Today we are taking a deep dive into the beautiful citrine gem with the top 10 things anyone looking to purchase a piece of citrine jewellery should know.
The history and folklore of citrine
Citrine has been used in jewellery-making dating as far back as 500 BC. Greek antiquity appreciated the gem for its supposed soothing and healing properties. During the Roman Empire, citrines were also greatly admired and used regularly to craft intaglios (hand-engraved stones) to wear as a pendant or ring.
The chemical composition of the citrine
Citrine is a member of the quartz family, whose other members include amethyst, chalcedony and tiger's eye, to name a few. However, what makes it stand apart are traces of iron and silicon oxide. These small amounts are what give this gem its sought-after clear yellow to dark orange colour. Also, citrines rank a seven on the Mohs scale of hardness, which means that if you own a piece of citrine jewellery, you have invested in something durable and suitable for everyday wear.
Where do citrines come from?
The most famous source for this beautiful November birthstone is the Anahí mine, found in the wetlands of Bolivia. A Spanish conquistador first discovered the mine during the 17th century. It was given to him as dowry when he married the princess of the Ayoreos tribe of Paraguay. The mine was forgotten for three centuries until it was rediscovered in the 1960s. Citrine mines can also be found in Spain, Brazil, Madagascar, Mexico and Uruguay.
What are the types of citrine?
It's important to note that there are two forms of citrine available in today's gem market: unheated (natural) citrine and heated citrine. Although this gemstone is readily available, natural citrine stones are very rare. Most citrines sold today are amethysts, its sister stone, which have been heated to a temperature that surpasses 500 °C. In doing so, their colour changes from purple to yellow.
Ametrine - where citrine and amethyst combine
Being so close in chemical composition, amethysts and citrines, on occasion, are formed within the same crystal, producing a purple and yellow bi-coloured gem. Popularly referred to as "ametrine", this gem can be found in the previously mentioned Anahí mine.
How expensive are citrines to purchase?
The citrine birthstone is one of the most affordable gems one can purchase today. With a high yield ratio from multiple mines across Europe and South America, the gem can be found in large quantities in various sizes and hues.
What to look for when buying a natural citrine
If you want to purchase a natural citrine, the qualities you should place the greatest importance on are colour and carat weight. The best citrine colour is a saturated yellow to reddish-orange colour with no hints of brownish colouring. The best gemstone dealers look for citrines without colour zoning or visible inclusions. Also, citrines can be found at larger carat weights than other stones, so the price jump between a medium and larger citrine is not as steep as one might think. If you want to make a colourful, bejewelled statement for a reasonable price, citrine is the gem for you.
The world's largest citrine
Speaking of size, the largest faceted citrine found to date came from the Mina Gerais mine in Brazil. Found in 1990, the Malaga gem weighs 20,200 carats, roughly 8.8 pounds! The rough gem was kept intact until 2009, when a team of Brazilian gem cutters felt prepared to take on the monumental task of shaping the gem.
The brands that do citrine best
Being such an easy-to-work-with gem, brands worldwide have created interesting and breathtaking designs that include citrines. Classic brands have emphasised carat weight when creating impressive citrine pieces. For example, Tiffany & Co. designed one of its famous Bird on a Rock brooches with a 57-carat citrine; Piaget used a 27-carat citrine in its High Jewellery Limelight Cocktail Party ring, and jewellery/antique dealer Pragnell has a pair of Verdura citrine and ruby earrings in yellow gold (circa 1970) in its offering that include four large fancy-cut citrines.
How Katerina Perez wears citrine jewellery
I like to take advantage of the citrine gemstone's solidity, hardness and durability. I say invest in jewellery you can wear every day with ease. Whether it's a pair of Suzanne Kalan hexagonal cut studs that can bring a pop of colour to your outfit, a Melanie Eddy square cocktail ring to add some edge to your ring stacks, or an Ananya beaded Chakra bracelet, build a collection of citrine pieces you can throw on, go out, and feel great in.
Whether you're a fan of big and bold jewels or feel more comfortable in colourful yet discrete pieces, I assure you, there is a gorgeous piece of citrine jewellery out there waiting for you.