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Formed within the earth’s crust, quartz has three distinct pathways it can develop into – the most common being quartz, then followed by amethyst. Only when there is an appropriate amount of natural heat and the right mixture of iron will citrine, a pale yellow crystal, be formed.
From its rare and humble beginnings, citrine has been recognised as a valuable gemstone throughout history. When it was first discovered between 300 to 150 BC in Greece, citrine was often either mistaken for yellow topaz or simply known as ‘yellow quartz’. It was not until the 1500s when the name ‘citrine’ was officially cited in a publication by German mineralogist Georg Bauer. The name citrine came from the latin word citrus as the colour of the gem reminded Bauer of a lemon.
During the Hellenistic period in ancient Greece, citrine was incredibly popular, and artists would often engrave in the stones images of greek gods and goddesses, animals and mythical creatures. The popularity of citrine continued and expanded outwards, reaching the Roman empire where they were encrusted into sword blades as it was believed that citrine would bring them victory in war. The idea that citrine brought its owner success especially in times of war came not only from the Romans who associated the stone with the God Apollo, but dates even further back to when the ancient Egyptians first discovered the crystal and believed that it inherited its yellowish hue from the sun. In Egypt, citrine was also associated with Sekhem, the Goddess of War, as legends told of her destructive powers and how she was sent to earth by the Sun God Ra to punish mankind.
Throughout time, citrine has never lost its association with the sun but its mystical properties differed according to different cultures. In ancient China, citrine was also known as the merchant’s stone, as the Chinese believed that placing citrine in a specific area of the house can bring wealth and prosperity to its occupants. They also believe that carrying a piece of citrine on them can help them clear their mind of any impurities, just as the light of the sun can cut through a misty day.
As a stone that is believed to bring wealth, success, and clarity, there is no doubt that the popularity of citrine will continue for years to come.