What is Citrine?
November’s birthstone, a continual ray of sunshine.
Stunning, vibrant and glowing yellow, this gemstone has a warm, tantalising tone that seems to have magically captured the last glow of a sunset. Quality Citrine can brighten up even the dreariest of winter days. Though its name suggests a bright yellow - its name is derived from the French word for “lemon” - it is the slightly darker, almost pale orange colours that are most highly prized.
As Citrine is a member of the Quartz family, it is also sometimes referred to as Citrine Quartz. Along with Topaz it forms the birthstone of November and is also recognised as the gemstone to celebrate the 17th wedding anniversary.
History, folklore and legends of Citrine are interwoven with that of Yellow Topaz, as throughout the centuries Citrine was often wrongly identified as Topaz. Technically, the difference between the two is a fluorine aluminium silicate. A less scientific differentiation is that Yellow Topaz has a higher refractive index, is slightly more dense and is harder than Citrine. However, unlike Topaz, Citrine does not suffer from cleavage problems, making it ideal for cutting into unusual shapes and for use in bespoke jewellery. In its golden form, the ancients revered the gemstone as a gift of the sun and they considered it a physically powerful antidote to the viper’s venom. The gemstone is thought to have the power to disperse depression and manage anger. If a man wears the gemstone he is thought to become more striking and intellectual. For women, it is said to make her fertile, happy and contented.
The benefits of Citrine are multifaceted. Folklore suggests that the gem can have a cooling effect and can alleviate nocturnal fears. It is also believed that the gem can warn the wearer of illnesses and the presence of poisons, thus protecting from sudden death. As well as remove toxins from the body, it is said to be good for healing the heart, kidneys and liver, as well as aiding digestion. Some Crystal Healers also believe that the gem helps to fight diabetes. Other mystical powers include the ability to calm and soothe and to act as the signature of wisdom and peace.
I believe that approximately 95% of Citrine set into jewellery today comes out of the ground as either Amethyst or Smokey Quartz and through the globally accepted process of heat treatment (the gem is heated to a temperature in excess of 470 degrees), is turned into vibrant Citrine.
In the past, natural Citrine or Yellow Quartz has been discovered in France and Spain, and on the Isle of Arran in Scotland. Nowadays, most of the naturally coloured Citrine on the market is mined in Brazil. If you are trying to find a Citrine whose colour is completely natural, then look for one where the colour is slightly paler and slightly clouded.
With a hardness of 7 on the Mohs scale it is very resistant to scratches and as it does not suffer from any cleavage problems, it is an incredible all-round winner for jewellery designers, and is sure to remain at the forefront of contemporary jewellery for many years to come.