How to Identify a Citrine Stone?

Citrine is a popular yellow variety of quartz that is valued as a gemstone. Determining if a yellow rock is true citrine can be tricky for those who are not experts in geology or gemology. Here are some tips on identifying whether a rock is real natural citrine.


Citrine ranges in color from pale yellow to a dark orangey brown. Natural citrine gets its color from trace amounts of iron. Be wary of very pale yellow or colorless quartz that may be heat treated amethyst and falsely marketed as citrine. True citrine will not have any hints of purple or red which would indicate amethyst. However, almost all citrine on the market has been heat treated to intensify its color. So color alone cannot confirm citrine.


Natural citrine is rarely entirely transparent. It often contains cloudy veils, bubbles, or inclusions. Citrine is found in geodes and clusters, rather than single long crystals. If the stone is flawless, it may be synthetic citrine.


Most citrine originates from Brazil, but other sources are Russia, France, Madagascar, and the United States. Verify that the dealer discloses the source. Citrine that comes from a mine known to produce amethyst is more likely to be genuine.


There are ways professionals can test to confirm citrine. Chelsea color filters can detect treatments. Thermal conductivity tests can identify synthetics. Getting an official certification from a qualified gemologist is advised for expensive specimens.


Examine the style of the setting. Legitimate citrine is often bezel set or wrapped in wire. Transparent glue-in settings are more common for synthetic stones.


Natural citrine is fairly affordable, ranging $5-200 per carat. Be wary of very cheap stones. Fine larger citrines with deep orange color can reach higher prices. If the price seems too good to be true, the stone is likely heat-treated quartz rather than true citrine.

With close inspection and a bit of background knowledge, you can reliably determine if a stone is real citrine. Understanding the characteristics and common treatments for citrine will help you identify authentic specimens. Consult an expert gemologist if you need confirmation about an expensive piece of citrine jewelry.