Citrine – November’s Birthstone

Citrine, like amethyst, is a quartz. But what few people know is that a citrine gemstone or crystal may very well have been an amethyst earlier in its existence, only to be transformed from a pale purple amethyst to the yellow and orange-brown colour of citrine, by heat treatment.

Natural citrine crystal and faceted oval.

Natural citrine – that is quartz found in the earth’s crust with the yellow to orange brown colour – is extremely rare. Most citrine on the market started off as an undesirable light purple amethyst, and when heated displays the vibrant yellow to orange-brown colours that make this one of the most popular and abundant yellow gemstones available.

What makes citrine so popular is a combination of its durability, its affordability and the fact that quartz is so abundant in big sizes. Often used as an alternative for yellow topaz (topaz also being a November birthstone) or sapphire, the bright yellow to orange-brown colours of citrine can make for some dramatic jewellery of big gemstones, which topaz or sapphire cannot afford. And although it comes in at a 7 on the mohs scale of hardness, quartz has a toughness that would compete with topaz at an 8 on mohs scale, because topaz is more brittle and lacks the toughness of quartz.

Then just to confuse matters a little more, enter ametrine, a crystal found naturally that contains both the purple of amethyst and the yellow-orange of citrine. Ametrines are also cut into gemstones and are very rare and valuable, with most gem quality coming from a single source, the Anahi Mine in southeastern Bolivia. Citrine itself is found in Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Mexico, Spain and Uruguay, and here in Africa Madagascar is a source.

In jewellery the finest colour for citrine is a saturated yellow to reddish orange, often refered to as brandy citrine, and is more rare and valuable than the lighter yellow colours. It is not the amount of the heat that determines the colour of the stone, but rather it is the amethyst’s original hue that will convert to determine the final stones colour quality. We have a few citrine products on our website, a few of our favourites below with links in the captions. Also please bear in mind today is the last day in November to snap up our gift voucher special. We will automatically top up any gift voucher you buy today by 20%. So pay R1000 and receive R1200 gift voucers. And so on.
Until then, please stay safe and protect yourselves. JD and Jay.

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