Citrine has been one of the most popular gemstones for centuries and continues to be highly sought after even today. Easily recognized for its vivid yellow color, this affordable gemstone makes for beautiful and eye-catching jewelry.
In this guide, we’ll take a look at everything you need to know to help you buy your own citrine jewelry.
What is Citrine?
The word citrine comes from the French citron meaning lemon, even though the stone isn’t exactly lemon yellow in color. Citrine is a variety of quartz, one of the most common minerals on the planet that comes in a variety of colors. It refers to the quartz variety that ranges from a faint yellow to a deep brownish hue. Citrine gets its hue from the presence of iron during the formation of the quartz.
Of all semi-precious gemstones, citrine is the second most sought-after (after blue topaz). While citrine remains a relatively affordable gemstone with very high demand, it’s quite rare in nature. As a result, the less expensive smoky quartz and purple amethyst are commonly heat treated to look like citrine.
Citrine deposits are getting increasingly rare with most of the world’s supply coming from the mountainous regions of Brazil and Bolivia.
How Do I Evaluate Citrine?
Like all gemstones, there are four main factors that you should take into account when shopping for your ideal piece of citrine – color, cut, clarity, and carat. Each is important and can add or detract from the value of your stone.
Citrine’s color is what distinguishes it from other gemstones and makes it easily identifiable. As a result, color is the most important factor when shopping for a citrine.
Due to the rarity of natural citrine, much of the citrine found on the market today has been heat treated to achieve the desired color. Heated citrine generally tends to display reddish tints.
Citrine is commonly faceted to bring out its light performance and add depth to its appearance. It can sometimes be cut en cabochon to emphasize its smooth surface, but this is rarer in jewelry.
Citrine can also be carved into various shapes and figures. This makes citrine a very versatile gemstone, much like jade. As a result, unique and stylish designs can be created out of citrine.
Clarity refers to the number of visible inclusions present within the stone. Citrine can sometimes contain inclusions, but this is quite rare.
As it’s a Type 2 gemstone, citrine has excellent clarity with most stones free of any visible inclusions. Any imperfections in citrine can decrease the value of the stone. Retailers should disclose the clarity grade of the citrine.
When looking to buy a citrine, inspect the stone carefully from all angles for visible inclusions. If possible, check it under a few different light sources. Eye-clean stones are always considered the best, but you can sometimes take advantage of lower prices by looking for a stone with hidden imperfections.
Citrine comes in a variety of sizes but in general, citrine doesn’t increase in value with the increase in carat size. While it’s possible to find large sizes of the stone, note that these are almost always heat-treated amethyst and hardly ever natural citrine.
Citrine Gemstone Durability
Citrine has a hardness rating of 7 which makes it a rather soft gemstone. It can easily get scratched if bumped or rubbed against other objects. However, citrine has very good toughness, meaning that it doesn’t chip or break easily.
If taken care of, citrine can last a very long time. While they are ideal for pendants and earrings, citrine isn’t the best gemstone in rings or bracelets for daily wear as these are subject to high exposure.
Citrine and Amethyst: Ametrine
Amethyst is the most popular purple gemstone and one of the most famous of the quartz gemstone family. Because amethyst is abundantly found in nature, it is inexpensive and not considered a valuable gemstone. When amethyst is subject to various heat treatments, its color can be manipulated to turn into the golden hues of citrine.
When amethyst and citrine are formed together in nature, it creates ametrine. This is a hybrid gemstone that showcases both the vivid purple of amethyst and the yellow of citrine. Ametrine is extremely rare and simply stunning in appearance.
Citrine is quite versatile and adds a pop of color to any outfit. Depending on the design of the jewelry, citrine can be made into minimalist pieces or dramatic, statement jewelry.
Necklaces can be a great way to showcase the beauty of a citrine. Because 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.
Bracelets oftentimes require smaller stones than a necklace might require. A large silver cuff with 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.
Another great way to show off your citrine is through an elegant pair of earrings. Citrine can be displayed as a simple stud for a casual look, or in a chandelier or drop earrings for more of a statement.
Citrine is not a very hard stone (Mohs 7) and isn’t ideal for daily wear. Due to this, citrine isn’t the best choice when it comes to engagement rings.
However, if your heart is set on a citrine engagement ring, ensure that it is set in a protective setting like a halo or a bezel and keep it away from rough exposure.
When paired with diamonds or other colorless gemstones, citrine takes center stage, and its beautiful color is emphasized.
Citrine also makes for excellent cocktails and stackable rings. It’s quite versatile and can be styled in many ways.
Watch Out for Imitation Citrine
Sometimes other less valuable materials can be passed off as citrine. One common citrine imitator is glass.
A great way to tell is to look at your stone in the light. If you see any visible inclusions or air bubbles, your citrine stone is probably not authentic.
A more accurate way to determine the validity of your stone would be by taking your stone to a jeweler who can give you an accurate appraisal. However, this will only be worth doing if the citrine jewelry is valuable.
We’ve already discussed how amethyst and smoky quartz are heat treated to imitate citrine’s look. But how can you tell if this is the case with your stone?
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 splotchy or patchy coloring. A heat-treated citrine will have darker tips with the color receding down from there.
Another important point is that naturally occurring citrine has dichroic coloring, meaning that different colors can be visible from different angles. This is something that heat-treated citrine will not possess.
Carefully examine your stone for these characteristics. Always check with your retailer regarding the origin and authenticity of the stone.
Citrine Cleaning and Care
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 mild liquid 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 stone’s value is to store it apart from your other gemstones. This will keep citrine from scratching softer gemstones like pearls or opals and from being scratched by harder gemstones such as sapphires or diamonds. When storing citrine, wrap it in a cloth or jewelry box. This keeps it free from dust.
Keep citrine away from chemicals such as harsh detergents, bleach, and cosmetics. It is always best to take off any citrine jewelry when handling chemicals or engaging in outdoor/physical activities.
Symbolism and Meanings of Citrine
Due to its yellow-orange color, citrine 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.
Citrine is seen as a stone that brings joy and positivity. It is believed to aid in the manifestation of prosperity and abundance. Citrine is thought to alleviate fear and anxiety and emphasize creativity and personal power.
*Disclaimer: Jewelry Shopping Guide does not guarantee or validate any of the claims related to the metaphysical and alternative healing powers of this or any other gemstone. This information should in no way be used as a substitute for medical advice.
Where to Buy Citrine Jewelry Online
Citrine is a popular gemstone, so it’s not difficult to find your ideal piece at the local jewelers. Because it is the November birthstone, many retailers carry impressive ranges of citrine jewelry.
We recommend the following retailers:
- Blue Nile – For high-quality mid-range jewelry
- James Allen – For higher-end limited edition citrine jewelry
- Etsy – For a citrine collection to suit all budgets and styles, and for unique finds
Citrine is a stylish gemstone, perfect for a variety of jewelry styles. While not the hardest for engagement rings, it can still be a good option if placed in a protective setting. The orange hues of citrine make it a good alternative for the more expensive yellow diamond or yellow sapphire, giving you a budget-friendly alternative.