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Citrine, an Affordable Yellow Gemstone

November 01, 2019

Citrine, an Affordable Yellow Gemstone

Citrine stones are ideal for use in jewelry. Its good hardness, transparency, gloss and its affordable price in large sizes, as well as in all kinds of cuts, make this beautiful and attractive yellow gemstone is widely used in today's market.

Citrine and Topaz are the Birthstones of November.

Versión Española                                                


  1. History and Etymology
  2. Citrine Colors
  3. Cut and Sizes
  4. Citrine Stone Clarity & Inclusions
  5. Genesis & Origin of Citrine
  6. Enhancements and Synthesis of Citrine
  7. Myths and Legends
  8. November Birthstone
  9. General Description Physical & Optical Properties of Citrine


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Quartz has been used for thousands of years in jewelry. Agates, amethysts, rock crystals, etc. have adorned us for millennia, so it is not difficult to imagine that the same thing happened with the citrine.

Citrine is a rare variety of quartz, (it should be noted that the vast majority of which are currently sold, are smoked quartz or amethyst with thermal treatment), consequently there are not so many pieces of antique jewelry in which we have the opportunity to identify it, unlike other gems.

The earliest signs of the use of this gem are found in ancient Greece, during the Hellenistic period, where it was used as a decorative jewel.


In the 17th century in Scotland, large citrine crystals were used to embellish the hilts of ancient Scottish swords, which today we can see in different museums:




Thanks to Queen Victoria's love for this gem, in Victorian times we find beautiful pieces of jewelry adorned with citrines.

It would also increase the demand for this golden gem in the early twentieth century, coinciding with the Art Deco period, where Cartier made some exquisite pieces of jewelry with citrines, among other colored gemstones, that fell into the hands of movie stars, millionaires, etc.




Citrine Gemstones


The word citrine comes from the Latin "citrus" meaning lemon, and refers to the color of the gem.



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Citrine is the yellow variety of transparent quartz; owes its color to the presence of iron.


This beautiful golden gem features all the shades of yellow we can imagine, can be found in orange shades, reddish orange hues, etc.

The most valued colors are saturated yellows and reddish oranges without brown overtones. Natural untreated citrines usually show paler tones than treated gemstones. Although we can also find natural golden and reddish citrines.

Yellow Citrine



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Citrine gemstones are available in a wide variety of sizes and cuts. Apart from standard cuts, we can find all kinds of fancy cuts.

Because they are very affordable gemstones in large sizes and different styles of cuts, citrines are very used in the jewelry trade

In the last years great master cutters have realized with this material true masterpieces.




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Citrine Gemstones  will show eye-clean (inclusions cannot be seen with the naked eye).

Visit our gallery of inclusions.


Typical inclusions 

We can find “color zoning”  angular zones of darker and lighter color, two-phase inclusions, solid inclusions, negative crystals. 

Orange Citrine



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GENESIS: Volcanic igneous rocks, hydrothermal deposits, alluvial deposits, geodes   and pegmatites.

Citrine gemstones are found: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil (Serra Gaúcha), Canada, Scotland, Spain, Madagascar, Myanmar, Namibia, Russia, Sri Lanka, Uruguay (Artigas), USA…



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Most citrines available today are amethysts and smoked quartz with heat treatment. Such treatment is stable and permanent.

The thermally treated amethyst at 450 º C loses its violet color and turns yellow - orange, looking like a citrine; increasing its temperature becomes more reddish, this type of material is called Madeira Citrine in the trade of the gem. In most cases this treatment is done at the foot of the mine. This process is reversible by X-ray radiation.


There are many synthetic citrines in the market.

If the gem does not have the typical inclusions of synthesis, it is difficult to detect with conventional methods.

Citrine Gemstone


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Like all gemstones, to the citrine is also attributed healing powers. Radiating positive energy, generating stability, protection, alleviating depression, are some of the powers attributed to it. It is also known as the merchant's stone (as many companies keep a citrine crystal in their cash registers to attract good fortune and be successful in business).


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The Citrine along with the Topaz corresponds to the Birthstones of November. The citrine is also used to commemorate the thirteenth anniversary, and is the gem corresponding to the zodiacal sign Virgo.



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Biphasic Inclusions in Citrine

Biphasic Inclusions



Color Zoning in Citrine

Color Zoning

Tectosilicates, silicates group

Formula  SiO2

  • Crystal system:   Trigonal.
  • Habit:  Hexagonal prism + 2 rhombohedron
  • Hardness (Mohs):   7  
  • Color: Yellow, Golden yellow, orange, brownish orange, reddish orange.
  • Fracture:  Conchoidal
  • Cleavage: None
  • Transparency:  Transparent to translucent
  • Streak: White
  • Lustre:  Vitreous
  • Dispersion: 0,013
  • Density:  2.65 g/cm3
  • Optic nature: Uniaxial positive
  • Refractive index: 1.544 - 1.553
  • Birefringence: 0.009
  • Pleochroism: Weak (soft yellow / orange)
  • Fluorescence: Mostly inert or weak
  • Absorption spectrum:  Not observable


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