Citrine Value, Price, and Jewelry Information


pear-cut citrine
Golden orange pear-cut citrine, 19.05 cts, 22.9 x 16.5 x 11 mm. Photo © Joel E. Arem, PhD, FGA. Used with permission.

Citrine is the yellow to red-orange variety of crystalline quartz. Clever marketing and the rise of “earth tone” fashions have made this durable and readily available gem a popular jewelry stone in recent years.

Citrine Value

In terms of color, at the top end of the scale, you'll find prime specimens of the most saturated yellow, orange, and reddish tones.

oval-cut citrine - Zambia
Oval-cut citrine, deep yellow color, 127.58 cts, 39.6 x 26.9 x 20.7 mm, Zambia. © ARK Rare Gems. Used with permission.

Those with less intense color fall into lower value ranges, with pale or smoky stones at the bottom.

citrine - faceted stone
Citrine. Photo by Mauro Cateb. Licensed under CC By 2.0.

There’s no exponential increase in value per carat with increase in size, as larger sizes are readily available. Inclusions will decrease value.

As with any gem material, custom cutting increases value. In many fancy cut or carved specimens, most of the value is due to the artistry of the cutting.

custom-cut citrine by Tom Munsteiner
Custom-cut citrine by Tom Munsteiner, 3.50 cts, 13.2 x 9.8 mm, medium-dark slightly brownish yellow, Brazil. © The Gem Trader. Used with permission.

For more detailed information on citrine quality factors, consult our citrine buying guide.

The International Gem Society (IGS) has a list of businesses offering gemstone appraisal services.

Citrine Value via Gem Price Guide
Top Color: O 6/4
Faceted .5 to 1 carat 1 carat plus
Madeira to /ct
Orange to /ct to /ct
Yellow to to /ct
Gold to to /ct
Cabochons .5 to 1 carat 1 carat plus
Yellow to Orange to /ct to /ct

See the entire Gem Price Guide.

Start an IGS Membership today for full access to our price guide (updated monthly).

Citrine Information

DataValue
NameCitrine
Is a Variety ofQuartz
Crystallography Hexagonal
Refractive Index 1.544-1.553
Colors Yellow to Red-Orange, also deep orange and orangey brown.
Luster Vitreous.
Polish Luster Vitreous.
Fracture Luster Vitreous.
Fracture Conchoidal
Hardness 7
Specific Gravity 2.651 (very constant)
Birefringence 0.009
Cleavage None
Dispersion 0.013
Wearability Very Good
Enhancements Amethyst and smoky quartz can be heat treated to change them to citrine. "Madeira" citrine with red flashes is a result of heat treatment.
Transparency Transparent.
Absorption Spectrum Not diagnostic
Birthstone November.
FormulaSiO2
Pleochroism Very weak, different shades of yellow or orange.
Optics o = 1.544; e = 1.553 (very constant). Uniaxial (+)
EtymologyFrom the old French citrin, meaning yellow.
OccurrenceGenerally in pegmatites and veins. Found in geodes in alluvial deposits.
Inclusions Natural quartz stones, including citrine, may have liquid, bread crumbs, zebra stripes, two and three phase inclusions, and negative crystals.
citrine - faceted gems
Citrines: Brazil (7.55, 4.20, 8.81, 12.64 // 16.90, 19.72, 15.76). Photo © Joel E. Arem, PhD, FGA. Used with permission.

Comments

Citrine was once the Rodney Dangerfield of the gem world. Due to its abundance, it would “get no respect,” as it were. In recent decades, this perception has changed, partly because earth-tone jewelry has come into vogue. Home shopping networks have also marketed the various shades of citrine aggressively, with catchy adjectives like “butterscotch” and “whiskey.” Apparently, this has worked. Citrine is now a modern alternative birthstone for November.

Mining actually yields very little citrine. The vast majority of citrine on the market is produced by heating smoky quartz (which produces light to medium yellows) and amethyst (which produces stronger yellows and orange-red to orangey brown shades). Natural stones usually occur in pale yellow colors, often with smoky tones.

citrine rough - Brazil
Rough citrine crystals from Brazil. Photo by Paweł Maliszczak. Licensed under CC By-SA 4.0.

Citrines range from light, lemon yellow to “Madeira,” a rich, orange color with red flashes. This accepted description refers strictly to color, not a locality.

red-orange faceted citrine gems
Deep orange citrines, round (10.93 cts) and oval cuts (9.14 and 12.70 cts). © All That Glitters. Used with permission.

Citrine as a Jewelry Stone

Citrines make fine jewelry stones. With no cleavage and a hardness of 7, they can be used for any jewelry application. Like most quartz, it’s available in large sizes. Thus, custom gem cutters can easily use this stone for dramatic and intricate cuts.

dramatic faceted citrine
Faceted citrine. Cut and photo by Jewelry House Moiseikin. Licensed under CC By-SA 4.0.

An older cut inspired this new citrine gem design. Gem faceter Mark Oros writes:

I saw a wonderful gemstone design online that caught my interest. With a little research, I discovered it was featured in an article in Lapidary Journal, July 1972, by Wm. J. Maloney. He named the cut The Beatress. Originally, he sawed a sphere into quarters, dopped it, and faceted the pavilion. We used the GemCad program to redesign the gemstone for 2017. Here is our rendition of this beautiful design.

“5th of a Sphere” in golden citrine. © Mark Oros, Hashnu Stones & Gems. Used with permission.

Citrines can make beautiful, large engagement ring stones as well as excellent carving material.

ancient citrine intaglio gem
Citrine intaglio of Dionysus, Hellenistic Period, 1st century BCE, 4.2 x 2 cm, from the collection of the Bibliothèque nationale de France, Cabinet des Médailles. Photo by Sailko. Licensed under CC By-SA 3.0.

Identifying Characteristics

Citrine’s yellow colors are due to the presence of ferric iron, colors traditionally associated with topaz. Confusion between these gemstones does occur, even though quartz and topaz are distinct gem species.

a yellow quartz that is not a citrine
Although definitely yellow, this quartz crystal isn’t a citrine. In this specimen, iron has stained the matrix coating yellow but doesn’t form a part of the quartz’s composition. The iron causes a shimmering rainbow effect. 16.0 x 10.0 x 6.0 cm, Sils, Thusis, Domleschg, Grisons, Switzerland. © Rob Lavinsky, www.iRocks.com. Used with permission.

Although encountered much more rarely than citrine, scapolite can easily be misidentified as citrine. You can learn how to distinguish them here.

Synthetics

Citrines can be grown hydrothermally in labs. Although natural quartz is common and inexpensive, synthetic quartz can be manufactured in sufficient quantities and at low cost. This makes the practice economically viable.

Enhancements

Turning natural smoky quartz and amethyst to citrine via heat treatment usually occurs right at the mine. However, this stable treatment is fully accepted within the gem trade. Colorless quartz stones are also irradiated and heated to produce “lemon quartz,” stones with a neon, slightly greenish yellow color.

Heat treating citrines with the proper iron content creates the prized “Madeira” color. However, no simple way of testing the iron content of citrine exists. Therefore, processors must monitor this treatment carefully.

Sources

Virtually all natural citrines come from Brazil.

Other notable gem-quality sources include the following:

  • Bolivia; Democratic Republic of the Congo; Madagascar; Mexico; Myanmar; Namibia; Peru; Russia; South Africa; United States; Zambia.
citrine crystal - Democratic Republic of the Congo
Citrine crystal, Democratic Republic of the Congo. Photo by Géry Parent. Public Domain.

Stone Sizes

Citrines thousands of carats in size exist. The Smithsonian Institution (Washington, DC) has Brazilian stones of 2,258, 1,180, 783, 278, 265, and 217 carats. Most large museums have similar baubles.

This citrine vug is in a crate about 9' tall. “Large Crated Vug, Tucson” by cobalt123 is licensed under CC By-SA 2.0
This citrine vug fills a crate about 9′ tall. Photo by cobalt123. Licensed under CC By-SA 2.0.

Misnomers

In the past, people commonly referred to citrine by misleading names, such as “Brazilian topaz,” “Madeira topaz,” and even “topaz quartz.” Unscrupulous vendors can still take advantage of the long association of yellow with topaz to pass off inexpensive citrines as more expensive topaz pieces. For more examples, consult our list of misleading or false gemstone names.

Care

Citrines make durable jewelry stones that require little special care. However, heat-treated stones may fade when exposed to heat. Thus, avoid steam cleaning or boiling your citrine jewelry. Instead, use either ultrasonic cleaning or simply warm water, mild detergent, and a soft brush.

Although usually free of inclusions, citrines with low clarity grades — with liquids, gases, or crystals trapped within them — should be cleaned by hand only. However, any heat-treated citrines are most likely safe to clean in an ultrasonic cleaner.

Consult our gemstone jewelry cleaning guide for more recommendations.

19th century citrine brooch
Early 19th-century cannetille work brooch with an oval mixed-cut citrine in a foiled closed back setting. Photo by Charles J Sharp. Licensed under CC By-SA 4.0.