Citrine is known as a stone of light, joy, success, and positive energy.
What’s not to love?!?
It is also one of the most widely misunderstood crystals. This is mainly because there are a few different types of "Citrine" and also many names for it, which can cause confusion.
In this guide, we will explain and clarify the differences, similarities, and answer the most common questions about this beautiful and powerful crystal.
Natural Citrine vs. Treated Citrine (aka baked amethyst)
How Natural & Treated Citrine is Formed
All Citrine is formed when Smoky Quartz or Amethyst is superheated. This change happens at around 800-900 degrees Fahrenheit.
Natural Citrine is formed from Geothermal heat in the layer of Earth called the Mantle. The heat of the mantle transforms Amethyst and Smoky Quartz into Citrine within the ground.
Heat-Treated Citrine is formed by humans in lab or factory. After a piece of Amethyst or Smoky Quartz is mined, it is then heated by humans to transform it into Citrine. This is sometimes called "baking" the crystal, and it mimics the earth's process.
In fact, if you have access to a kiln, you can create your own Citrine by baking Amethyst or Smoky Quartz at the correct temperature!
This photo from Geology In shows how exposing Amethyst to UV light and heat can change its appearance.
- Top Left: Untreated, Natural Amethyst
- Bottom Left: Exposed to UV light
- Top Right: Exposed to Heat (380 degrees celcius, 8 hours)
- Bottom Right: Exposed to Heat (450 degrees celcius, 12 hours)
Why would someone heat up a piece of Amethyst or Smoky Quartz?
This is typically done because the piece is poorly colored or low-quality in some way, so baking it into Citrine actually makes it a more desireable and attractive crystal.
It is estimated that 90% or more of the "Citrine" on the market today is heat-treated.
Natural Citrine is more rare and more expensive.
How to Tell the Difference:
Natural vs. Altered Citrine
Distinguish By Color (simple)
Natural Citrine Color
- Natural Citrine can range in color from very pale yellow to light brown, light gray, or almost clear.
- It also sometimes has a greenish tint.
- Natural Citrine will typically have a uniform color.
- Some describe it as “white wine” or “champagne” colored.
- Some varieties will be a deep brown, like Madeira Citrine.
- Lower quality can be light gray, light brown, or almost clear and will still have a consistent color.
Examples of Natural Citrine
Treated Citrine & Baked Amethyst Color
- Heat-treated Citrine is much brighter than natural citrine.
- Treated citrine can range from bright yellow, to bright orange, pale orange, burnt orange, or gold.
- Heat-treated Citrine does not typically have a uniform color like natural Citrine.
- There will typically be white parts of the crystal in addition to the colors mentioned above.
- As you move up the crystal, the color typically will become more and more concentrated with the yellow and orange colors.
- If your Citrine has any orange in it, it is 100% guaranteed to be a heat-treated specimen.
Examples of Treated Citrine
Form, Shape, and Origin of Citrine
- FORM: If it is a geode, it is heat-treated. This means it was originally an Amethyst because Natural Citrine does not form in geodes.
- Heat-treated Citrine is often sold as pieces that have been broken off an Amethyst geode.
- They will be what is described as “Dog tooth like”
- There will be a point at the top, but the bottom will also taper.
- Heat-treated Citrine will not form in a natural point with faceted sides.
- Natural Citrine will most often be a 6-sided point.
- It typically will not taper at the bottom
- Natural Citrine, Amethyst, and Smoky Quartz form all over the world.
- the most common place that heat-treated Amethyst comes from is Brazil.
- If it is from Brazil, it does not guarantee it is Heat-Treated, but it is important to check as it can be an additional clue.
Side By Side Photo Comparisons
Natural Citrine vs. Treated Citrine
Healing & Metaphysical Properties of Heated vs. Natural Citrine
Natural Citrine and Heat-Treated Citrine do carry the same metaphysical properties and energies. Some believe that natural citrine is more powerful than heat-treated.
In most cases this is a matter of personal preference. If you find yourself gravitating towards citrine, be open to either possibility.
Let's look at some of the other differences and similarities to help you decide which is right for you.
- Both vibrate with same properties, chakra, element, and zodiac sign.
- Both are in the yellow frequency, and they will radiate that energy of that frequency.
- Energies in the yellow frequency include many of citrine’s qualities: prosperity, success, joy, and optimism.
- Both Natural Citrine and Heat-Treated Citrine begin as real, natural Quartz-based minerals that come from the Earth.
- Both have the chemical compound SiO2
- Both are Amethyst or Smoky Quartz that is exposed to high temperatures.
- One is heated by Mother Earth.
- One is heated by humans, giving mother earth a helping hand.
- Color: As detailed above, the color of treated vs. natural citrine are different. If color symbolism is important to your work, you may prefer one or the other. As an example:
- Some people work with Color Magic and use the magical properties of colors of crystals.
- Some spells require a certain color of crystal as well.
- If this is the case, the color of your Citrine may influence your choice, depending on whether you need a more earthy tone or a very bright one.
- Natural Citrine is more rare and more expensive, so Treated Citrine gives more people the opportunity to use this amazing crystal!
The Many Names of "Citrine"
Citrine is sold under many different names, but most shops just call it "Citrine".
The general mineral name of "citrine" lacks a key piece of information that helps to distinguish the way in which the citrine was formed.
Citrine is often mislabeled. Sometimes intentionally, btu mostly due to a misunderstanding or lack of knowledge on part of the seller.
Other names you may see for Citrine include:
- Natural Citrine
- Kundalini Citrine
- Madeira Citrine
- Smoky Citrine
- Man-Altered Citrine:
- Treated Citrine
- Heat-Treated Citrine
- Artificial Citrine
- Fake Citrine
- Burnt Amethyst
- Baked Amethyst
- Treated Amethyst
- Heat-Treated Amethyst
- Heat-Treated Smoky Quartz
What is Citrine?
Citrine is a member of the quartz family.
Other members of the Quartz family are Clear Quartz, Rose Quartz, Smoky Quartz, and Amethyst, just to name a few.
Citrine is a yellow gemstone that emanates Joy, Success, Positive Energy, and Abundance. It’s easy to see why it is such a popular crystal.
It is found all over the world, but it is most commonly mined in Brazil, the Ural Mountains, and Madagascar.
Citrine is a form of Microcrystalline Quartz and is a 7 on the Mohs Hardness Scale, just like other forms of Quartz.
Citrine vs. Other Quartz Varieties
Citrine is often mistaken for a variety of other yellow stones.
One common confusion is citrine and ‘lemon quartz’. Like citrine, lemon quartz is part of the quartz family and it goes through heat treatment. However, lemon quartz is also irradiated.
Some sources use the word ‘topaz’ interchangeably with citrine. This is incorrect. While citrine and topaz do have some similar qualities, they are chemically different. Since topaz is more expensive than citrine, part of this misinformation comes from disreputable sellers trying to pass citrine off as topaz.
Citrine is also commonly referred to as ‘yellow quartz’. Although technically it is a quartz that is yellow, there is an actual yellow quartz that is very different from citrine.
It is a similar shade of yellow to heat-treated citrine. Unlike most quartzes, yellow quartz has a milky quality to it and it is not translucent.
Always be sure to research which kind of citrine you are purchasing so that you receive the stone that is right for you.
Distinguish Citrine by Dichroism (complex)
If you cannot tell if your citrine is natural or treated by its color, then there is another option which is more difficult.
HOW TO: The easiest way to check for this effect is to use your laptop. Use a blank screen (preferably white) and turn the brightness all the way up. This will be your source of polarized light which will allow you to see the different colors.
If it is not Dichroic, meaning you don’t see different colors within the crystal as you turn it in front of polarized light, it is a Heat Treated Citrine.
Citrine is a crystal that is buzzing with positive energy! It is one of the most popular crystals for healing and energy work.
It is a stone of positivity and light. It inspires joy and attracts abundance.
Whether it is Citrine when it comes from the Earth, or it is Heat-treated Amethyst or Smoky Quartz, it still exudes these wonderful qualities!
Use Citrine to bring happiness into your life?