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The Radiant Gold & Violets of Quartz

Quartz is a very well known gem species, with variations in many different color ranges and phenomena. The jewelry trade has seen its forefront designers make use of this gem in a wide diversity of designs and carvings. Now, two of the most popular quartz variants come into the spotlight for us to examine and talk about.


Amethyst is the purple variety of the quartz species. It's been hailed as the world's most popular purple and violet gem for as long as anyone can remember, at one point in time- even matching the fine reputation of ruby, sapphire and emerald.

Nowadays, amethyst has held its popularity, although with the advent of widely emerging sources in brazil and other countries, its value has become more commercial compared to diamonds or the big three colored stone varieties.

Its color is caused by exposure to the earth's natural radiation, and the presence of iron trace element atoms. Without these factors, the crystal would just be regular SiO2, or colorless quartz.

Heating amethyst alters its internal atomic structure, creating a amber brown or yellowish color, and decreasing or diminishing the crystal's pleochroism.

Citrine is the golden yellow variety of quartz, and a majority of its demand is now being filled by the production of heated amethyst crystals from Brazil. Despite the moderate availability of natural citrine, the golden yellow hues produced by treated amethyst seem to appeal more significantly to many buyers in the trade today.

There is debate among the gemstone buying societies as to whether heated amethyst should be called "citrine" or not, as some would still feel that "treated" amethyst or even "baked amethyst" is more accurate a term.

The price and supply of this heated material also remains to be the number one factor in its usage for Citrine market demand. Some treaters even segregate the heating area of an amethyst crystal, producing a bi-colored purple and yellow variant called ametrine.

Ametrine can be found in nature, especially in specific localities in Bolivia, however a majority of those you see being used for jewelry are a product of partially heating amethyst specimens.

Citrine, as a gemstone is favored by many Asian cultures because of its golden color. People seem to associate its bright yellow hue with fortune and monetary abundance. Wealth is factor often tied to the possession of gemstones, and gold is another material people would often link with the two.

Citrine's vivid, and almost aureate appearance lends to its importance in eastern beliefs and practices like feng shui. In contrast, amethyst's depth of purple color has allowed it to gain affluence in the past- as a royal gemstone, signifying nobility, trust and sobriety.

External Image credits to T. Spann & L. Morganston
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