Tuesday, November 1, 2011

November Birthstone: Citrine

The traditional birthstone for November is citrine.  The name citrine comes from an old French word, 'citrin', meaning lemon.  One of the more rare forms of quartz, this gemstone ranges in color from the palest yellow to dark amber.

Perhaps because of its scarcity, there is little mention of citrine used as a gemstone prior to the first century B.C.  The Romans were thought to be the first to wear the yellow quartz, crafting it into highly polished cabochons and set into jewelry.  Citrine became more popular during the Romantic Period, when artisans often favoured these warm colored gems to enhance gold jewelry.

Most citrine is mined in Brazil, but other sources of the quartz are Bolivia and Madagascar.  Almost all citrine that is available on the market today is heat-treated amethyst.  Natural citrine is pale yellow to pale orange, much lighter than the heat-treated material which is dark orange-brown to reddish-brown.  The heat-treated material has a red tint, while natural citrine does not.

Citrine, like all forms of quartz, was believed to have magical powers and was worn as a talisman against evil thoughts and snake venom.  It was also considered to have medicinal properties and was commonly used as a remedy for urinary and kidney ailments.  A gift of citrine is symbolic for hope and strength.  With its sunny brightness, this gemstone is ideal for helping anyone to get through the tough times in life!

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