Citrine Stone | Yellow Variety of Quartz



Natural citrine terminated crystal. Positioned upright against a dark background.



About the Mineral Citrine

Natural citrine is one of the most valuable varieties of the mineral quartz.  Stones are transparent to translucent, exhibit a vitreous lustre and the exact cause of its subtle yellow to rich orange colour is still somewhat of a mystery.  What is known about the colour of citrine is that trace amounts of aluminium in some stones cause the quartz to turn yellow but in amethyst which is the purple variety of quartz, the application of heat causes it to turn yellow.  Scientists admit they still do not fully understand exactly what causes the yellow colouration in this popular mineral. 

The name comes from the French word 'citron' meaning lemon and due to its rarity, most of the material that's available to buy is actually heated amethyst.  Although not citrine in the strict sense, it is widely accepted as being the next best thing and few people will even be aware whether their stone is natural citrine or amethyst which has been heat treated.

During the first and second centuries AD both the Greeks and Romans used this yellow coloured quartz for intaglios.  In ancient times it was worn as protection against snake venom and evil thoughts.  Little is known about the history of citrine because there are few references to it which is perhaps because of its rarity.


small group of citrine tumbled stonesCitrine Tumbled Stones. Photo; Stone Mania ©



Citrine Birthstone for November

Citrine is the birthstone for the month of November with topaz being an alternative.  Quartz in shades of brown, orange and yellow are often mistaken for topaz but quartz and topaz are 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 some time before the correct names started being widely used.



A Few More Facts

Like most varieties of quartz citrine grades 7 on Mohs scale of mineral hardness which makes it particularly suitable as a lapidary material.  When used as a gemstone it tends to be faceted which maximises its brilliance and the way that it's cut can further increase the stone's 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 can also help to smooth family or group problems.  Along with kyanite it will not accumulate or retain negative energy and 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 although the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul is currently the world's largest supplier.



natural citrine quartz cluster featuring subtle yellow coloured terminated crystals
Citrine Quartz Cluster. Collier Creek Mine, Arkansas, USA 



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Further Reading

Information from Mindat