Used since antiquity for the making of jewelry and hardstone carvings, this month’s birthstone actually started life as as entirely different gemstone.
What they are
Citrine forms part of the quartz family, the second most common mineral on earth making up over 12% of the earth’s crust. While pure quartz is colorless and transparent, there are many varieties. Citrine is a one of these varieties and features a color range from pale yellow to brown. Interestingly, most commercial citrine is in fact heat-treated amethyst.
Citrine, like amethyst, gets its well-known hue from small particles of iron trapped in the quartz mineral. In nature, heat from nearby magmatic bodies are usually the cause for the gemstone’s change from amethyst to citrine.
Where they’re found
While quartz is found all over the world, citrine is actually quite rare in nature. Brazil, however, is the leading producer of citrine with the bulk of production from Rio Grande do Sul.
What to look out for
As mentioned previously, despite the abundance of quartz, citrine is actually somewhat rare. Most citrines have been heat treated. Amethyst is cooked at high temperatures in order to produce the more profitable citrine. Citrines produced this way tend to have more of an orange or reddish hue than those created naturally.