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Citrine is the most popular gemstone in the yellow to orange color range, and one of the most affordable of the harder gem materials. A variety of crystalline quartz, citrine has excellent transparency and can be found in large sizes, with gems over 20 carats not uncommon.
Though there is a lot of citrine in the market, natural untreated citrine is in fact fairly rare, especially in the more saturated colors, since much of the low-cost citrine sold in the market is actually treated or synthetic material.
Most natural citrine is a pale yellow in color and the color derives from traces of iron. Many commercial grade citrines in the market have been produced by heat-treating weakly colored amethyst, which will turn yellow at relatively low temperatures, and golden to reddish brown at higher temperatures. Heat-treated citrine typically has a reddish tint. There is also synthetic quartz, produced by the hydrothermal method. The synthetic stones are characterized by very large sizes, perfect clarity, absence of color zoning and very low prices.
|Madeira Citrine from Uruguay|
Deposits of naturally colored citrine are found mainly in Brazil, Uruguay, Madgascar and Burma. In Bolivia, amethyst and citrine colors can occur together in the same crystal. These unique gems are called ametrine.
The most valuable citrines are the natural gems in the saturated colors, known in the trade as Madeira Citrine. The name derives a fortified Portuguese wine made in the Madeira Islands. The color of Madeira ranges from golden to golden-orange to reddish-brown to brown.
|Colors of Madeira Wine|
Citrine's attractions are many. The earthy color is frequently a fashion favorite, while the affordability and large sizes are always popular. High quality citrine tends to be very clean, with no eye visible inclusions. Transparency is excellent, and the material takes a very good polish with a vitreous luster.
You will find citrine in a wide variety of shapes and cuts, including oval, round, rectangular, cushion, pear and trillion. Many citrines are given a portuguese cut for added brilliance, but even a simple emerald cut will show off the color and luster very well.
Citrine, along with topaz, is a birthstone for November.