Citrine is a yellow to brown coloured variety of quartz. Although quartz itself is the second most abundant mineral in the Earth’s continental crust, gem quality citrine is rare and desirable, and has been used since ancient times for jewellery. Its name comes from the Latin word ‘Citrina’, meaning ‘yellow’, due to its body-colour.
Citrine is one of three traditional birthstones for the month of November. It is also the Planetary stone for the Sun Sign of Virgo.
Most citrine comes from Brazil, but almost all of the Brazilian material is heat-treated amethyst. Natural citrine can also be found in the Ural Mountains of Russia, in Dauphine, France, and in Madagascar. In general, darker colours are considered more valuable, including the medium golden orange and dark sherry-colours, however the general rule of thumb (as with all coloured gemstones) is that one looks for a rich, deep body-colour. It is a 7.0 on the Mohs scale of hardness.
The cause of the colour is not fully understood. Some citrine is coloured by aluminium- and irradiation-induced colour centers; as such, transitions to smoky quartz exist, and many citrines show smoky phantoms. It has also been suggested that iron is the cause of colour.
Citrine is a very important gemstone in alternative medicine, and is thought to be of value in healing the spirits as well as the body, as it is a powerful cleanser and regenerator. It carries the is believed to help with self-healing, inspiration and self-improvement. Its bright, sunny colour has meant that it is association with positive energy and is known as the “success stone”. It is thought to promote success, prosperity, and abundance, especially in business. The practice of placing a citrine in the cash register of a shop earned it the nickname “merchant’s stone.” It is also thought to dissipate negative energy of all kind, and does not absorb any negative energies from its surroundings.
Below is a lovely richly coloured citrine ring, set in 18kt yellow gold, and diamond accentuation on the shoulders. The citrine is cut in a “chequerboard-cut” fashion, to give great sparkle and life from any angle.