A topic of great controversy among crystal collectors and healers is the concept of heat-treated Citrine. A dramatic burnt amber to bright orange in hue, it does have an aesthetic appeal to it. However, what the general public does not know, is that at least 90% of what is being sold as “Citrine” by many retailers, is actually heat-treated Amethyst.
In this day and age, it is not uncommon for there to be a variety of treated stones on the market. Angel (or Opal) Aura Quartz, Indigo Aura Quartz, Titanium Aura Quartz (and Amethyst), etc. While these crystals were artificially enhanced (with the bonding of such minerals as platinum and silver), no one can deny that they have a unique aesthetic quality that appeals to certain tastes. At least though, these crystals are not being passed off and sold as something that they are not. While Amethyst and Citrine are both varieties of quartz, the chemistry that created their unique coloration is different. Amethyst’s purple color is formed from the presence of iron, Citrine gets its pale gold color from the presence of aluminum and lithium trapped within the crystal structure.
So how do you tell the difference between heat-treated Citrine (aka Amethyst) and natural Citrine? Sometimes it can be difficult, but ultimately it comes down to color. Heat-treated Amethyst is usually a burnt amber to bright orange. This color is achieved by baking the Amethyst in an oven at very high temperatures.
Here is an excellent example from my personal collection.
By contrast, natural Citrine tends to be a pale gold color.
Many Amethyst pieces have a white base, with the color concentrated toward the tips.
Here is another example of a heat-treated "Citrine" piece that shares this quality that is so characteristic of Amethyst. (White bottom, colorful tip.)
By contrast, here's presenting an example of a raw piece of Natural Citrine, that maintains its pale gold color throughout.
Smoky Quartz on the other hand, is closely related to Citrine. There is often a fine line between a very pale or a very golden Smoky Quartz and a brownish, darker Citrine. As they were both formed with lithium and aluminum, it is not uncommon for the two to co-exist in the same mine. That is why there are Smoky Citrines. Here is an example of such a crystal.
Here at Gem Realm, we offer a number of beautiful Citrines and Smoky Citrines. You can be assured that what you are getting from us is not heat-treated. If it is, we will let you know. I feel that if people wish to heat-treat crystals and sell them, that is their business. Some of them are really beautiful. I have had some in my collection and sold a particularly spectacular piece in the early days of Gem Realm. But I was honest about what it was in the product description. Heat-treated Citrine pieces are still very beautiful, but they are just not the same as Natural Citrine. Green Amethyst is also heat-treated, but you do not see people trying to pass it off as Peridot. How about calling it Orange Amethyst? Although it has become commercially acceptable to sell baked Amethyst as Citrine, there really needs to be a revolution among crystal sellers.