As we enter the darker winter months, November's birthstone citrine offers a ray of sunshine. Here, Gemmology Tutor, Lily Faber FGA DGA EG, explores the properties and folklore around this sunny gemstone.
Citrine is a type of crystalline quartz that comes in many different hues of yellow, from a pale shade to a stronger orangey or even brown-tinged yellow. Prized for its sunny appearance, citrine has maintained popularity in the gem trade, especially in cocktail jewellery.
Citrine in Light Weaver™ cut. Image Courtesy of John Dyer and Co. Photo Credit Lydia Dyer.
Said to hold the power of the sun, citrine is believed by many to counteract depression and phobias. It is known as a gemstone that can help you remain calm in stressful situations, attract good things and positivity into one’s life, and to cleanse the negative energy from one’s home.
A little known fact is that citrine that is offered on the market is most often amethyst that has been heat-treated to promote that golden colour. Natural citrine can be difficult to find, despite quartz being one of the most abundant gem materials in the earth’s crust. It is found worldwide, but some more important localities of note are Brazil, India, Madagascar and Sri Lanka.
Crystals and Inclusions
Citrine can be found as stand-alone crystals or as a geode containing multiple crystals within a rocky pocket. If sold as an individual crystal, citrine will have a hexagonally shaped prism with a pyramidal termination and slightly thicker base. There may be fractures within the crystal that cause iridescence, and the surface may feature striations that run horizontally across the prism faces (if the surfaces have not been polished).
Citrine, cut by John Dyer & Co. Image © John Dyer & Co.
Inclusions in citrine can be highly variable. However, it mostly has similar inclusions to those in amethyst, such as tiger stripes, straight colour-zoning, incipient fractures (mentioned above), crystals and two-phase inclusions consisting of a liquid and a gas, or a solid crystal and a liquid.
Care and Caution
Quartz is a 7 on the Mohs scale of hardness, endowing it with the ability to be set into any piece of jewellery, whether it is a ring, necklace or earrings. Considered hard, citrine will resist scratches and abrasions, but it is not impervious to these attacks and care should still be taken when wearing it in everyday life.
Citrine in Dreamscape™ cut. Courtesy of John Dyer & Co. Photo Credit: Lydia Dyer.
Whether you like the appearance or the meanings behind it, citrine is a fantastic gem that can hold a high polish while bestowing anyone’s jewels with a kiss of sunshine. Lucky are those who were born in November and can lay to claim such a lovely gem as their birthstone.
Interested in finding out more about gemmology? Sign-up to one of Gem-A's courses or workshops.
If you would like to subscribe to Gems&Jewellery and The Journal of Gemmology please visit Membership.
Cover image: Cognac Citrine Dreamscape™ 33.71 cts. Image Courtesy of John Dyer & Co. Photo Credit: Lydia Dyer.
The varied hues of spinel have been admired for hundreds of years, but this gemstone only recently found its place on the list of ‘alternative birthstones’. Here, Lily Faber FGA DGA EG explores the alternative birthstone for the month of August and some of its synthetic counterparts.
Those born in August have vibrant green peridot as their birthstone. Lily Faber FGA DGA EG delves into this zesty gemstone to find out more about its physical properties and fascinating history.
Do you have a passion for diamonds, gemstones and the science of gemmology but have no idea where to start? Take a look at our guide to the Gem-A Gemmology Foundation and the things you should consider before taking this highly respected beginner’s gemmology course.
Our series of discovery into the Gem-A Gemstone & Mineral Collection continues with the brilliantly eye-catching tanzanite. Gem-A assistant gemmology tutor, Charles Bexfield FGA, delves into the history and unique properties of tanzanite and explores what makes this relatively new gemmological find so special.
Are you fascinated by a career that utilises a gemmology skill set? Or perhaps you have completed your Gem-A Gemmology Diploma and want to know what’s next? Take a look at our guide to the opportunities open to gemmologists… you may be surprised!
Although all diamonds are special, there are some that are historically significant, spectacularly large and hugely important for gemmological research. Here, Rona Bierrum FGA DGA EG pinpoints the five diamonds that stand out from the crowd for gemmologists the world over.
The Mazarin diamonds were a collection of 18 diamonds left to Louis XIV and the French Crown Jewels by Cardinal Jules Mazarin. Discovering the story of this group of diamonds, the man who collected them and what happened to them is like an incredible work of fiction. Charlotte Pittel FGA DGA takes us through their fascinating history.
Queen Victoria famously shared a love of fine jewels and coloured gemstones with her beloved husband, Prince Albert. In fact, one of her most prized possessions - a sapphire and diamond coronet - was designed and commissioned by Prince Albert in 1840. Here, we delve into the story behind this beautiful piece of history.
After 10 years and 4.2 million visitors, The Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A) has reopened its William and Judith Bollinger Gallery, home to its jewellery collection, after a three-month refurbishment with eighty new pieces joining the display.
Treasured the world over for their timeless elegance, lustre and iridescent, multi-tonal colours, pearls have for hundreds of years been a favourite of high-end jewellers and collectors alike. But how can you tell the difference between saltwater and freshwater pearls? And what should we look for when buying?