale yellow colored citrines have become extremely popular because of their rarity.
Citrine is a transparent quartz with a vitreous luster. Most citrines are eye-clean, which means they have no visible inclusions. Color zoning may decrease its value as merchants look for citrines with a more uniform hue.
Like most quartz, citrine is available in large sizes, so it is possible to carve them into almost any shape. Round and oval are the most popular cuts for this gemstone, as they tend to maximize dispersion and color. Other frequently used shapes consist of trillion, cushion, pear, square and heart. Citrines with minor inclusions are used to make beads, and occasionally for carvings or cabochons.
This radiant gemstone comes in an assortment of sizes, and stones weighing up to 20 carats are readily available. Due to this reason, the price of a citrine is not influenced significantly by the carat size. This aspect makes them a wonderful choice for bold jewelry designs.
Based on these factors, a citrine can be graded into the following categories of quality:
The top 1% of extremely rare citrines belongs to this category. These gems display the eye-clean property, which means they do not have any inclusions visible to the naked eye. Heirloom quality citrines have a distinctive deep golden hue that makes them extremely sought-after.
This category includes the top 10% of citrines. These beautiful gems are also eye-clean and showcase a radiant golden hue.
In terms of quality, this includes the top 33% of the available citrines. They are yellow in color and have slight inclusions.
Light yellow in hue, this category comprises of the top 75% of available citrines that have slight to moderate inclusions.
Citrine is a relatively durable gemstone, but it needs to be treated with care to avoid scratches and other damages. Here are some dos and don'ts to ensure the long life of this lustrous gem.
Store citrine jewelry separately to avoid contact and friction with other gems.
Do not wear it while engaging in sports, rigorous outdoor activities or even household work.
Avoid using cosmetic products like creams and perfumes when you’ve already worn your citrine jewelry.
Keep away from harsh chemicals, especially bleach and acid.
Use mild soap and water for cleaning, and wipe it dry with a soft cloth.
Ultrasonic cleaners are safe for cleaning citrine jewelry.
Do not use steam cleaners as the heat can alter the properties of this gemstone.
Store your citrine jewelry away from direct sunlight and extreme temperatures.
Citrine, the birthstone for the month of November, allures with its warm, resplendent hue. A little effort towards the maintenance of this gem will go a long way in ensuring that it captures hearts for years to come.