Encyclopedia » Citrine

Citrine

Citrine is a form of quartz with colour ranging from pale-brown to golden-yellow.

Similar to quartz, citrine is usually found in pegmatites or in hydrothermal veins near volcanic areas. Unlike amethyst, however, citrine is rarely found in nature. Most specimens on the market today are heat-treated amethyst or smoky quartz. Some may even have a ‘burnt’ reddish-orange colour due to overheating.

Natural citrine is pale-yellow to brown in colour. The colour is due to minimal amounts of three-valent iron (Fe3+) and ionizing radiation.

Citrine has a vitreous, glossy lustre and a desirable hardness of 7 on the Moh’s scale, making it popular for use in jewellery.

Citrine and amethyst found combined is known as “ametrine”.

Citrine are sometimes mistaken as yellow topaz. Topaz is a much rarer and expensive gemstone. It is difficult to differentiate the two unless tested for its hardness (topaz is 8 on the Moh’s scale), or weighed (topaz is slightly heavier).

Citrine is one of the birthstones for November.

History

The word “citrine” is derived from the Latin word for yellow (citrina) which later led to the French word for lemon (citron). In the past the term was used to refer to a host of yellow-coloured gemstones such as yellow beryl or zircon, and it wasn’t until 1546 that “citrine” was officially assigned to the yellow quartz (Gienger, 269).

Little information is available on the historic uses of citrine due to its rarity in nature. Citrine was not made commercially available until the mid-eighteenth century when it was discovered that common quartz crystals like amethyst or smoky quartz can be heat-treated at 500°C to look like citrine.

Heat-treated citrine began to gain popularity in Europe in the 1930s (ICA Gem Bureau Idar-Oberstein).

Healing Properties

Citrine is known as a stone of happiness and good fortune, bringing warmth and cheerful dispositions to all who near it – like a piece of the sun. A stone of “joie de vivre”.

In a household setting, citrine may be placed in the corner of the room opposite to the entrance, visible to anyone upon entering.

Citrine is also referred to as “The Merchant’s Stone”, bringing about financial good fortune. Some businesses may keep a piece of citrine next to their cashier or wallet.

Physically, the stone is believed to help to stimulate the digestive system in the body, including the stomach, spleen, and pancreas. It may even help to alleviate the early stages of diabetes.

Mentally, the stone is thought to be an aid to understanding first impressions, and to quickly draw conclusions from it. It may also bestow joy and happiness to oneself by dispersing sadness or depression; encourages one to be extroverted and expressive.

Spiritually, the stone is thought to promote individuality, self-confidence, and the courage to enjoy life. Although it helps one become a dynamic person with a desire for variety, it does not create overconfidence, instead creating moments for self-realization (Gienger, 269).

Scientific info

Group: Quartz, oxide
Formula: Silicon dioxide (SiO2 + Al, Fe, Ca, Mg, Li, Na)
Growth: Trigonal (primary)
Appearance: Natural pale yellow, yellow, brown-yellow or heat-treated golden-yellow or orange-red crystals
Hardness (Moh’s Scale): 7
Specific Gravity: 2.63 – 2.65
Mine Locations: Rio Grande do Sol in Brazil, Madagascar, Mexico, Australia, Austria, Germany, Scotland, Spain, Uruguay, United Kingdom, United States
Uses: Jewellery, ornamental

References

Michael Gienger, Crystal Power, Crystal Healing (London: Cassell & Co., 2000), 269.
Peter Darling, Crystal Identifier (New York: Shooting Star Press, Inc., 1996), 102.
ICA Gem Bureau Idar-Oberstein. “Citrine.” Accessed September 16, 2010 <http://www.gemstone.org/gem-by-gem/english/citrine.html>
Mindat.org. “Citrine.” Accessed September 16, 2010 <http://www.mindat.org/min-1054.html>