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Citrine and Spinel


Citrine is a variety of quartz whose color ranges from a pale yellow to a rich reddish-brown.   Brazil is the leading producer of Citrine, with much of its production coming from the states of Rio Grande do Sul and Minas Gerais.  It is also found in the countries of Uruguay and Zambia among others.

The name is derived from the colour - the yellow of the lemon - , although the most sought-after stones have a clear, golden yellowish to brownish red hue. Like all crystal quartzes, Citrine has a hardness of 7 on the Mohs scale and is thus, a good wearing gem.

Citrine is an alternative  birthstone for the month of November.  Some  of its metaphysical properties are said to be its ability to facilitate psychic awareness and help against depression.


Spinel has a  hardness of 8 which makes it one of the most durable of gemstones.  It may be colorless, but is usually found in various shades of red, blue, green, yellow, brown or black.  Some Spinels are among the most historically famous gemstones: Among them the Black Prince`s Ruby and the `Timur ruby` in the British Crown Jewels, and the `cote de Bretagne` formerly from the French Crown jewels. The Samarian Spinel is the largest known Spinel in the world, weighing 500 carats (100 g).

In the past, before the arrival of modern science, Spinels and Ruby were equally known as Ruby. The transparent red Spinels were called Spinel-Rubies or Balas-Rubies.  After the 18th century the word Ruby was only used for the red gem variety of the mineral Corundum and the word  Spinel was used  to differentiate a different mineral type.. "Balas" is derived from Balascia, the ancient name for Badakhshan, a region in central Asia situated in the upper valley of the Kokcha River, one of the principal tributaries of the Oxus River. The Badakshan province was for centuries the main source for red and pink spinels.

Because Spinels made in a laboratory are often used for imitation birthstone rings, many people think `synthetic` when they hear the name Spinel. This does no credit to the natural gem variety of Spinel which is much sought after by collectors for its colour, beauty and durability.  In fact, the main factor preventing the Spinel from achieving greater recognition is its rarity. Fine Spinels are now rarer than the Rubies they used to imitate. Strangely, they are also more affordable: in the gem world, being too rare can be a drawback because so few people even get a chance to develop a fondness for the varieties in question.

Spinel is mostly found in Myanmar (formerly Burma), Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Russia and Africa (Tunduru).