Yellow Quartz vs Citrine: What Are They, And What’s The Difference?

The primary difference between yellow quartz and citrine is the color of the stone.

This article will give you an in depth look at yellow quartz and Citrine, what they look like, where they originated and what they are used for.

Yellow Quartz vs Citrine (EXPLAINED)

The strong, fresh, uplifting, and vibrant summer tones of yellow quartz type are an unusual quality in the Quartz family.

Citrine, on the other hand, represents November’s birthstone and, from pale yellow and golden to pumpkin and earthy brown colors, citrine reflects a stunning autumn pallet.

These two sister stones could almost be considered twins, yet they possess some unmistaken minor differences.

Yellow Quartz Facts

The word “quartz” is derived from the German word “Quarz” and ‘quarzum’ in Latin, which translates in English to “hard.”

In the late 18th century quartz became established as the name of the mineral and the name “crystal” became a new generic term for ‘corpus angulatum’.”

In pure form, quartz is a colorless, transparent, hard crystal with a glass luster.

Quartz has over thirty different varieties.

Yellow quartz is made up of two of the most common elements on earth, silicon, and oxygen.

It occurs in all mineral environments, and it is a significant component in igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary volcanic rocks.

The yellow crystal is formed from bubbles being trapped inside the rock or cracks running through it.

When the outer rock hardens, it leaves a hollow space inside that, over millions of years, is filled with liquid silicon dioxide and elements of iron that crystallize into protruding clusters pyramids of quartz geodes.

These quartz geodes can be found all over the world, mined and sold for profit.

The yellow quartz was used prior to citrine during the early Hellenistic Age in ancient Greece. The joyful yellow gemstone was used to decorate tools and craft jewelry, but it was not highly sought after or valued during that time.

Current scientific naming schemes of the many varietal names of quartz refer primarily to the microstructure of the mineral, with color as the secondary identifier.

Yellow quartz chemical composition is SiO2, and its color indicator is a strong yellow with a vitreous luster.

It is distinguished from most citrines by lacking orange, red, or brownish tints.

Citrine Facts

Citrine was first stumbled upon around 200 BC and was crafted as the handles of swords and daggers in Scotland.

Although thought to be added for decoration, the gemstone has also been used as metaphysical protection and for pain relief.

Today, Natural Citrine is rare and occurs sparingly in many larger Quartz deposits.

The most plentiful natural Citrine geode mines are found in Brazil.

Other locations include Bolivia and Madagascar.

A classic exhausted locality for natural citrine is the Ural Mountains in Russia.

These geodes can range in proportion from the size of a small coin to one big enough for multiple people to fit inside.

The largest citrine geode in the world was found in Brazil, weighing in at a hefty 2,258 carats.

Today it can be found on display at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington.

Like yellow quartz, citrine is commonly associated as a member of the quartz family.

Citrine is, in all likelihood, the most popular yellow gemstone.

As its color might suggest, citrine takes its name from the Latin word ‘citrus’ and the French word ‘citron’, referring to the citron fruit in the lemon family.

As with all gemstones, a more translucent stone, equates to a higher value.

Furthermore, peak value includes high color saturation, such as the deep red-orange tones in Fire Citrine.

Citrine’s chemical composition is also SiO2.

Although its microstructure includes different amounts of other elements that are entrapped inside the yellow quartz which result in deeper color changes.

Citrine’s color is also sometimes affected by heating the quartz crystals to elevated temperatures, either naturally by sunlight or artificially by gamma rays to induce color.

Similarities and Differences Between Citrine and Yellow Quartz

The only difference between these two sister members of the quartz family is the amount of distributed oxidization of their submicroscopic iron impurities.

Natural citrine is widely uncommon and most citrine on the gem market today is produced by heat treating yellow quartz or Amethyst.

Sometimes citrine and yellow quartz can be found together in the same geode, and sometimes even within the same crystal.

This crystal is then referred to as ametrine.

Most yellow quartz and citrine have a hardness of about 7 on the Mohs scale.

Therefore, the duos most popular uses are for decorative objects and ornamentation.

They are soft yet durable, and can be easily cut, polished, and transformed into fine sturdy jewelry.

Their gender-neutral tones not only work well in women’s jewelry, but also suits men.

In certain manifestations, yellow quartz and citrine may look almost identical.

Many jewelers do not separate the two and some use the name Citrine for anything that appears to be yellow Quartz.

Since citrine can range in color saturation, make note not to mistake pieces of cloudy yellow quartz for citrine.

After yellow quartz, citrine is most often confused with orange and yellow Topaz, which is very similar in color and composition.

Topaz is the more valuable of the two, and gemstone dealers often sell Citrine labeled as Topaz for higher profits.

How the two can be confused

Yellow quartz and citrine are both highly favored crystals.

They can often appear very similar in color, but if educated on each stone, it can become known that each gemstone is unique in its color, composition, and origination.

An easy test against heated amethyst is checking for dichroism – rotate the specimen in front of a computer screen and check for changes in comprehensive color intensity.

Heated amethyst is not dichroic, while citrine is. If the differences aren’t apparent by the naked eye, one might even need a qualified gemologist to determine the classification.

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yellow quartz vs citrine