November has two birthstones: citrine and topaz. Before the development of modern technology to facilitate differentiation between similar gems, citrine was often confused with topaz due to their similar color palatte and other similar qualities.
This newsletter features CITRINE for its juicy colors. We will chat about topaz in a future newsletter.
The citrine gemstone is a variety of quartz. Its name is derived from the French word "citron," a fruit closely related to the lemon. The gem comes in a range of citrus fruit colors, most notably lemony hues ranging from pale to saturated yellows. Citrine also comes in a range of colors from deep yellows to deep oranges, including a lovely warm reddish orange hue referred to in the trade as "Madeira Citrine" due to the color's likeness to Madeira wines.
Brazil is the main source of citrine. The gem is also mined in Bolivia, Spain, Zambia, Namibia and Madagascar.
In ancient times, citrine was carried as protection against evil thoughts. Today, citrine is associated with heightened awareness.
Citrine is the top-selling transparent gem in the yellow to orange color range, mostly due to an unbeatable combination of warm, attractive color, good wearability, and moderate price.
Citrine comes in an exceptionally wide range of sizes. The largest faceted citrine on record is 19,548 carats (not a misprint!). Citrines in designer jewelry are readily available in sizes of 20 carats and more. While most citrines are faceted in traditional rounds, there are many unusual cuts and carvings.
Citrine Attributes and Treatments
Citrine rates a 7 on the Mohs hardness scale, and it has good toughness as a gem.
While citrine color is stable in light, high heat can cause color loss, and sudden or extreme temperature change can cause fracturing. Chemicals can also damage citrine's crystal structure. Although citrine is only very slightly soluble in alkalis, it is soluable in hydrofluoric acid and ammonium fluoride.
Heat treatment of citrine is routine to produce color. Amethyst (another variety of quartz based on its purple color) is heat treated to produce citrine colors. In fact, most citrine is produced by heat treating amethyst (again, not a misprint!) The heat treatment of citrine is not detectible, but it is assumed. The citrine color produced by heat treatment is permanent under normal conditions.
Care & Cleaning of Citrine Jewelry
Because most citrine is heat treated and heat can cause color loss or other damage, it is not recommended that citrine jewelry be subjected to steam cleaning. While ultrasonic cleaning is usually safe, it should be done without heat.
As with all fine gemstone jewelry, the safest cleaning method is to use warm soapy water. A soft toothbrush can also be used during washing to remove dirt buildup in small spaces.
Pretty Citrine & Sterling Dangle Earrings at Arpaia Lang $69 (call or email to order)
"Crystal Sunrise" Chandelier Earrings by Arpaia Lang $420
One of a kind handmade earrings designed by Kimberly Arpaia in sterling silver with dazzling Swarovski crystals in iridescent citrine-like colors. Click here to visit earrings on our website.
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