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Decoding Real Citrine: Tips to Tell the Genuine from the Fake

Real Citrine vs Fake Citrine: How to Spot the Difference

Citrine is a stunning yellow gemstone that is synonymous with excitement and joy. It is a variety of quartz that is prized for its brilliant coloration and gemological properties.

However, not all citrine is created equal. Many consumers fall prey to fake citrine that is marketed to them as the real thing.

Fake citrine is a heated amethyst that has almost identical chemical makeup, but the yellow color is due to iron. In this article, we will explore how to spot a real citrine from a fake one.

Characteristics of Fake Citrine

One of the easiest ways to identify a fake citrine stone is to examine its color. Fake citrine is often a deep yellow or orange-yellow, similar to the color of natural citrine.

However, unlike natural citrine, which gets its color from trace amounts of iron, fake citrine is heated amethyst. The vibrant yellow color is due to iron, which is added during the heating process.

To the naked eye, the color of a fake citrine may look identical to that of a natural citrine. Still, a trained gemologist will be able to tell the difference easily.

Citrine and Amethyst Similarities and Differences

Another factor that can make it difficult to distinguish between real citrine and fake citrine is the similarity between citrine and amethyst. Both citrine and amethyst are varieties of quartz and share almost identical physical properties.

The only significant difference between them is the highest heat reached. Amethyst stones that are heated at high temperatures (around 470 C) tend to turn yellow or orange, producing a heated amethyst that resembles natural citrine.

However, unlike the deep and intense hues of natural citrine, the color of heated amethyst tends to be paler and is uniformly distributed.

Types of Citrine

When it comes to citrine, there are different types available. These include ametrine, prasiolite, and Madera citrine.

Ametrine is a variety of quartz that is a mix of two colors, purple and yellow. It is a natural gemstone and has not been heat-treated.

Prasiolite, on the other hand, is not a natural citrine, but a green quartz that is heat-treated to achieve a yellow or greenish-yellow hue. Madera citrine is a deep orange citrine that is named after Madera, a Brazilian state in which it is found.

Madera citrine is also a natural citrine and has not undergone any heat treatment.

Difficulty in Identifying Fake vs Real Citrine

One of the biggest challenges in identifying real citrine from fake citrine is that there is no obligation to disclose treatments. Many dealers sell heat-treated or dyed citrine as real citrine, and there is no law against it.

Additionally, newer techniques have made it even harder to discern between real and fake citrine. Some fakes are created using irradiated amethyst and smoky quartz, which have natural similarities and almost identical properties with natural citrine.

It is important to remember that not all treated or dyed citrine is fake, but it is crucial to know what you are paying for.

Signs to Look For Real Citrine

So, how do you spot the real thing? There are several ways to identify natural citrine from heated or treated citrine.

Spot-checking for Glass in Faceted Citrine

If you’re examining a faceted citrine, look for bubbles or inclusions in the stone. If you see bubbles, it means that the stone has been heated up to a high temperature where the internal gas dissolved into the molten quartz.

Bubbles in the stone may indicate that it is either synthetic or has been treated. It is important to note that some real citrines can have natural bubbles, but these are usually smaller in size and fewer in number.

Examining the Specimen’s Shape

Another way to identify natural citrine is to examine the specimen’s shape. Generally speaking, smaller crystal formations are often signs of a natural citrine.

Larger crystal formations can indicate that the stone has been grown in a lab. You can also look for geode formations, which are natural cavities that form within rocks.

Geodes can be a good indicator of natural citrine.

Checking the Coloration

When it comes to natural citrine, the color may vary depending on the source. Natural citrine may range from pale yellow to deep orange or reddish-brown.

It is also common for natural citrine to have burnt tips, which are usually a sign of exposure to high temperatures in the earth’s crust. You may also notice variations of color within the same stone, which is entirely natural.

Checking for Dichroism

Lastly, checking for dichroism can help distinguish natural citrine from treated citrine. Dichroism is an optical effect that refers to the ability of a gemstone to show different colors in different directions.

Natural citrine exhibits a slight dichroism, meaning that it appears to have two different colors when viewed from different angles. Heat-treated citrine, on the other hand, does not show any dichroism and has only one consistent color.


In conclusion, the difference between real citrine and fake citrine can be a challenging issue for consumers. However, with the right knowledge and understanding of what to look for, you can easily identify real citrine from fake citrine.

Spot-checking for glass in faceted citrine, examining the specimen’s shape, checking the coloration, and checking for dichroism are the four main ways to distinguish natural citrine from heated or treated citrine. While synthetic or treated citrine can also be beautiful, it’s always best to know what you are getting before making a purchase.

While it is important to differentiate between real citrine and fake citrine, it is also essential to appreciate the stone regardless of its origin. Some people may think that natural citrine is more valuable than heated or treated citrine and vice versa, but the truth is that the value of the stone lies in its aesthetics, reputation, and how it resonates with people.

Thus, one should not get caught up on natural versus treated citrine and instead focus on what they want from the stone and what constitutes the best value for them. In particular, many people collect and appreciate citrine for many different reasons.

You might be drawn to its warm color, its sparkling crystalline structure, or simply because of the positive energy and symbolism it represents. Whatever your reason for collecting citrine, it is essential to connect with other collectors and enthusiasts within the crystal community.

Here, you can share your knowledge and experience with others and learn from theirs in return. The crystal collecting community is a diverse and inclusive one.

It’s filled with people from all walks of life, cultures, and beliefs, all united by their love and appreciation for crystals. Many of these people call themselves rockhounds and spend countless hours exploring the world and searching for rare and unique specimens.

It’s through this community that you can find support, camaraderie, and a deeper understanding of the stones that you collect. Whether you are new to rock and crystal collecting or just starting to learn about citrine, there are countless resources available to you.

You can join online communities or forums, attend local workshops or events, or read books and articles on the subject. Sharing your passion and knowledge with others is one of the best ways to grow as a collector and expand your horizons.

One of the most exciting things about citrine is that it is one of the most accessible and widely available gemstones. Citrine can be found all over the world, from Brazil to Madagascar to Russia.

Additionally, it can also be found in a broad range of forms, from raw specimens to polished rock formations to faceted gemstones. This means that no matter where you are in the world or how much experience you have as a collector, you can find and appreciate citrine in your own unique way.

In conclusion, while it is important to know how to identify real citrine from fake citrine, that should not be the central focus of your appreciation and enjoyment of citrine. The value of the stone comes from its beauty, meaning, and how it connects with you personally.

The community of rockhounds and crystal collectors is a great place to share knowledge, experience, and to expand your passion for citrine and other gemstones. Whether you are a new collector or a seasoned expert, citrine is a beautiful and exciting stone that will continue to delight and inspire you for years to come.

In conclusion, knowing how to identify real citrine from fake citrine is essential, but it should not be the sole focus of your appreciation for the stone. Citrine is a beautiful and widely available stone that can be enjoyed in all its forms regardless of its origin.

It is important to connect with other collectors and enthusiasts within the crystal community to share knowledge and experience. Frequently asked questions regarding citrine include how to identify real citrine from fake citrine, the difference between citrine and amethyst, and the various types of citrine.

Answers to these questions have been provided throughout the article to help readers gain a better understanding of this stunning gemstone.

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