Citrine is quartz made up of two of the most common materials on earth, silicon, and oxygen. Citrine, like its sister quartz, amethyst, is found inside geodes all over the world. Geodes are formed by bubbles trapped within volcanic rock or lava. The outer rock hardens, often in a circular or oval shape leaving an empty space inside. This hollow is filled over millions of years by liquids-rich in silicon dioxide (and in the case of citrine, elements of iron) that slowly crystallize into the quartzes we all love today.
Citrine is basically yellow quartz but the color ranges from a light lemony yellow all the way to an earthy brown color with some very nice oranges in between. The most valued and sought-after citrine is Madeira Citrine, golden orange to reddish-brown citrine named after the rich colored wine, not the Atlantic island. The most important factor in determining the value of citrine is its color, strong yellows all the way to oranges, reds, and browns with consistent color saturation lead to the highest prices. Of course, with color come clarity, cut, and carat size and they all contribute to the value of a citrine gemstone.
Citrine has been used as jewelry or decoration for centuries although it was usually referred to as yellow quartz, it is certainly mentioned by the ancient Greeks and Romans. Throughout the centuries, the citrine stone has also been called gold topaz, Madeira, Spanish topaz, and safranite. Citrine was derived from the Latin 'citrus' and the French word 'citron' meaning lemon or lemon colored.
Citrine is rare in nature. Natural Citrine is often found alongside amethyst and the biggest supplier of natural crystals is Brazil and neighboring South American countries, with Africa, Russia, the US, and Europe also having healthy supplies. It is found in igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks on sites of previous volcanic activity.
Citrine is classified as a semi-precious stone. A yellow variety of quartz, citrine has an attractive luster and excellent clarity. Amongst the yellow-colored gemstones, citrine is the most desired due to its color, quality, and price.
Citrine has been popular for thousands of years and used to be revered for its rarity, though that has changed with time. The ancient Romans used it for beautiful jewelry and intaglio work. It was also very popular for jewelry in the 19th century.
Along with topaz, citrine is a birthstone for November. It’s also recognized as the gem that commemorates the 13th wedding anniversary.