Citrine is one of the most popular and affordable gemstones. Named after the French word for lemon, "citron", most citrines are actually more of a golden than lemon yellow. Citrine colors include yellow to gold to orange brown and red shades of transparent quartz. In ancient times, citrine was carried as a protection against snake venom and evil thoughts. Today citrine is known as the merchant's stone and is associated with success and prosperity.
Natural citrines are mostly pale yellow to golden. Much of the citrine in the market is heat-treated amethyst, which nearly always has a reddish tint.
The chief determinants of value are color, clarity and luster. Natural citrine is much preferred over the citrine produced by heat-treating amethyst.
Since quartz is an abundant material, look out for transparent stones with excellent clarity.
Citrines come in a wide range of calibrated shapes and sizes, and include both faceted stones and cabochons. Portuguese cuts have become popular due to the brilliance added by the extra facets.
Citrine location and deposits
The most important deposits of natural citrine are in Brazil. Other locations include Argentina, Madagascar, Myanmar (Burma), Namibia Russia, Scotland and Spain.
Common Citrine Treatments
Natural citrine is untreated and will typically exhibit some color zoning. Many of the citrine in the market have been produced by heat-treating amethyst. The heat-treated stones will usually exhibit a reddish tint.
Color: Light to dark yellow, gold-brown
Chemical composition: SiO, silicon dioxide
Crystal system: Hexagonal (trigonal), hexagonal prisms with pyramids
Hardness: 7 (Mohs Scale)
Specific gravity: 2.65
Refractive index: 1.544 - 1.553
Color of streak: White
Absorption spectrum: Not diagnostic