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Is Heated Citrine Fake?

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What is natural Citrine? Do you know what heated Citrine is? Wondering if heated Citrine is FAKE? How do they make heated Citrine? You will find out all this and more right here in our article!

WHAT IS NATURAL CITRINE

Citrine is a yellow variety of Quartz, identified by its colour. It occurs in shades of yellow, orange and brownish hues, and is translucent. It gets its name from the old French word ‘citrin’, meaning yellow.

The colour develops when Quartz containing ferros iron impurities (mostly Hematite and Goethite) is exposed to earth’s geothermal heat.

At the right temperature (referred to as “thermal stability”) the iron minerals finely disperse throughout the Quartz material, and create the characteristic hues.

Quartz impurities
Quartz impurities (mineral inclusions). Image via MDPI.

SOME OF OUR NATURAL CITRINE AVAILABLE TO BUY:

WHAT IS HEATED CITRINE

The vast majority of Citrine on the market is produced by heating Quartz to copy the geothermal process that occurs naturally underground.

  • Brown shades of Quartz material (Smoky Quartz) when heated produces light to medium yellow Citrine,
  • While purple shades of Quartz (Amethyst), produces stronger yellows and orange-red to orangey brown shades.
  • The gem community highly prizes a type of heated Citrine called “Madiera Citrine”. It is a dark Citrine with orange to red flashes. It is created by heating natural Citrine with a high enough iron content. The jewellery gem trade fully accepts this stable treatment.

Heated Citrine is when they heat the Quartz material above ground through a heat treatment.

Heat treatments of Quartz
Different heat treatments to Quartz. Image via Geology In.
Scientific testing of heating Quartz
Scientific testing of heating Quartz. Graph via Nature.

The mine usually does the heating. Because there is no simple test to tell whether the Quartz material has enough iron content to transform into Citrine, they have to monitor the process very carefully.

SOME OF OUR HEATED CITRINE FOR SALE:

SO WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE?

The simple difference between natural and heated Citrine, is where it was heated.

The earth’s mantle naturally heats natural Citrine underground. The mine applies a heat treatment to heated Citrine above ground.

HOW DO YOU TELL THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN NATURAL & HEATED CITRINE?

Ideally, you should expect your crystal shop to label their crystals properly. They should clearly label Citrine as ‘natural’ or ‘heated’. Luckily you don’t need to rely on them to do this, since it’s actually very easy to tell them apart once you know what to look for.

Citrine, Natural Polished Points 1-10g 1

IDENTIFYING NATURAL CITRINE

APPEARANCE: Natural Citrine has more of a ‘dirty’ appearance in general, since the process is natural and uncontrolled. Sometimes it’s almost clear, with just a hint of pale yellow colouring. And other times it can be quite smoky, almost dark brown. It is not always very attractive.

AVAILABILITY: Natural Citrine is actually very rare. You will not find it in huge abundance.

PRICE: You will notice that natural Citrine is generally quite expensive.

Heated Citrine Point Polished Freestanding

IDENTIFYING HEATED CITRINE

APPEARANCE: Heated Citrine has a brighter, clearer yellow gold or orange gold colour. It is always very pretty.

AVAILABILITY: Heated Citrine is very common. You will find it easily and in large quantities.

PRICE: You will notice that heated Citrine is not as expensive as natural Citrine.

IS HEATED CITRINE FAKE?

In our article series on fake crystals, starting with ‘IS THIS CRYSTAL REAL OR FAKE‘, we provide you with information and tools for figuring out if a crystal is fake. In the third article, ‘ITS ALL IN THE NAME: SOME COMMON CRYSTAL FAKES EXPLAINED‘, we give you a set of questions to apply. Let’s apply them here:

  • Did the finished product form naturally in the earth? = NO
  • Does it consist of real, natural crystal/mineral – or is it synthetic (glass/plastic/resin)? = REAL
  • Is it imitating something else that does occur naturally (pretending to be something it’s not?) = WELLLLL…..YES & NO. CHEMICALLY & VISUALLY, IT IS CITRINE, BUT IT DIDN’T FORM NATURALLY.
  • Is it a natural crystal that has been enhanced and sold as itself? Or is it being sold under a different name? Does its name give you any information? = IT IS AN ENHANCED CRYSTAL VIA HEAT TREATMENT. GOOD CRYSTAL SHOPS SHOULD LABEL HEATED & NATURAL ACCORDINGLY, BUT NOT ALL DO…

WHICH IS BETTER??

When deciding which is better between natural Citrine and heated Citrine, it all comes down to preference, and your reason for wanting to buy Citrine.

Heated Citrine is very beautiful, easy to find and affordable.

Natural Citrine is lovely in its own way, but not always beautiful by general terms. It is harder to find and more expensive.

Crystal & mineral collectors definitely prefer natural Citrine due to its rarity.

Energetically, natural Citrine will have a more earthy energy, while heated Citrine tends to have a more higher-pitch energy. They have the same properties in all respects, since energy will move through the crystal lattice the same way. You can learn more about this in our CRYSTAL BASICS series, specifically the HOW CRYSTALS WORK article.

Really, this is a very personal conclusion – you will need to hold both and work with both to decide for yourself. Some people feel VERY strongly that they have different properties, or that heated Citrine is not as good as natural Citrine energetically. I think they both are good and have different strengths.

Now you have all the facts, you can decide for yourself!

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