Citrine Variety of the Mineral Quartz
1. An Introduction to Citrine
2. Citrine Birthstone for November
3. More Citrine Facts
4. Our Collection of Rocks and Minerals
5. More Information
An Introduction to Citrine
Natural citrine is one of the most valuable varieties of the mineral quartz. This transparent to translucent stone exhibits a vitreous lustre but the exact cause of the pale yellow to deep orange colour is still somewhat of a mystery. What is known about the colour of the mineral citrine is that trace amounts of aluminium cause some crystals to turn yellow.
Due to its rarity the vast majority of citrine stones that are sold commercially are actually amethyst that has been mined and heated in Brazil. When amethyst is heated this purple variety of quartz turns a shade of yellow. It's fairly safe to say that many people who own a citrine gemstone will be blissfully unaware that it may well be amethyst. In rough material it's usually quite easy to tell one from the other because although the shade of colour in natural citrine can vary and may be pale or rich, it tends to be mostly uniform throughout the structure of the crystal. In heated amethyst however it's very common for there to be areas of mostly opaque white quartz particularly towards the base of the crystal. The colour is also quite easy to recognise because it's mostly a very rich shade of yellow bordering on orange or an almost burnt orange colour.
Some natural citrine with delicately coloured crystals is heated in order to enhance the colour which makes the stone more popular. Many citrine geodes have also been heated in industrial sized ovens and were originally amethyst.
During the first and second centuries AD both the Greeks and Romans used citrine for intaglios. The stone was also once used as a protection against snake venom and evil thoughts. Historically little is known about the mineral citrine because there are few references to it which may well be because of its rarity.
Citrine (heated amethyst) tumbled stones. Photo; Stone Mania ©
Citrine Birthstone for November
The mineral citrine is the traditional birthstone for the month of November but on the modern birthstone chart it's an alternative to topaz. Although some coloured varieties of quartz have always been mistaken for topaz, they're two completely different minerals. The reason for the confusion may be because for many years all translucent brown orange and yellow coloured gemstones were commonly referred to as topaz. Even after the discovery that some stones had a completely different geological make-up, it was many years before the correct names started being widely used.
A Few More Facts About Citrine
Like most varieties of quartz citrine grades 7 on Mohs scale of mineral hardness which make the stone particularly suitable for carving. When used as a gemstone it tends to be faceted which maximises its brilliance and the way the stone is cut can further increase its value.
Popular for use in crystal healing citrine is said to help with digestion and the removal of toxins from within the body. It symbolizes light-heartedness, joy and happiness and influences the areas of education, business pursuits and interpersonal relationships. It's particularly useful for smoothing out or pacifying family or group problems. Along with the mineral kyanite it will not accumulate or retain negative energy hence never needs to be cleansed.
Deposits of natural citrine can be found in Madagascar, Spain, Uruguay, on the Isle of Arran in Scotland, the Ural mountains of Russia and the USA. Currently the world's largest supplier is the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul.
Natural citrine cluster. Collier Creek Mine, Arkansas, USA
Our Collection of Rocks and Minerals