Citrine: The Golden Quartz
Deriving its name from the old French term “citrin,” meaning yellow, citrine gleams with a golden hue, making it the designated birthstone for November. Historically, due to its color resemblance to certain topaz varieties, citrine was often mistaken for it, leading to the moniker “topaz quartz.” However, in contemporary times, it’s solely recognized as citrine. The 1940s saw citrine rise in popularity, becoming a gemstone of choice for retro jewelry designs.
Color Spectrum and Composition
Belonging to the quartz family, much like amethyst, citrine flaunts a spectrum of colors from pale yellow and yellow-brown to vibrant orange and deep reddish-brown. Intriguingly, nature sometimes merges citrine and amethyst quartz, resulting in the bi-colored gem known as ametrine. At its core, citrine shares its composition of Silicon and Oxygen with other quartz varieties. The distinction in color between citrine and amethyst arises from the oxidation state of iron impurities within the mineral. Interestingly, heating amethyst can transform its purple hue to the golden shades characteristic of citrine. Given amethyst’s abundance compared to citrine, this heat treatment is a common practice. Determining whether a citrine’s color is a result of natural processes or lab-induced treatments remains challenging.
Brazil stands as the primary source for citrine, with much of its yield being heat-treated amethyst. Other notable citrine deposits are located in regions like Madagascar and Russia.
Properties and Variants
With a hardness of 7 on the Mohs scale, citrine combines beauty with durability. While natural citrine is rare, a significant portion of the market’s citrine is heat-treated amethyst. Modern science has also mastered the art of producing lab-created citrine, mirroring the composition and allure of its natural counterpart.