Are you a lover of all things yellow and sparkly? Do you find yourself admiring the beauty of yellow calcite and citrine, but struggle to differentiate between them?
In this Learning Guide, we'll dive into these fascinating these yellow gemstones, from their origins and physical properties to their spiritual meanings and popular uses in jewelry.
I'll even answer questions like:
- Are yellow calcite and orange calcite the same thing?
- Is natural citrine rare?
- What is heat treated amethyst?
Main Differences Between Yellow Calcite vs Citrine
Here are the main differences between yellow calcite and citrine:
- Citrine is recommended for jewelry use, whereas yellow calcite is not
- Citrine is most often treated, whereas yellow calcite is rarely treated
- Citrine is the yellow/orange variety of quartz, whereas yellow calcite is the yellow variety of calcite
- Yellow calcite is limited to yellow varieties, whereas citrine may be shades of yellow orange or orangey red too.
Two Yellow Stones, Two Different Minerals
Yellow calcite and citrine are two yellow minerals in the world, but with very different properties. In fact, their shades of yellow is about the only thing they have in common.
Citrine stones are immensely popular as both jewelry and for crystal healing purposes. Yellow calcite is mainly used for its metaphysical properties rather than use in jewelry.
What is Yellow Calcite?
Yellow calcite is one of the many different color varieties of calcite. Calcite is a calcium carbonate mineral that forms by way of precipitation. Calcium carbonate elements in the earth dissolve in rainwater within rock. Over time, additional minerals drop in and the solution solidifies, creating calcite crystals.
Different impurities and elements within the crystal structure of calcite crystals is what contributes the different color varieties. Yellow calcite crystals are the product of iron and manganese content within the structure. Additionally, the structure of a yellow calcite as a birefringent gem also affects the way we can view the colors of calcite crystals.
Yellow Calcite vs Orange Calcite
A lot of people confuse yellow calcite and orange calcite as the same mineral. Technically, they are the same mineral, with orange calcite consisting of higher concentrations of iron and manganese.
Yellow calcite ranges from pale yellow to bright yellow color, and even to deep brownish yellow-orange colors. These colors often earn yellow calcite various trade nicknames like
- Honey Calcite
- Golden Calcite
- Lemon Calcite
- Solar Calcite
- Yellow Iceland Spar
Read also: Most Popular Orange Gemstones
And the more misleading trade name, citrine calcite. This nickname compares the more pale yellow calcite colors to the pale color of naturally occurring citrine.
Orange calcite ranges from a peachy orange color to vivid bright orangey red hues. Some of its trade names include:
- Sunstone (not to be confused with the mineral sunstone)
- Fire Calcite
- Sacral Chakra Stone
- Orange Iceland Spar
- Golden Calcite (orangey yellow calcite colors)
Where is Yellow Calcite Found?
Calcium carbonate is common mineral found in the earth, so honey calcite can be found in many places. Some of the most popular places where yellow calcite can be found include:
- United States
- Czech Republic
Physical Properties of Yellow Calcite
Yellow calcite is a popular gemstone among those who practice crystal healing or believe in gemstone healing properties. Others may be wondering if they might run into yellow calcite jewelry at brick and mortar jewelry stores like Jared or Zales.
The answer is probably not. Not only is yellow calcite jewelry not valuable as other gemstones in the jewelry industry, it doesn't have the durability for everyday wear. Occasionally, yes. But a yellow calcite engagement ring worn everyday is out of the question.
The biggest caveat yellow calcite jewelry has is its low hardness rating. If you've read any of our other guides, you'd know the Mohs scale determines the scratch resistance of a mineral. Yellow calcite reaches a 3 on the mineral scale of hardness, with diamond being the most scratch resistant at a 10. Diamond's 10 is a far cry from calcite's 3 rating.
That means that calcite is very easily scratched by the dirt and dust in the air. Wearing it frequently will wear it down, simply from the air. That's aside from accidental bumps.
Hardness is only one piece to the puzzle of gemstone durability. But if your gemstone isn't a 6 or higher, it's vulnerable to scratching by daily dust. Scratches over time will make a stone cloudy and discolored. Many have to be replaced.
Healing Properties of Yellow Calcite
Yellow calcite has its own healing properties too. Ancient Greeks and Romans used the cooling effect of yellow calcite in topical lotions for burns and other physical healing. In Hinduism, yellow calcite is associated with the solar plexus chakra and is believed to promote enlightenment. Other properties that are associated with yellow calcite include:
- Brings mental clarity, aids with studying
- Dispel negative energies, spread positive energy
- Boost self esteem, enhance confidence
- Enhance creativity and fresh ideas
- Aid with digestive issues like bloating, constipation, and stomach health
Aside from these metaphysical properties, calcite has been used as ornaments, carvings, and even buildings since the ancient times. Both the Colosseum in Rome and Parthenon temple in Greece have calcite in them.
Read also: What are the Healing Properties of Onyx?
How Much Does Yellow Calcite Cost?
Since yellow calcite doesn't make the best everyday jewelry, it shouldn't cost too much. In fact, if you're buying calcite in a precious metal like silver, gold, or platinum, you can guarantee the metal will be more expensive than the stone itself.
Small pieces of yellow calcite can be very inexpensive. Mere dollars. But many of those looking for yellow calcite for its healing properties choose larger pieces like towers, freeforms, and mineral specimens. High quality mineral specimens of yellow calcite usually go for a few hundred considering their size, appearance, and weight.
Where to Buy Yellow Calcite
If you're in the market for buying yellow calcite, you already know it's not going to be in your jewelry store. But there's other places to snag you some. For crystals and freeforms, there's many sellers and platforms to buy specimens on. Just be careful where you purchase from.
The best places to buy yellow calcite are going to be:
- Local crystal and rock shops
- Etsy for handmade calcite jewelry and specimens
- Live Crystal Sale shows online (Facebook and Instagram)
- Gem Rock Auctions
- Gem Shows in your local area
What is Citrine?
Citrine is the yellow to orange variety of quartz. It's known as one of the standard crystals for those practicing crystal healing properties as well as the birthstone for November. Citrine crystals are formed when silica rich minerals containing iron impurities drip into igneous rocks and precipitate out, crystallizing.
Natural Citrine vs Heat Treated Amethyst
Quartz crystal content makes up around 12% of the earth's crust, making it one of the most abundant minerals in the world. Still, natural citrine is relatively rare.
That's because most citrine in the market is actually heat treated amethyst obtains its orange/ yellow color using irradiation smoky quartz or amethyst. Both amethyst and smoky quartz are other quartz varieties that can be turned into citrine.
Read also: Natural Citrine vs Heat Treated Amethyst
There's a way citrine to form naturally as a result of heat treatment too. Amethyst and citrine are found forming together often as a result of natural heat treatment of the sun for years and years. Still, these pieces are usually enhanced to make it stronger.
In fact, the two can be cut to form a popular bi-colored gemstone known as ametrine. Ametrine is gorgeous when custom cut or as a fantasy cut gemstone.
If you're purchasing citrine from your local crystal shop, don't expect them to know its authenticity. They're not gemologists usually. But we can guarantee all those vividly bright orange citrine specimens are heat treated by scientists.
Where is Citrine Found?
Different localities of citrine can produce different qualities and intensities. Some of the world's best citrine to buy comes from:
- Brazil (high quality natural citrine)
- Zambia (golden brown color, often found with amethyst)
- United States
Physical Properties of Citrine
You should keep a few things in mind when picking out a high quality citrine stone. Citrine is a stone that's considered to have relatively durable wearability. It can be used in all kinds of jewelry, including citrine engagement rings.
That being said, there are precautions to take when wearing citrine jewelry. We already know citrine is vulnerable to being altered by heat, so no wearing your citrine jewelry at an outdoor wedding in the summer. Otherwise, it can become discolored and need to be replaced.
Read also: Citrine vs Topaz
Citrine has a decent hardness rating at a 7, but it's still a ways away from a perfect 10, like a diamond. That means that citrine stones worn everyday will scratch over time, even with good care.
But with great care and proper cleaning, you can keep a citrine engagement ring looking good for years. But if you're not the type to want to spend the extra time caring for your stone, you may need to replace it once it starts looking cloudy.
Avoid citrine stones with obvious inclusions. It's very common for faceted citrines to be eye-clean, or free of natural inclusions.
The color quality of citrine is valued highest at an untreated rich yellow color. It shouldn't have any secondary hues of orange or brown. This is very hard to find.
Healing Properties of Citrine
Aside from being popular as a November birthstone, citrine is exceptionally popular among those who practice crystal healing. Many of the original uses of citrine in ancient times serve as the origins of their healing properties today.
Most ancient cultures regarded citrine as a powerful stone, capable of protection. In Egypt, citrine was associated with the sun god, Ra. Traditional Chinese medicines contained gem elixirs of citrine. They believed it had digestive healing properties.
Other metaphysical properties of citrine include:
- Bringing luck and fortune (earning its nickname as the merchant's stone)
- Physical healing for hair and skin (used in topicals)
- Balancing stone for the solar plexus chakras
- Used for deep meditative levels
- Promoting inner peace, letting go of negative energy patterns
How Much Does Citrine Cost?
Like all gemstones, the price of citrine stones and citrine crystals depends on many factors. Heat treated amethyst citrine healing crystals typically very abundant in crystal shops. In fact, most citrine you find in these stores are amethysts or even smoky quartz that have received heat treatment and are very affordable.
For those considering faceted citrine as a piece of fine jewelry, the price will depend heavily on its quality. Cut, clarity, and carat weight are significant contributing factors. However, the shade of citrine-its color, is the most important factor in price.
Unheated natural citrine is valued higher than treated citrine. The most expensive citrines are the Madeira shade, deep orange with red flashes. These are usually around $100 per carat at top color, natural of course. However most Madeira citrines are heated.
Where to Buy Citrine
It's not often you find citrine in fine jewelry stores. Places like Kays, Jared, and Zales will typically carry lab created citrine.
If you're looking to buy natural citrine, it may be best to go to a private local jeweler. However, Brilliant Earth also carries a small selection of loose citrine stones and citrine jewelry. They don't usually have a large amount, but you may get lucky. You may even find the perfect stone for your citrine engagement ring.
Like most yellow gemstones, yellow calcite and citrine are said to have bright vibrations and many positive transformation benefits.
Unlike yellow calcite, citrine stones can make the perfect stone for all sorts of jewelry. Yellow calcite jewelry is very soft, so it shouldn't be worn everyday.
It's much easier to find citrine jewelry in the market than it is for yellow calcite. Citrine isn't the most popular colored stone, but you can often find its heated form available often.
I hope you've gotten a good grasp on the differences between yellow calcite and citrine, and I wish you luck on your gem journey!