Citrine: A study in yellow

The semi-precious citrine, like peridot, offers lavish gemmy pleasure for a relatively modest price.

Citrine is a variety of quartz, and ranges from pale yellow to brown. (A lot of what is sold as citrine is in fact heated amethyst or smoky quartz, ot
her minerals in the quartz family. "Lemon quartz" is one or more of the quartzes usually irradiated to get that pretty colour.)

Topaz has a rep as a higher-quality gemstone, because it's bit harder, and has a higher refractive index, which makes it sparklier when well-cut. Quartz is one of the most common minerals on the planet, so the material is plentiful. But a beautiful citrine, from yellow to reddish brown, can hold up its head with pride.

The advantage of the semis is that you can have a beautiful setting, because you have not blasted through your budget on the most costly of stones. At 7 on the Mohs scale, citrine is hard enough to set in a ring, and will take reasonable wear.

To really show off the sunny intensity of good citrine, go big: at least 6mm (about the size of a one-carat diamond) for studs, 4mm for stones in hoop or mixed-stone styles, and bigger for rings. As with all coloured stones, look for life and avoid too-pale, washed out hues.

Big Honkin' Yellow Rings

Citrine & Pink Sapphire Ring by Wendy Brandes

Citrine center stone surrounded by pink sapphires
, set in 18K yellow gold, $10,000. Beautiful design.

You can flash 25 carats of citrine (the ring is about 3/4 inches long) in a 14k white gold setting, for $795 fr
om Heavenly Treasures.

Would you like to guess where the flash
y 16mmx12mm oval citrine, framed in yellow sapphires, below, is from? Price is $569 with free FedEx shipping in the US.

They do not ship internationally but if you have serious lust for this ring, and know someone in the US, ask them to help you out... I would!

OK! It's from Zales, not a vendor I think of for glamorous, Harry Winstonish design... so I'm impressed.

If you dig leopard skin (hel-lo, I know who you are), I can see you in this ca. 1940 citrine and faux ruby ring set in 14kt yellow gold.

15-carat citrine flanked by trio of faux ruby cabuchon blossoms. Undercarriage is openwork detail. Dimensions: 18mm x 15mm citrine (about 3/4"). On sale from Ross Simons'
vintage collection, $1,721.

Faceting, intaglio
and inlay

Checkerboard faceting is huge in the secondary stone world; it adds zip to a mineral. Here's a 2 at Hammerman Gold Citrine Ring from Saks; at 7.35 carats, you could wear it for day or evening. I like the substantial 18k setting, and the $1, 300 price.

Erica Molinari 18k gold citrine drop earrings again show how faceting flat
ters; these have the slightest tinge of brown, and a graceful setting. Price: $540 from Fragments.

ecial vintage pieces

The profile of a woman (facing your right) is carved into a faceted citrine, probably in the
Victorian period, and set in the 1920s in 14k white gold. The face of the vintage ring is 7/8" by 3/4". Look at the ornate, beautiful setting; you simply do not see work like this anymore.

This is a gift a woman would treasure for life. $550 from Apriori Antique Jewelry on t
he Trocadero web site.

Citrine inlaid in onyx,
with diamond accents, is an elegant deco cocktail ring.

The oval is 3/4" tall and 1/2" wide.
A side view shows how the citrine is set. This is from another Trocadero seller, Adorn; the price is $1, 100.

If you like citrine with onyx but want a more modern style, you might like these smart earrings of pear-cut citrines (5mm x 7mm) set in 14k yellow gold.

The earring is 7/8" long, a very wearable scale. $165 (reduced from $325) from

Citrines in silver

Just because I say "Over 50, your jewelry should be real" does
not mean I have anything against silver; silver is real! Just make sure the setting has presence and some weight, or it looks like something from a head shop, circa 1970.

These citrine hoops are on sale for $50 (reduced from $100) at Ice. 3/4" hoops with six 4mm stones. 30-day money-back guarantee, and free shipping in US if you spend $150 or more; they will ship internationally.

Citrine tumbled beads are opulent pools of colour. These 17" strand is $40 from Exotic India Art. Use the e-mail feature on the site if you are interested in a particular size; they say what's on the site is "but a drop in the ocean."

Insist on stone and setting quality for semi-precious stones. Good design and fabrication are not easy to find, but are worth the search.

Tiffany's citrine is fine- and more reasonable than you might think. The Tiffany Sparkler 9-carat emerald cut cocktail ring takes silver and citrine uptown, $800 from Tiffany's web site, and available internationally.

Mixed stones with citrine

I want to show one piece in citrine and mixed stones, because it's such an appealing combination when the stones have good colour saturation and life.

Here's an example of what the finest saturation looks like, to build your eye. 18k gold multistrand necklace of peridot, amethyst, citrine, apatite, and pink tourmaline, $2, 400 from La Perla Jewelers. For that dosh, you get the wow factor. Literally makes my mouth water.

For a modest outlay, you can still find pretty mixes. The Chimera necklace of amethyst, citrine, peridot and quartz is $149 from Novica seller Shanker.

Citrine and pearl glow together. The Maddy Emerson necklace shown blends freshwater pearl, citrine and yellow jade for a most pleasing price, $55. Available on


materfamilias said…
Interesting, informative, and covetous-making! I could wear yellow like this.
I'm hoping you might consider a post on how to wear several chains together -- what lengths, weights, textures work ensemble. I see others doing this but am not sure enough about how to put my own pieces together or which one or two new chains I could buy that might combine well with anything. Any ideas?
Mardel said…
Fascinating post. I love citrines. Although I don't particularly wear yellow well I still adore and wear citrines.
You've found some gorgeous pieces there.
mette said…
Thanks Duchesse. I´m not so into citrines, but I liked the antique ring ! Waiting for the promised post about diamonds! ;)
Frugal Scholar said…
Love the citrine with onyx.
s. said…
To me, like wearing a warm ray of sunshine. So much more approachable and sexy than the cold fire of diamonds. Thanks!
WendyB said…
Thanks so much for the mention!
Vintage Rings said…
These are amazing! I do love their look and they are so much more affordable! thanks :) I have been thinking to start wearing rings again lately and your blog have been of great help to me :)
Duchesse said…
Vintage Rings: Thank you, I adore citrine and in winter it is like a little ray of sunshine on your finger.
Unknown said…
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