Stone Info & Mining
Citrine—the transparent, pale yellow to brownish orange variety of quartz—is rare in nature. In the days before modern gemology, its tawny color caused it to be confused with topaz. Citrine’s attractive color, plus the durability and affordability it shares with most other quartzes, makes it the top-selling yellow-to-orange gem. The finest citrine color is a saturated yellow to reddish orange free of brownish tints. Citrine crystals occur in a wide range of sizes, and citrine sizes up to 20 carats are readily available in jewelry.
Legend & Lore
People have used quartz in jewelry for thousands of years. Egyptians gathered ornately striped agates from the shore and used them as talismans, the ancient Greeks carved rock crystal ornaments that glistened like permafrost, and the hands of Roman pontiffs bore rings set with huge purple amethysts. Natural citrine is rare, and today most citrine quartz is the result of heat treatment of amethyst quartz. Even so, gems from the Victorian era have surfaced, and it’s not hard to imagine that citrine was treasured even in earlier times.
Citrine’s attractive color, plus the durability and affordability it shares with most other quartzes, makes it the top-selling yellow-to-orange gem. A saturated yellow to reddish orange color free of brownish tints is prized in citrine, although in the contemporary market, citrine’s most popular shade is an earthy hue—a deep brownish or reddish orange.
Citrine can be safely cleaned with warm, soapy water. Ultrasonic cleaners are usually safe except in the rare instances where a stone is dyed or treated by fracture filling. Steam cleaning is not recommended, as citrine should not be subjected to heat.
This information was excerpted from GIA's Gem Encyclopedia with permission from GIA.