Citrine is the transparent, yellow to brownish variety of quartz; the crystalline mineral composed of silicon and oxygen atoms. Citrine’s name derives from the Old French citrin, meaning ‘yellow-coloured’. With natural citrine rare in nature, most of the time the tawny-hued gem arrives on the market as a result of heat treatment which causes pale violet amethyst to transition to an appealing yellow.
The finest citrine is a saturated yellow-to-reddish orange, free of brown tints. That said, even citrine of the highest calibre bears an affordable price tag. Scoring a 7 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness, citrine is reasonably durable. This practical trait, along with its attractive shade and the affordability it shares with most other quartzes, make citrine the top-selling yellow-to-orange gem; a cheaper and more accessible alternative to topaz and yellow sapphire. Even large citrine gems remain pleasingly affordable, as its price per carat doesn’t rise dramatically for larger sizes.
Most of the world’s citrine originates in Brazil. Here, giant, hollow, crystal-lined amethyst geodes are often heated to create ‘citrine cathedrals’. Nearby in Bolivia, amethyst and citrine colours can occur together in the same crystal. These wacky yellow and purple gems are known as ametrine.
People have enjoyed quartz crystals for thousands of years. Egyptians gathered ornately striped agates from the shore and used them as talismans (protecting charms that bring good fortune); the Ancient Greeks carved crystals into ornaments that glistened like frost; and Roman pontiffs donned rings set with huge purple amethysts. The earliest known citrine possessions date back to the Victorian times, though it’s not hard to imagine that citrine was treasured even further back in time than that.
Citrine is thought to symbolise vigour, loyalty and optimism; the latter of which is vital for many of us at this dark and increasingly cold time of year! In years past, our ancestors regarded the transparent yellow gem as the protector from snake venom, noxious reptiles and the plague – also using it to drive away evil thoughts, negative energy and lack of self-esteem. Citrine is also associated with wealth and prosperity, and so is referred to as the ‘Merchant Stone’.
If you know somebody who could do with a mood boost or a stroke of good fortune this November (and yes, that ‘somebody’ could very well be you!), why not give the uplifting gift of citrine? The cheery gemstone can be found in our Amulets of Harmony collection and our Gemstone Stacking rings, as well as our selection of loose gemstones waiting to be worked into bespoke creations. With a range of lemon hues and cuts to choose from, you could work with us to craft your very own good luck charm, utterly unique and ethical.