Citrine is the transparent, pale yellow to brownish orange variety of quartz.
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. A trace of iron in citrine’s structure is responsible for its yellow-to-orange color.
Since natural citrine is rare, most of the citrine on the market is the result of heat treatment, which causes some amethyst to change color from undesirable pale violet to an attractive yellow. The amethyst’s original hue can determine the richness of the resulting citrine’s yellow color.
Citrine crystals occur in a wide range of sizes, and citrine sizes up to 20 carats are readily available in jewelry. Although citrine is available in standard shapes and sizes, many high-end jewelry designers and gem carvers have fashioned the warm yellow gem into unusual cuts for jewelry and carvings.
Citrine History and Lore
People have used quartz in jewelry for thousands of years. Egyptians gathered ornately striped agates from the shore and used them as talismans, the ancient Greeks carved rock crystal ornaments that glistened like permafrost, and the hands of Roman pontiffs bore rings set with huge purple amethysts. Natural citrine is rare, and today most citrine quartz is the result of heat treatment of amethyst quartz. Even so, gems from the Victorian era have surfaced, and it’s not hard to imagine that citrine was treasured even in earlier times.
WHY WE LOVE THIS GEMSTONE
Even fine citrine has a modest price tag. Large gems remain affordable, as price per carat does not rise dramatically for larger sizes.
In Bolivia, amethyst and citrine colors can occur together in the same crystal. These unique gems are called ametrine.
The following factors combine to determine a citrine’s value.
COLOR Vivid yellows, reddish oranges, and earth tones are popular with consumers.
CLARITY Eye-visible inclusions are not common in citrine. If present, they decrease its value.
CUT Citrine might be carved, custom-cut, or calibrated for jewelry use.
CARAT WEIGHT Citrine is available in a wide range of sizes for setting into a variety of jewelry styles.
CHEMICAL COMPOSITION: SiO2
COLOR: Yellow to orange to orangy red
REFRACTIVE INDEX: 1.544 to 1.553
SPECIFIC GRAVITY: 2.66 (+0.03/-0.02)
MOHS HARDNESS: 7
Citrine Gemstone | Natural Citrine Stone – GIA http://www.gia.edu/citrine#.V9ldQvkrLcv