Citrine boasts beautiful autumn hues that can range from light yellow to bright orange. Often reminiscent of a forest on a crisp fall day, Citrine is appropriately appointed the national birthstone of November. The name “citrine” replaced the standard name of “yellow quartz” in 1556. Although the name has a number of potential sources, all of them relate to citrus and are once again a nod to the stone’s orange-based hues. One of the most likely sources for the name is the French word “citron,” meaning lemon.
Citrine has been used ornamentally for thousands of years. In fact, in Ancient Greece, the stone was used as a decorative gem during the Hellenistic Age between 300 and 150 B.C. In addition, 17th century Scottish men used citrine on the handles of daggers and swords for decorative purposes. However, there is also record of entire sword handles that were crafted from citrine. More recently, citrine was particularly popular during the Art Deco era between World War I and World War II. During this time, movie stars wore oversized and elaborate citrine jewelry.
Today, citrine is primarily used for its color and clarity in designer jewelry pieces and is crafted into a variety of designs. The majority of modern day citrine comes from Brazil; however, natural citrine can also be found in the Ural Mountains of Russia, France and Madagascar, among other places. Darker colors, including medium golden orange, are typically considered more rare, and as a result, more valuable.
As a member of the quartz family, citrine is relatively hard and is ranked a 7 out of 10 on the Mohs scale, which was created by German mineralogist Friedrich Mohs in 1812. Although the stone is very durable, there are still a few gemstones that are capable of scratching citrine, including topaz, sapphire, and diamond. To avoid any damage, be sure to store gemstones separately and never wear two gemstones side by side. To clean citrine, use warm water, mild soap, and a gentle brush. Ensure that all soap residues are removed by rinsing the stone with water at the end.
Whether citrine is your birthstone, or simply a beautiful gemstone in your collection, it’s interesting to note that citrine is said to radiate positive energy and is known as the “success stone.” Perhaps the Scottish men knew what they were doing when they infused their weapons with this spectacularly golden gem.