Gemstones, Birthstones, Gemstone Jewelry

 

Citrine

November Birthstone

Citrine is a member of the biggest gemstone family – Quartz. It enjoys a status of widely used yellow stone in modern jewelry. However, do you know it was highly popular during the Art deco movement, and that it was called the ‘Merchant’s Stone’ by ancient traders? You would also be amazed to know that most of the treated citrine in the market is actually amethyst.

Citrine has a beautiful and glamorous history, some surprising mystical powers and splendid charm, making this gem a curious topic to discover.

Citrine Structure

• This yellow quartz is often found in igneous and metamorphic rocks as gauge minerals in mineral veins. It is mostly found with its purple cousin, amethyst but is rarer than the latter. In fact, many a times, amethyst on overheating turns into citrine. This is the most common way to get citrine these days.

• Citrine also resists weathering, and can be extracted from alluvial soil or gravels.

• Rio Grande do sol state in southern Brazil is the largest supplier of the stone. In olden days when citrine was confused with topaz, it was usually called Brazilian Topaz due to the availability of the gem in this region.

• It is also found in Colorado, North Carolina and California in the U.S., along with a worldwide availability in regions like Spain, Africa, France, Britain, Madagascar and the Soviet Union.

• As quartz is colorless and transparent in its pure form, all the colored quartz including citrine is the results of chemical impurities.

• Citrine’s yellow color is a result of iron impurities during the crystal formation.

Citrine Properties

• The color of citrine ranges from pastel lemon yellow to intense reddish brown and bright amber. Golden or fiery yellow-orange is the most desirable color. Madeira citrine with deep brandy color and Palmeira citrine with perfect orange-amber color are some expensive varieties of the gem.

• The best faceted citrines were those from 1930’s when many skilled gem cutters from Idar-Oberstein in Germany were moved to Brazil and Uruguay. While being on the foreign land, these cutters had sent large quantities of the warm colored stone to their homeland for cutting and fashioning.

• Today, citrine is cut in the same way as amethyst. It can be found in various shapes such as round, oval, princess, trillion and cushion with cuts varying from emerald-cut to sugarloaf cut and checker board.

• Citrines often receive heat treatment to enhance the color and clarity. Commercially, amethysts are heat treated to make citrine. The stones are heated between a temperature of 876 degrees Fahrenheit and 1040 degrees Fahrenheit to get the desired citrine color. It requires great skills to achieve the desired hue.

Citrine Care

• It is a relatively soft stone so it needs to be protected from any scratching or chipping. It is advisable to wear citrine jewelry especially rings more carefully.

• The stone is sensitive to heat and sunlight. Prolonged exposure to sunlight or high temperature could alter the color of the gem.

• When cleaning, remember to use commercial jewelry cleaner and warm water.

Citrine History

The historical usages of citrine were associated with Greece where the stone was popular as a decorative piece from 300 to 150 B.C. during the Hellenistic Age.

Citrine was among the twelve stones studded in the breastplate of High Priest Aaron as stated in the book of Exodus. It was also mentioned in the Roman Catholic and Latin versions of the Old Testament where the gem was called ‘chrysolitus’, which means golden stone. The boom of citrine jewelry came in late 19th and early 20th centuries with the rise of Art Deco movement. Its charming golden hues were good to complement the designs of the period, so the stone was largely used for bold statement rings, and intricately