Radiant Lemon Hues
Commonly known as gold topaz, or Madeira or Spanish topaz, in actual fact the citrine has very little in common with the unrelated topaz – except for a few nuances of colour. However, the history of the citrine is closely interwoven with that of the topaz. However, the citrine is a member of the large quartz family that is characterized by a multitude of colours and different crystal structures.
The name is derived from the colour – the yellow of the lemon – although the most sought-after stones have a clear, radiant yellowish to brownish red. Like all crystal quartzes, the citrine has a hardness of 7 on the Mohs scale and is, to a large extent, insensitive to scratches. Even if their refractive index is relatively low, the yellow stones have a mellow, warm tone that is reminiscent of late afternoon sunshine.
Historically, it has been found in Spain, on the Scottish island of Arran, in France and Hungary. In Europe, the boom on these yellow to reddish crystal quartzes didn’t begin until, in the 1930s, expatriate agate cutters from Idar-Oberstein sent large quantities of citrine back home, along with amethyst and agate, from Brazil and Uruguay. Thus the golden-yellow quartzes made a contribution to Idar-Oberstein becoming – and remaining – one of the world’s great gemstone centres.