Citrine: If Lemon Was a Stone

18th February 2020

The word Citrine comes from Latin Citrus meaning lemon, perfectly indicating the color of the stone. The name Citrine appeared during the XVIe century before that, it was referred to yellow quartz. Later on, misleading sources were calling it the gold topaz, however this name is not accurate because of its composition. Citrine is November’s birthstone and is a symbol of wealth and joy. It is supposed to bring success and prosperity, as its color is lively and refers to gold.

The most important sources of citrine are based in Brazil but many are also located in Russia, France, South Africa and Madagascar.

Rough Stone Citrine

This honey-like gemstone belongs to the big family of quartz and reaches a hardness of 7 on Mohs scale.
Its color is due to the presence of iron in the structure, which creates these yellow hues from pale to brownish, orangey and golden yellow tones.

Actually, citrine has a similar composition of amethyst, the difference remains in the oxidation state of iron which generates the color’s change. This explains why many citrines on the market are, in reality, heated amethysts which color has been modified. Heating an amethyst reduces the oxidation of the iron impurities in the stone and so, fades the purple color into a yellowish hue: the higher the temperature, the more intense the color will be. As citrine is rarer than amethyst, this treatment is commonly used but, of course, it affects the stone’s value as well.  

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Bee My Love Ring, by Chaumet
Citrine, Diamonds, Pink Gold

boghossian White gold, citrine, coral an

Reveal Inlay Ring, Boghossian

Madeira Citrine, Diamonds, Coral, White Gold

It is a relatively affordable stone, which is why it does not appear so much in high jewellery creations for now. High jewellery brands tend to prefer yellow sapphire that has a stronger brilliancy and is more valuable than citrine. However, citrine has the advantage to be carved easily, which allows the designer to be more creative and use the gem in many ways, not only as a center stone. Usually the sunny quartz does not present visible inclusions and has a high clarity, as a consequence, this stone is rather transparent with a vitreous and glassy surface.

One of the most sought-after type of citrine is the Madeira Citrine that presents a darker and rather reddish-brown color, similar to fire hues. This specific quality represents only 2% of the sourced citrine worldwide.

Andrew Grima massively used citrine in its creations. This Italian designer popular during the 60s’ changed the perception of modern jewelry in offering pieces with more volume, architectural lines and contemporary design. He focused on fine stones such as aquamarine and tourmaline and specifically highlighted brownish citrine in various cuts.

Citrine, Yellow Gold and Diamonds Jewels, by Andrew Grima

A noteworthy demi-parure from the 1950s’ is this necklace and bracelet signed Sterlé. Before joining Chaumet in 1976, Sterlé was an independent designer largely exploiting flora theme in its creations. This set is composed of pear-cut citrines and brilliant-cut diamonds set on a yellow gold mounting. The flexible jewels take inspiration from nature and recalls the autumn leaves with its golden colors and curvy lines. These pieces used to belong to the last Queen of Egypt, Narriman Sadek, and then reappeared later at a collectible jewelry dealer in New York (Siegelson).

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Citrine, Yellow Gold and Diamonds Jewels, by Andrew Grima

Other uncommon unique pieces can be found at Cartier, David Webb, Bulgari, Piaget, Van Cleef & Arpels and many more. Dior Joaillerie particularly integrated citrine in its collection Incroyables et Merveilleuses Fruits.

Citrine Jewels. Legends on pictures.