Citrine is the yellow or golden yellow variety of quartz. The yellow coloration, due to the presence of iron, is also responsible for the name, derived from the word “citrus”. Natural citrine is usually a pale yellow, but rare; most citrine on the market is heat-treated amethyst.

Gem-quality citrine is extremely rare. The best material is found in Brazil, Spain, Madagascar, and the former USSR.

Citrine has been used to imitate topaz and was once called Brazilian topaz.

Citrine Pictures

Citrine cutstoneCitrine quartzCitrine jewelry

Cause of Color :

Trace of Iron (Fe3+)

Chemical Composition :

Silica (Silicon Dioxide) SiO2

Crystal System / Forms :

Trigonal System

Cuts & Uses :

Facetted cuts, cabochon, carvings, beads, etc.

Dispersion : 0.013
Hardness : 7
Lustre : Vitreous.
Magnification :

Liquid and two phase, color zoning, negative crystals, zebra-stripe finger prints (structural), crystal inclusions, green fuchsite mica flakes / platelets in aventurine quartz, rutile / tourmaline needles in sagenitic quartz. Brazil law twinning is seen in natural quartz.

Optic Character :

Anisotropic, D.R.; Uniaxial positive. May exhibit a bull’s eye optic figure (quartz rotates the plane of polarisation parallel to the c-axis).

Pleochroism : Yellow / Slightly paler yellow
Refractive Index / Birefringence :

1.544 – 1.553 / 0.009. Range: 1.535 – 1.560

Simulants (with separation tests) :

Scapolite (optic figure/sign, U.V. fluorescence, inclusions, doubling), synthetic citrine (inclusions, infra red spectroscopy), beryl (optic figure/sign, inclusions, R.I.), topaz (optic figure, R.I., S.G.)

Sources :

Brazil, India, South Africa, Namibia, Madagascar, Zambia, Sri Lanka.

Specific Tests :
  • Piezoelectric: develops an electric charge when pressure is applied.
  • Pyroelectricity: develops an electrical charge when heated.
  • Diasterism in star variety (star visible in reflected and transmitted light).

Spectrum :

Not characteristic.

Synthesis :

Hydrothermal process:

  • Identification: type of twinning, seed plate, breadcrumb inclusions, Raman / infra-red spectroscopy.

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