What is Citrine?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Citrine is a yellow version of quartz, also known as gold topaz or Spanish topaz. It is not, however, true topaz. It is found in much greater quantity, and is much less expensive to produce and cut into gemstones. Heating other forms of quartz, like amethyst, commercially produces much of today’s citrine. Such a stone is usually betrayed by its orange color with red undertones, instead of the yellow color that marks naturally occurring ones.

Woman wearing a tank top shirt
Woman wearing a tank top shirt

This stone is often associated with the more brownish topaz because both are November birthstones. Citrine stones are generally much less expensive, however, and are often the birthstone of choice for those without deep pockets. The gem wears extremely well, with a hardness of about 7 on the Mohs Scale. Still, the gems should be removed when performing any heavy labor.

The principal lodes of citrine exist in Brazil and Uruguay. From excavations in the 1930s, it quickly became a popular gemstone. Citrine can be found in numerous example pieces of lady’s jewelry from the 1930s onward, and was also a popular decorative choice in shirt buttons and cufflinks for men.

Since use of this stone was far less common than other gemstones in the past, fewer myths and lore surround it. Today, it is associated with light-heartedness, self-confidence, and self-esteem. Citrine’s colors are also thought to be a natural cure to depression in some alternative medicine lore.

It certainly can decrease a bout of the blues to receive citrine jewelry. Its golden tones, which reflect beautifully, make for an impressive display in rings, bracelets, earrings, or necklaces. The stone can also be purchased in loose form to be made into one’s own personalized jewelry.

Citrine is often measured in millimeters instead of in carats. A stone with a 6.5-millimeter diameter is equal to about a one-carat stone. One carat stones can range in price dramatically, from about $40 US Dollars (USD) to about $100 USD. The more expensive stones are those that are called natural citrine. There are other forms of quartz that are heated to produce a similar color.

This stone’s closeness in appearance to topaz means that some jewelers may substitute it, without informing customers, for topaz. One should definitely verify one is purchasing true topaz or true citrine so that one pays the appropriate price.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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Discussion Comments


I purchased a 6.5 carat citrine stone here in Afghanistan. It's a beautifully cut, oval-shaped stone that reflects every angle of light. Really digging the price as well.


I have a citrine necklace that contains an actual natural piece of citrine. It doesn’t look much like the heat-treated kind. It’s an entirely different shade of yellow.

I would compare it to a glass of lemonade. It is transparent, but it has a light yellow color.

It has the same texture as amber. It is super smooth, and just running my fingers across it calms me down when I’m nervous.

I think that it makes people happy because it looks so serene. Of course, yellow is a cheerful color, but the smooth transparency of it is what really makes me feel less cluttered inside.


@wavy58 - I think that citrine crystals probably enable people to let go of the things that are holding them back, like doubt and fear, and this is what makes them beneficial. Many people cannot simply let go of these things on their own, but if they have what they believe is an aid in doing this, they can.

My friend has a citrine gemstone that she swears helped her start her own business. She said that after she started wearing it around, she lost the inhibitions that were making her stay at her dead-end job and found the motivation and self-belief to take the risk. She credits citrine with helping her realize her dreams and her full potential.


My aunt is into using crystals for things like good luck and home remedies. She has a citrine crystal cluster that she uses to help her make good decisions.

The cluster looks like a bunch of orange marmalade spread across a piece of bread. The base of the crystals is a light beige, while the crystals themselves are orange, yellow, and brown.

She used to be a very indecisive person. Once she heard that citrine can help a person make solid decisions without the crippling factor of doubt, she purchased some.

I don’t know if it really works, but the placebo effect is at least doing good things for her. Doubt is really all in your head, anyway, and since she thinks the citrine keeps it away, she doesn’t doubt.


I have a citrine bracelet, and I am intrigued by its beauty. The gemstones are multifaceted, and this makes the light hit them at many different angles.

The citrine reminds me of a mountain stream I saw on vacation once. The sun was setting, and it cast a golden glow upon the water. Though the water was clear, the stream had a brown bottom, so there was a mixture of golden on the surface with brown beneath and clear ripples all throughout.

The facets remind me of those ripples in the water. There are several shades in one stone, and that makes it visually interesting.


in pottery a citrine oxide is used to give the clay color, depending on the amount used the color will be yellow to yellowish orange to orange. this is usually done on greenware (before the first firing).

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