The Merchant's Stone
Citrine is a variety of quartz whose color ranges from a pale yellow to brown due to ferric impurities. Natural citrines are rare; most commercial citrines are heat-treated amethysts or smoky quartzes. However, a heat-treated amethyst will have small lines in the crystal, as opposed to a natural citrine’s cloudy or smokey appearance. It is nearly impossible to differentiate between cut citrine and yellow topaz visually, but they differ in hardness. Brazil is the leading producer of citrine, with much of its production coming from the state of Rio Grande do Sul. The name is derived from the Latin word citrina which means “yellow” and is also the origin of the word “citron”. Sometimes citrine and amethyst can be found together in the same crystal, which is then referred to as ametrine.
Citrine has been referred to as the “merchant’s stone” or “money stone”, due to a superstition that it would bring prosperity.
Citrine was first appreciated as a golden-yellow gemstone in Greece between 300 and 150 BC, during the Hellenistic Age. The yellow quartz was used prior to that to decorate jewelry and tools but it was not highly sought-after
Citrine has been popular for thousands of years and used to be revered for its rarity, though that has changed with time. The ancient Romans used it for beautiful jewelry and intaglio work. It was also very popular for jewelry in the 19th century. During the Art Deco period between World Wars I and II, large citrines were set in many prized pieces, including the massive and elaborate Art Deco inspired jewelry pieces made for big Hollywood stars such as Greta Garbo and Joan Crawford.
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