Buying a citrine? Here’s what you need to know

For centuries, citrine has been used by jewelry makers to provide excellent pieces because of its exquisite color and large size, among other characteristics. Through the years it has maintained its place in the jewelry world and is a necessity to have in your jewelry box. Finding the perfect piece to fit with your collection might be where the challenge begins. With endless options and possibilities, shopping for citrine jewelry can quickly go from being an enjoyable experience to an incredibly confusing experience. In this shopping guide to citrine, I will go through some of the top tips to be aware of when on the hunt for your perfect piece of citrine jewelry. Before we get started on that, it is important to understand how citrine is made and what it is made of.

Natural unheated citrine yellow

Where does citrine come from?

Quartz comes in a wide array of colors one of which is the pale yellow to brownish color that is citrine. Citrine is the name given to this specific variation of quartz and is a prized gemstone for many reasons including, but not limited to its cost, availability, and beautiful color. In order to understand how citrine is made we must first look at how the crystal quartz is formed. Quartz is a mineral made up of silicon and oxygen. It forms at high temperatures as magma cools and can often be found residing amidst other rock formations. Citrine is formed when a small amount of iron is also present as the quartz is formed. This iron gives the citrine its yellow to brown hue.

Due to the rarity of citrine, often times smoky quartz or purple amethyst will be heat treated to achieve the desired yellow brown hue of citrine. Citrine, while not quite as readily available as it once was in nature, it can be found primarily in South America in the mountainous regions of Brazil and Bolivia. Primarily today, due to this rarity, it is man made by taking another form of quartz and heat treating it to achieve the ideal yellow brown color.

Citrine shopping tips

Shopping for citrine can be overwhelming. It is important to educate yourself with the facts and do your research before embarking on the journey of owning your own citrine. Below we will talk about the various facts to be aware of when shopping for citrine. Using this guide, you will learn about the many cuts, and colors of citrine and also what to look for in terms of clarity and carat. You will understand how to be aware of imitation citrine and protect yourself from investing in a piece that is not worth what you paid. Citrine can be an amazing addition to your jewelry collection and using this guide is your first step to finding the perfect piece for you.

Tip 1: Understand the four C’s of citrine

Like all gemstone, there are four main factors that you should take into account when shopping for your ideal piece of jewelry. These four factors are Color, Cut, Clarity and Carat. Each are important and can add or detract from the value of your stone. Below we will walk through each factor and explain what to look for when shopping for Citrine.

Citrine colorUncut citrine

Color is probably the most important thing to take into account when shopping for citrine. It is the yellow-brown color that classifies the stone as citrine. Citrine is the yellow brown form of quartz, which comes in a variety of colors from light pink called ‘Rose Quartz to a deep grey called ‘Smoky Quartz’. The color can vary slightly from a semi translucent yellow, to a rich deep brown. This variation in color is determined by the amount of iron present when the crystal is forming but can also be related to the process of heat treating a different variation of quartz to achieve that ideal citrine color. The most desirable color of a citrine is a rich brownish orange color with semi transparency. A citrine in this color slightly resembles the common color of amber and can be pricey. Citrine in a more yellow hue can be quite valuable as well, as it resembles a yellow diamond or topaz. The color you chose is completely dependent on the color you feel best fits your needs and lifestyle.

Amethyst versus Citrine

Amethyst is the bright, powerful, violet form of quartz which citrine is the delicate, lovely yellow orange, brown form of quartz. As amethyst is often heated to create citrine, it is to be expected that a combination stone is now rising to the surface. Ametrine is a combination of citrine and amethyst and combines some of the beautiful violet amethyst shades and the light, bright golden color of citrine.

Citrine cuts

Citrine can be cut in a variety of ways. From traditional to experimental, the cut of the stone is something that must be chosen by the buyer. Citrine is among one of the easier gemstones to cut and shape and therefore you, as the buyer, can get creative with your desires. Perhaps you want a traditional princess cut to showcase the stones light reflection, or maybe you lean more towards a citrine that has been carved or shaped into a unique piece. In order to properly educate yourself on which cut you desire most, do some research and observe the various shapes you are drawn to. Below you will find listed several common cuts for many gemstones including citrine.

Princess Cut: The princess cut is a large square cut which expertly showcases a stones color and light reflection.

Marquise Cut: This is a multi-faceted cut ideal for rings and earrings.

Oval Cut: This is a very common cut which is simple, yet elegant.

Trillion: This unique cut is a show stopper, utilizing the color and light reflection of the stone for an interesting triangular cut.

Citrine clarity

Clarity of citrine refers to the number of visible inclusion present in the stone. Many gemstones will have the slight presence of other materials included under the surface of the stone. This is common and usually does not deplete the value. With citrine however, inclusions are incredibly rare. If there are inclusions present in your citrine the value will decrease. When shopping for your citrine, be sure to take a very close look at your stone under a strong light or in the sunlight to be sure you do not see any visible inclusions. These inclusions will appear as a small blemish or particle under the surface of the stone. Taking a good look at the stone will also aide you in determining the authenticity of your stone and verifying that you are not spending money on an imitation citrine.

Citrine carat

The size and weight of the gemstone it also referred to as the carat. Due to the abundance of quartz found on earth (also the fact that amethyst can be heat treated to produce citrine), it is not challenging to find large, rough versions of citrine at low costs and you can acquire these large stones at many crystal or new age shops. A polished and expertly cut piece of citrine will be more expensive, but it is not challenging to find these finished pieces in larger sizes as well.

Tip 2: Find the citrine jewelry you love

Citrine has been utilized in jewelry for centuries. Due to its beautiful color and its ability to glam up any outfit in a variety of settings with a variety of different materials, it is versatile and loved.

You can find citrine shining alone as a large pendant or paired with other colorful gemstones to create a vibrant statement. Below we have listed several various types of jewelry and the ways each can display a citrine.

Citrine necklacesCitrine necklace

Necklaces can be a great way to showcase the immense beauty of a citrine. Due to the fact that you can often find larger sized citrine stones, this gemstone works great as a large pendant. Large rough stones can be a unique new age way to display the stone, while a smaller polished and cut piece may be a more classic look. Necklaces come in a variety of lengths from chokers to ropes so be sure to try on a necklace before purchase to ensure you get a length that works for your lifestyle. One of my current favourite looks is a medium sized, raw citrine which has been wrapped in sterling wire. The combination of silver and bright orange is one I love to see.

Citrine bracelets

Bracelets oftentimes require smaller stones than a necklace might require. A large silver cuff with a citrine inlaid could be an awesome bohemian statement piece. For a quieter piece, combine citrine with another gemstone to create a simple and sophisticated tennis bracelet.

Citrine earringsA pair of yellow citrine earrings

Another great way to show off your citrine is through an elegant pair of earrings. Citrine can be displayed as a simple stud or as more elaborate hoop earrings. Some of the most beautiful citrine I have seen was a simple silver wire wrapped stone which hung just down below the earlobe. I have browsed a great deal of citrine earrings and find that small citrine in a gold setting always catch my attention. Pairing citrine with gold creates an amazing soft and warm feeling that is harder to accomplish with silver.

Citrine ringsCitrine and diamond ring

Citrine is a really good gemstone for rings, especially cocktail rings. Often paired with sterling and diamonds, the citrine takes center stage with its beautiful color and expert cuts which reflect light beautifully. Due to the beauty of many of these more colorful gemstones, engagement rings utilizing a stone other than diamond is on the rise.

Citrine engagement rings are making their mark in the world of engagement rings with unique settings, durability, and often time, lower costs.

Tip 3: Don’t be fooled by imitation citrine

It is important to be wary of imitation citrine. It is possible for some to attempt to trick you by using colored glass rather than an actual citrine. A great way to tell is to look at your stone in the light. If you see any visible inclusions or air bubbles, your stone is not authentic. A more accurate way to determine the validity of your stone would be by taking your stone to a jeweller where they can give you an accurate, truthful appraisal.

Tip 4: Citrine heat treatmentCitrine cluster

It is important to discuss heat treatments in reference to citrine. Naturally occurring citrine is so rare, that often times smoky quartz or amethyst will be heat treated to get the desired yellow brown color that buyers love. It is easy to determine whether your stone is a natural citrine or a citrine made by heat treatment. The first thing to look for is a splotchy or patchy coloring. A heat treated citrine will have darker tips with the color receding down from there. A characteristic of a naturally occurring stone, and another thing to look for when trying to determine if your stone has been heat treated, is the presence of dichroic coloring. A natural citrine will often times be dichroic meaning different colors are visible from different angles. This is something that heat treated citrine will not possess.

Tip 5: Be sure to shop around

Shopping for citrine can be a daunting process, especially if you have a very specific idea as to what you are looking for. My suggestions are to keep an open mind and to shop around. Visiting a jewelry store in person can give you a good idea as to the style, setting, and size you may like best. Shopping online, however, can give you endless choices with the ability to be very specific in your desires and most likely find the exact piece you desire. Shopping online will enable you to shop within a specific budget and style while shopping in person comes with a certain guarantee of authenticity. It also gives you the freedom to potentially exchange or return a piece that didn’t end up fitting into your lifestyle.

Tip 6: Caring for your citrine

Now that you have found the perfect piece, let’s talk a little about how to take care of your stone.

Caring for your citrine is an important thing to learn about because improper care can cause the stone to grow dull and lead to a loss in value. To clean your stone simply use a small, soft bristle toothbrush, a small amount of a gentle soap such as baby soap, and lukewarm water. Gently scrub your stone and the setting off with the brush and the soap and rinse thoroughly. If you feel your stone is still dirty or simply isn't shining as vibrantly as you would like, visit a jewelry store where they can professionally clean your stone. Another great tip to preserving your stones value is to store it apart from your other gemstones. Citrine is rated a 7 on the mohs hardness scale which is fairly hard and can damage some of your softer gemstones such as pearl. However, it is not quite as hard as a diamond and could therefore be damaged by one if stored together.

Symbology in citrine

I feel it is important to understand the deeper meaning behind your stone and some of the properties it may exude upon the wearer. Citrine, due to its yellow orange color, is often thought to hold the properties of the sun. It is the stone of imagination and generosity, prosperity and abundance. This stone is said to create an abundance in your own life and give you the generosity to share this with others.

While shopping for citrine can be overwhelming, with research and knowledge, you are sure to make the right decision, finding a piece that fits into your lifestyle and jewelry collection with ease. Using these top tips for shopping, you have taken the first step to finding your ideal piece.