Like the topaz, citrine is found in all the shades of yellow from the palest cream to the deep, rich tones of orange and salmon. An expression of sunlight, citrine is said to energize those who wear it, brightening their lives with prosperity and creativity. Worn around the throat, the citrine brings the gift of clear vision, penetrating deception and bringing the truth to light. It stimulates clarity of thought, as well as inspiring generosity, strength and inner confidence. All earthly pleasures are said to come to those who wear the sunlight stone, for it brings the favor of the gods of the sun in nearly every ancient tradition.
Citrine is quartz crystals whose color stems from iron impurities in the stone. With a Mohs hardness rating of only 6.5 to 7, citrine is considerably softer than topaz. It lacks the quality of cleavage – the ability for a stone to be split perfectly along one of its axes by a single blow, making resistant to chipping.
Citrine is a golden yellow form of quartz that is the birthstone for November. It takes its name from the French word for lemon, citron. Bright, clear and affordable, it’s a popular alternative to topaz for which it is sometimes mistaken.
Citrine has been used for ornamentation since at least the fourth century BC, and was often used by the Romans in intaglio and other jewelry uses. The color comes from the presence of iron in the quartz. The higher the concentration of iron, the deeper is the color of the stone. Citrine is mined all over the world, and often occurs near deposits of amethyst, which is also a form of quartz.
Citrine Buying Guide
The relative availability of citrine makes it a very affordable stone. In the past, the darker tones of citrine, particularly Madeira (red) citrine, were considered more valuable, but these days the clear lemon yellows are more in favor. When shopping for citrine, look for high clarity and deep, rich color that saturates the stone evenly. Since the stone is so light, inclusions show up easily if you examine the stone under good lighting conditions.
All the general guidelines for caring for gemstone jewelry apply to citrines. It can be damaged by sharp blows and harsh chemicals, so both should be avoided. Likewise, it should not be cleaned with sonic cleaners.
Remove citrine jewelry before doing chores that might put it in danger of being struck by sharp blows. Clean frequently with a soft cloth to avoid buildup of body oils, dust and grease that will dull the stone’s clarity.
Cleaning Citrine Jewelry
Citrine jewelry can be cleaned at home in a mild solution of dishwashing soap and water. Soak the jewelry piece for ten to twenty minutes, then scrub gently with a soft toothbrush. Use a toothpick if necessary to get into hard to reach places. Dry carefully with a soft cloth before wearing or storing citrine jewelry.
Storing Citrine Jewelry
Like amethyst, its quartz cousin, citrine is vulnerable to being scratched by other gems and metals. To avoid damage, wrap citrine jewelry in a soft cloth or its own box rather than dropping it loose into your jewelry box.