Yellow is not a colour found often in gemstones – except when it comes to citrine. A member of the quartz family, citrine is named after the lemon fruit that its colour often resembles. Although this gemstone’s colour range can vary from the palest yellow to deep browns and reds, the most recognizable specimens of the crystal often take on these stunning lemon hues.
Myths and Mysteries in Citrine’s History
The Ancient Greeks and Romans prized citrine for its colour’s connection to the sun. The gem symbolized youth and health, and was often given as a gift in the form of jewellery or engraved figurines. The Ancient Celts and Scots believed that the gem protected against viper venom – and even against evil thoughts. Citrine eventually earned the nickname of “the merchant stone” because its golden colour was thought to bring wealth to the stone’s owner.
Citrine fell out of fashion as a jewellery material over the years, but came back into favor during the 19th century. Queen Victoria of England developed a fascination with all things Scottish, and began to wear citrine jewellery to emulate traditional Scottish designs. Its popularity truly flourished during the years between World War I and World War II, when it often figured prominently in art deco jewellery. Many Hollywood starlets of the era reached the height of glamour wearing large and intricate jewellery pieces set with citrine gems.
Where Does the Gemstone Citrine Come From?
Citrine is a relatively rare variety of quartz, but natural deposits in mines are found around the world. Brazil is currently the top source for citrine, but Scotland, Argentina, Myanmar, and Spain also boast rich deposits of the crystal. Because of the gemstone’s rarity, some of the citrine currently on the market is actually made by heating the more commonly found smoky quartz or low-grade amethyst to very high temperatures. This heat causes the stones to change colour until they fall within the citrine range. However, these treated stones never reach the bright yellow and pale lemon shades of true natural citrine, and all heat-treated citrine stones have a reddish tint.
Citrine as an Alternative Birthstone
The November birthstone is usually listed as topaz, but citrine is often considered to be the alternate November birthstone – and occasionally as the true November birthstone. Citrine and topaz share a yellow hue, although topaz tends to be much browner than its quartz cousin, so both gemstones are appropriate for the fall birthdays that they represent. In fact, citrine and topaz often look so similar that the quartz can be mistaken for the much more valuable topaz.
Citrine also signifies the 13th wedding anniversary, and couples may choose to present each other with gifts made of the beautiful and rare crystal.
Caring for Your Citrine Jewellery
Citrine is naturally a resilient gemstone, and holds up well against everyday wear and tear. The main risk with citrine is that its colour may fade if the stone is exposed to too much heat. Because of this, you don’t want to leave it out in the sun for too long, and it should never be steam cleaned. So, how do you keep your citrine jewellery sparkling? Plain soap and water. Simple and inexpensive.
Citrine Gemstones Today
Because most citrine is today created from inexpensive varieties of quartz, the gemstone remains one of the more budget-friendly options for women in search of vibrantly coloured designer jewellery. It’s a natural choice for all types of pieces, including:
You don’t have to be born in November to appreciate the unique appeal of this yellow crystal. The citrine gemstone is truly a fashionable and beautiful jewellery choice for any woman.