What Is Citrine?

by Ultimate Jewelry Guide
What Is Citrine?

Love sunshine yellow, lively colors and bright hues? If you said yes to any of these, then ‘Citrine’ is your gem. Shining with a golden glow, the sunny exuberance and vibrant aura of citrine is reminiscent of fall leaves and autumnal season.

Affordable and fashionable, this gem combines an attractive hue with a moderate price- an unbeatable combination for the discerning customers. The greatest allure to this gem remains its legendary history and how past and present cultures value its mystical properties.

Today, this ‘November Birthstone’ is favored by designers, collectors, and artists, who use citrine to create stunning jewelry, beads, carvings and pieces of art. It is also a preferred gift for the 13th wedding anniversary and anyone born under the Gemini sign.

In this blog, we explore everything you need to know about Citrine- its meaning, symbolism, properties, sources, value factors, famous pieces and proper care and cleaning.

What Is Citrine?

Citrine is a variety of the prolific quartz family, and the top selling yellow to orange gem. It has an attractive lustre and excellent clarity, and is considered a semi-precious stone in the trade.

The name citrine comes from the French word “Citron” and Latin “Citrus”, meaning ‘lemon-colored’. The term ‘Citrine’ was used only after 1556. Up until then, the stone had been known only as yellow quartz.

Interestingly, naturally colored citrine is rare, despite quartz being one of the most abundant gem.

Most citrine available in the market is a result of heat treatment of Amethyst and Smoky quartz.

Citrine is a cousin chemically to the amethyst. In fact, some quartz displays a gorgeous mashup of yellow and purple is aptly called as ‘Ametrine’.

What Does Citrine Symbolise?

Treasured since the days of ancient Greek and Roman, citrine has been used extensively in jewelry, adornments, talismans, and carvings. Regarded as a spiritual stone with talismanic & healing properties, citrine is said to represent courage, joy, vitality, success and creativity. 

For centuries, citrine has been said to possess the potency of the sun with restorative powers for the body and soul. It has plenty of healing properties for both emotional and physical ailments and and is one of only two crystals which do not need to be recharged or purified.

Citrine is called as ‘Merchant’s stone’, since it has energies of fortune, wealth and abundance.

It is a premier gemstone of imagination, manifestation and will power, that repels negative energy. It is thought to boost awareness & self-esteem and instills confidence to fight back against phobias. 

Commonly dubbed the ‘feel better stone’, citrine can help calm you when you’re overwhelmed with anxiety or stress. 

It is regarded as a great balancing stone that boosts mental clarity, and helps you make good decisions in life.

Gemological Properties Of Citrine

There are certain key gemological properties of citrine as follows, which readily separate it from other imitations or simulants.

Species Quartz
Refractive Index (R.I)1.54-1.55
Optic CharacterDoubly Refractive (uniaxial)
Specific Gravity (S.G)2.66
Hardness (Mohs scale)7

Where Is Citrine Found?

Citrine can be found in alluvial deposits or in geodes in several places worldwide. 

Top sources for natural citrine are Bolivia (Anahi), Spain, Madagascar, Mexico, Malawi, Uruguay, USA, Zambia and Namibia.

Amethyst that is heat-treated to a citrine color is mostly from Brazil.

How To Grade Citrine’s Quality

While determining the value of citrine, various factors are taken into consideration, such as-


Most of us think citrine to be a lemon colored gemstone. But interestingly, it is available in several shades of yellow to orange.  The stunning colors of citrine come from the traces of iron impurities within the quartz crystalline structure.

In the contemporary market, citrine’s most popular color shade is an earthy brownish or reddish orange color. The most expensive color of citrine is a saturated, free of brownish tint, golden orange shade called ‘Madeira’.


Citrine is generally eye clean i.e., it lacks visible inclusions. Eye visible inclusions are uncommon in citrine, but if they are present they decrease its value.

Since perfectly clear citrine is relatively easy to find, you don’t need to sacrifice on quality

or buy stones with prominent inclusions.


Citrine is one of the few stones that can be turned into tiny work of art in the hands of a master cutter using creative faceting styles and techniques.

Most citrine is faceted in rounds and fancy shapes, but also into more unusual cuts and carvings.

A precisely cut and polished citrine has an attractive lustre, brilliance and sparkle, with no dull, or washed out areas.


In the vast majority of citrine used in jewelry, the color is obtained by heat treatment of amethyst at approx. 450 degrees Celsius.

Most natural citrine is light yellow in colour, but with a relatively low temperature change, treated stones can yield golden yellows.

Cobalt 60 has also been used as a source for irradiation of colorless rock crystal quartz resulting in greenish yellow citrine known in the trade as ‘Lemon quartz’.

How To Care For Citrine

Citrine is a fairly durable gemstone with a hardness of 7 on the Mohs scale, endowing it with the ability to be set into any piece of jewelry.

While it is strong enough to withstand daily wear and resist scratches, it is still important to take care and avoid sharp blows to the stone, otherwise it might just break or chip.

It is recommended to store your citrine in a fabric lined box to keep them from getting scratched by harder gems.

Although citrine’s color is stable, avoid exposure to high heat and store it away from direct sunlight.

Steam cleaning is also not recommended as citrine should not be subjected to heat.

Citrine should be safely cleaned in an ultrasonic cleaner or with warm water, mild soap and a soft bristle brush.

Use Of Citrine In Jewelry


Prized for its sunny appearance and pleasant warm hue, citrine can add a touch of sunshine to any jewellery collection.

Citrine is favored in sophisticated designs because of the availability of larger carat weights, wide variety of sizes and shapes, affordability, and lovely golden shades.

Jewelry designers use citrine either alone or in combination with diamonds & multicolored gems with contrasting colors such as amethyst, topaz, peridot, etc.

Citrine matches yellow gold beautifully and also stands out against white gold or sterling silver. 


The rich earth tones of citrine complement most outfits and can also suit neutrals.

Looking for something stunning yet minimalistic? Use citrine as a pendant or a ring and pair it with any outfit and you are ready to shine!

Famous Citrine Jewels

The Malaga Citrine 

Malaga Citrine is the world’s largest faceted citrine on record. 

It weighs an astonishing 20,200 carats (more than 8 pounds). It measures 20 x 15 x 10 cm. 

This oval cut gem possess exceptional color, clarity and transparency.

Smithsonian’s Largest Citrine

Sourced in Bahia, Brazil, the 19,747 carats, modified marquese shaped citrine is the largest faceted citrine in the Smithsonian’s national gem collection.

It was faceted by Michael Gray and acquired for the collection in 2013.

The Jolie Citrine Necklace

The famed Jolie Citrine Necklace is an exciting citrine exhibit in the Smithsonian museum.

It features a 177.11 carat pear shaped citrine drop and is further complemented by 64 graduated bezel set cushion cut citrines, all set in 18 karat yellow gold. 

Suzanne Belperron’s Cuff

A stylish gold cuff bracelet by Suzanne Belperron embellished with a rectangular brilliant cut 160-carat citrine and flanked by two trapeze cut citrines, sold for $120,000 at Fortuna auction house in 2018.

Joan Crawford’s Jewelry

Joan Crawford’s spectacular suite of jewelry set with 350 carats of citrine, which the actress commissioned in 1940 is a stunning example of the bold dramatic citrine jewels of the period. The suite sold at Sotheby’s auction for $56,000 in 2012.

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