Friday, November 12, 2010

Citrine - The Lemon Gemstone

Citrine, a form of quartz similar to amethyst, was one of the most prized gemstones in antiquity because of its rare occurrence in nature. When intense heat is applied to the gemstone amethyst, it is transformed into citrine. This can happen in nature when deposits of amethyst are near a heat source in the earth's crust, but more often heat is applied industrially to create citrine. It can be transparent to translucent, and range in color from light yellow to golden brown. Naturally occurring citrine is usually a pale yellow, while citrine formed industrially is darker in color, with reddish tints.

Citrine gets its name from the old French word citrin, which means lemon. It is a relatively soft gemstone that is easily scratched. It is used in jewelry by itself, or is quite often combined with amethyst, peridot or garnet for contrast. It also compliments diamonds very well. Most natural citrine mined today comes from Brazil, with other deposits found in Russia, France and Madagascar.

This gemstone can be scratched rather easily, and its color will darken when exposed to too much sunlight. This darkening is permanent, so care is needed to keep the gemstone out of excessive amounts of sunlight. It is the birthstone for the month of November.

As most gemstones, Citrine has been attributed many healing and magical powers. Citrine was thought to stimulate the memory, influenced dreams, be a general talisman of protection, aid digestion, and enhance creativity. Also one of its main attributes was the power the stone had to protect against snake venom.

A stone that is readily available and relatively inexpensive, but as with all gemstones the better quality the stone (no matter what type) the higher the value and price. In the world of gemstones Citrine may have gotten its name from the old French word for lemon, but is far from being a 'lemon'. It is a versatile and beautiful stone.

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