November’s second birthstone, citrine, is a variety of quartz that ranges from pale yellow to a honey orange color. It takes its name from the citron fruit because of these lemon inspired shades.
The pale yellow color of citrine closely resembles topaz, which explains why November’s two birthstones have been so easily confused throughout history.
Citrine’s yellow hues are caused by traces of iron in quartz crystals. This occurs rarely in nature, so most citrine gems on the market are made by heat treating other varieties of quartz—usually the more common, less expensive purple amethyst and smoky quartz to produce golden gemstones.
Brazil is the largest supplier of citrine. Other sources include Spain, Bolivia, France, Russia, Madagascar and the U.S. (Colorado, North Carolina and California). Different geographies yield different shades of citrine.
With a hardness of 7 on the Mohs scale, citrine is very durable against scratches and everyday wear-and-tear—making it a lovely option for large, wearable jewelry.