Extremely rare in its naturally-occurring form, citrine is a pale yellow gemstone that lends itself well in all forms of jewellery. Immortalised by big Hollywood names such as Joan Crawford and Greta Garbo, who were often seen wearing citrine necklaces and earrings, today natural citrine jewellery is certainly a highly sought item.
Citrine, a variety of Quartz, derives its name from the French word for “lemon”. In ancient times the gemstone was believed to protect the wearer from snake bites and evil thoughts. The Romans were also known to use the gemstone for creating citrine necklaces. More recently, citrine became a popular gemstone in the 19th century and during the Art Deco period between the two World Wars. Many big Hollywood names of the time could be seen wearing citrine jewellery, such as Joan Crawford and Greta Garbo.
Citrine earrings are perhaps the most popular form of jewellery to utilise the gemstone, being the stone of choice for 13th and 17th wedding anniversaries. Citrine engagement rings are also a common choice amongst newlyweds.
Naturally occurring citrine is exceptionally rare, and is mined in only a number of locations throughout the world, with the most important deposits currently mined in Brazil. Madagascar, Scotland, Spain and Burma also contain natural deposits that are mined for commercial use.
Natural citrine is always a pale yellow and this often causes confusion amongst buyers, as much of the citrine on the market tends to exhibit a rich, golden colour instead. This is because most commercially available citrine is actually Amethyst that has been heat treated, and these tend to be more golden and orange in colour. Naturally-occurring citrine does not undergo any treatment. As a result, it is normal for natural citrine to exhibit some degree of colour zoning and this is considered acceptable for commercial use.
The gemstone is often cut into a number of shapes however, including faceted, but can also be shaped and polished.
Citrine is one of the many different varieties of Quartz formed within the Continental Crust of the Earth. Natural citrine is a pale yellow and gets its colour from traces of iron in its structure. Naturally-occurring citrine is always worth considerably more than the processed variety, commanding a far higher price. The value of a natural citrine gemstone is always determined by its colour, clarity and lustre. Vibrant, deep yellows are particularly rare for naturally-occurring citrine and considered exceptionally fine specimens. Naturally-occurring citrine should also exhibit a perfect transparency.
Citrine, being a variety of Quartz, has a placement of 7 on the Mohs Scale. While this indicates that it is a reasonably hardy gemstone, if it contains impurities then its placement on the scale tends to be lower.
Citrine, like many other gemstones, is susceptible to accumulations of grime caused by regular wearing. To ensure jewellery containing citrine remains in perfect condition, a simple solution of water and mild washing-up detergent can be used to clean the gemstone.
As a birthstone, citrine shares the month November with Topaz. The stone belongs to no one sign of the Zodiac, but it is traditionally believed by astrologers that both Virgo and Scorpio benefit from wearing citrine.