Citrine is one of the most popular yellow gems available and the rarest in the quartz family. Its colour ranges from pale lemon to deep gold and is very rare in nature, with much of the citrine on the market heat treated to enhance its colour. While most of the world's supply is mined in the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul, smaller quantities of citrine are found in Russia, France and Madagascar.
- Colour/Yellow to orange
- Moh's Hardness/7
Natural citrine is very rare. Most of it is amethyst (made of the same quartz mineral) that is heat treated for colour. The original hue of the amethyst will determine the colour of the citrine after treatment. Citrine grows in a large crystal, meaning gems around 20 carats are readily available, and its affordability and durability makes it popular on the market. In terms of clarity, most of the citrine available is eye clean and inclusions are not typically seen without magnification.
Citrine has often been connected to success and prosperity and is sometimes called the 'Merchant's Stone' for this reason. Part of the quartz family, this mineral has been used in jewellery for thousands of years and was very rare until recently, when heat treatment made it more readily available. Throughout history, the ancient Romans used natural citrine and it was also popular in the 19th century. The Art Deco period saw a boom in citrine due to newly sourced rough material from Brazil and Uruguay being sent by expatriate gem cutters back to Idar Oberstein in Germany.
Being 7 on the Moh's scale of hardness, citrine is considered a good gem for jewellery but must be worn with care. It can be scratched and chipped if handled roughly, so be careful to avoid any hard impacts or knocks. Citrine can fade with prolonged intense light exposure so store it in a dark place; also avoid acids and abrasive materials, and extreme heat changes. It can be cleaned professionally with an ultrasonic cleaner. To safely clean at home, soak your citrine jewellery in warm soapy water, use a soft toothbrush to dislodge dirt and grime, and rinse clean.