A yellow variety of the quartz family. The colour is caused by the presence of iron. The name derives from the colour of the lemon although the most sought after colours are a clear radiant yellow to a brownish red. The colours of autumn.
There are not many natural yellow stones in the gem world. Diamond, Sapphire, Topaz and some Chrysoberyls perhaps. Natural citrine is found in few places. Spain, The Isle of Arran, Argentina, Burma and Russia have small deposits. The majority of the worlds citrine is now heat treated Amethyst which, when under special conditions and specific heats, depending on its origins, turns the yellow that we understand to be citrine. Most heat treated citrines have a slight reddish tint, where most natural citrines are pale yellow.
Perhaps because there was so little natural citrine available it was in the past often associated with a similarly looking (but completely different) stone, topaz. Some of the older names for citrine reflect this association, Gold topaz, Spanish topaz and Madeira topaz. These names are now no longer proper or excepted in the gem trade as they are deceptive. Citrine was often used to imitate topaz, but it is not as hard. In the late 19th and early 20th century the discovery of huge deposits of fine amethyst in Brazil and Uruguay and the knowledge that a heat treatment could create good coloured citrine led to many ex patriots sending the raw material to the German cutting shops of Idar Oberstein. In the 1930’s with the rise of a wealthier mddle class in Europe and an increase in the availability of the stone, led to a soaring demand and popularity in its use for jewellery. Given then that it is a relatively “new” stone it is not that surprising that it does not as yet have a rich mythology. However most of the qualities attributed to topaz, (probably due to its related genesis), are also attributed to citrine. Topaz was said to dispel sadness, anger and nocturnal fears.To warn its wearer of poisons and protect him or her from sudden death. It was reputed to make men handsome and intelligent and to make sterile women fertile and happy! Citrine is the birthstone for November.