Ethan Lazzerini

Natural Citrine Vs Heat Treated Citrine

Natural Citrine Vs Heat Treated Citrine

Natural Citrine Vs Heat Treated Citrine

How do you know if your Citrine is natural or heat treated? What is the difference between the energy and properties of natural Citrine Vs heat treated Citrine? Read on to find out…
This is a bit of controversial topic and I do not like to focus too much on the subject of fake or treated crystals, but this is an important one. I may be wrong, but back in the 90’s I do not remember ever seeing natural coloured Citrine. Nobody seemed to be that aware till the early to mid-2000’s that much of the Citrine being sold in Crystal Shops and online was actually created by heat treating Amethyst.

Hold your panic stations! If this is news to you then please read on…

is your Citrine natural Citrine? (Pin to Pinterest)

is your Citrine natural Citrine? (Pin to Pinterest)

Heat Treated Amethyst Sold As Citrine?

If you put Amethyst in an oven on a high heat it turns yellow, orange or orange-brown. Natural Citrine is actually not that common, it is more expensive and it does not have a bright orange or yellow colour that many people are drawn to. Some crystal books, even to this day will show a heat treated crystal as an example of Citrine.
The definition of Citrine to many people is yellow Quartz, so it is easy to see how this all happened. I recently went to Etsy and did a search for ‘Citrine Crystal’ and only 2 out of the first 10 results looked natural to me. Before I give you my take on the difference between genuine Citrine and heat treated, let me try to help you spot the difference.
Heat treated Amethyst Citrine. Notice how the colour has changed but the form remains the same

Heat treated Amethyst Citrine. Notice how the colour has changed but the form remains the same

How To Tell The Difference Between Natural Citrine Vs Heat Treated

The following information is a general guide only. I am not a Mineralogist or Gemologist. It is worth asking a crystal seller if you are unsure to see if they can confirm that their Citrine is natural. Keep in mind that I have seen heat treated Citrine sold as “natural Citrine” online. Sellers may have been sold the stones as that by their supplier, some are just mistaken and then there are some that are being dishonest.
Most good Crystal Shops and websites sell both types and they are not often labeled differently. The best thing to do is learn to identify Citrine yourself to make an informed choice.
I am happy to say that there is more untreated Citrine on the market now than I have seen before. At the last Gem Show I went to, I did not see any heat treated Citrine. My guide is below, I have included lots of photo examples as seeing the two forms for comparison is really helpful.

How To Spot Natural Citrine:

Light golden yellow colour, like white wine

Light or deep golden brown colour, if smoky

Generally very clear crystals

Raw Crystal Points usually have straight sides

Many Raw Crystal Points are long like Quartz Crystals

Genuine Citrine is not cheap to buy

Raw Natural Citrine Crystal Point

Raw natural Citrine Crystal Point

Polished Genuine Citrine crystal point

Polished Genuine Citrine Crystal Point

Raw Citrine Crystal Point with smoky phantoms

Raw Citrine Crystal Point with smoky phantoms. Slight green colour like Lemon Quartz.

Below is a short video showing Congo Citrine which is more golden-brown and is unusual that the shape is like a pineapple. The smaller points are merged and surround the base.

How To Spot Heat Treated Citrine

Bright yellow colour

Orange colour

Burnt orange or orange-brown coloured Clusters

Lots of clear and white sections inside

Clusters and Geodes are very common

Raw Crystal Points are fat and tooth-like in shape

Crystal Points have have white at the base

Cheap to buy and easy to find

Natural Amethyst Cluster

Natural Amethyst Cluster (see below for comparison)

Heat treated Citrine Cluster with burnt orange points (aka Baked Amethyst) Photo from Pixabay

Heat treated Citrine Cluster with burnt orange points (aka Baked Amethyst) Photo from Pixabay

Cut and polished heat treated Citrine Double Terminated Crystal

Cut and polished heat treated Citrine Double Terminated Crystal

Heat treated Citrine Tumble Stone

Heat treated Citrine Tumble Stone

What’s The Difference Between Citrine & Amethyst?

Both Citrine and Amethyst are forms of Quartz and Silicate based minerals. They both have the same Mohs hardness. The golden yellow colour of natural Citrine is caused by traces of Iron. Amethyst though also contains Iron. Most Mineral books don’t even consider them to be that different and lump both stones under the entry for Quartz.
From the metaphysical point of view within the world of Crystal Healing, I think they are very different stones. Colour is vibration, so the colour says a lot about the energy of the two crystals. The same applies to the heat treatment, that permanently alters the colour of Amethyst. I can’t ignore the change in colour and vibration.

Properties of Natural Citrine Vs Heat Treated?

My opinion on this subject is that both crystals can be used but they are a little different. I prefer to work with natural Citrine because I think it is more powerful, in addition to its abundance drawing properties, it can be cleansing and detoxifying. Some natural Citrine crystals can have a high vibration energy.
Heat Treated Citrine feel lighter in energy, it can be used for prosperity and positive thinking too but lacks the cleansing power and the umph of the natural crystals for me. I see it more as a substitute where natural Citrine is not available or affordable. I know people who have effectively worked with the heat-treated stones, also some people may need that bright orange colour.

PLEASE READ Before Commenting Or Contacting Me

This guide was written in response to be being asked how to tell the difference by so many people. It contains everything I know, with lots of photo examples and a video. I think it is pretty clear. You will not see this much detail in any crystal book I know of… Please do not send me photos or links to crystals asking me to tell you if its Citrine or not. If this article has not helped you then perhaps someone else can do a better job.
Me doing this for you is not why I have a blog or wrote this article. I hope you can understand. IDing stones through photos alters the colours so it is never very accurate.  I am not a mineralogist or gemologist, they are the best people for identifying peoples crystals.
I have always prefered the golden colour of natural Citrine but which do you prefer? What are your thoughts on this subject? I would love to hear from you in the comments below (please keep any questions you have concise and on topic if you want a response).
With gratitude,
P.S. If you know anyone who may be interested in this article please share it with one of the sharing buttons at the end or side of this post.
Copyright © Ethan Lazzerini

Crystal Grids Power Book

40 thoughts on “Natural Citrine Vs Heat Treated Citrine

  1. Iren

    If only!
    For a while now I owe Tumble Crystal, I used to believe is Citrine, however, recently, I
    purchased two chakra stone sets from Hanna Kroeger’s website, I trust this source is reputable, the Citrine stones look just you described the natural Citrine, which makes me very happy, because authenticity is very important and I have a hard time to finish my crystal collection for crystal grids exactly because of that. Also I have to say I was looking for a while at the Meru Pyramid (from the link on your website), and finally I ordered it as my birthday present, it was so exiting to open it for a first time! Anyway, back to my “Citrine”, now I know it’s not a Citrine, however, I’m not sure is it a treated amethyst or maybe Calcite???

  2. Hayatti

    Thank you for sharing this Ethan.
    I think I have a few of the treated amethyst thinking they were natural citrine crystals.
    I bought them from CrystalAge.
    I’ve spent a lot of money buying crystals from that website.
    Their citrine clusters are mostly burnt orange in colour. I even bought their fat crystal points.
    This is so disheartening.
    Thank you Ethan for letting us know.
    Love your sharing as always.

  3. Alina

    I had heat treated Citrine and then bought some natural pieces. The sellers of both were honest telling me what those were, and I could clearly see the difference, not only in color, but also in price: same size piece of natural Citrine cost 4 times more than that size of heat treated one ($4 natural vs. $1 heat treated).
    I cannot work with a heat treared stone at all. It feels weird and even somewhat heavy. Hard to describe, but I couldn’t even hold it in my hands for more than a few minutes.
    Natural stones, on the other hand, are light and airy, and I love having them around. My whole demeanor changes when I have them on me.
    I really tried to give heat treated stones the benefit of the doubt, but it just didn’t work. I’ll stick to the natural ones from now on.

  4. Margaret

    I love natural Citrine, I have a few small pieces and no heat treated Amethyst, thanks for this article it’s very helpful

  5. Sinnamon Sevening

    Although I agree with the above information, I find the color vibrations from Heat treated “Citrine” (Amethyst) to be very beneficial when balancing my sacral chakra. The depth and beauty of the deep burnt orange color helps me to accept, resolve, renew and sometimes even remove feelings of negativity and obsessive actions in mind and spirit. While knowing that the amethyst will heal the emotional side of those obsessions and negativities.

  6. Kelly

    Even here in Brazil is difficult to find the natural ones and they are expensive. I work with the hear ones until I find the natural to buy. I like this article a lot.

  7. Tamara Johnson

    I just found out about heat treating amethyst to call it citrine, unfortunately I had already ordered a couple of pieces from ebay. (I know minerals from China are risky anyway) However, without a picture, I was hoping to get someone’s opinion, which I know is going to be hit or miss. The piece I received to date is a clear lemon yellow color with no orange. Just a little more yellow than your examples. Would you hazard a guess as to authenticity? In addition, what is Lemon Essence? Couldn’t find much info on google. Thank you!

  8. Debbie

    Hi Ethan – Does natural citrine ever come in clusters like the one shown or is it always heated amethyst? Is natural citrine ever heated to make it darker or more vibrant in color? Thank you.

    1. Ethan Lazzerini Post author

      Hi Debbie, there are some natural Citrine Clusters but they are not very common. The crystals are usually longer like a Quartz Cluster. I have not heard of anyone treating natural Citrine to alter the colour.

  9. Suzi

    I have been using my favorite ‘citrine’ in my Chakra balancing treatments for years! But now realise it must be heat treated!!!! It has served me very well and I will continue using it. BUT I did recently come across a genuine citrine and thought how it lacked colour!!! Ha ha – the laugh is on me as it must have been the genuine one! Any way, in future I will buy ‘real’ citrine as an option.
    Thanks for the info!

  10. Vicki

    Natural citrine is so expensive. I don’t buy the polished stones or points or anything. I purchase natural geodes from a local source in my home state. The vendor is a local rockhound. She cleans the geodes very well, but doesn’t do any type of heat treatment and never adds dye – all her geodes are very natural. The geodes usually contain other crystals (mostly clear quartz) besides citrine, but it’s a lot more affordable in a geode than in a point or obelisk or even as a tumbled stone. I saw a beautiful geode on eBay that was citrine with bands of blue lace agate, just gorgeous, but the listing expired before I could decide to bid on it.

  11. Milena

    Really informative, thank you for sharing. I wish I have read article before I bought my heated citrine. But I am going to get a natural one.

  12. Maury

    I have a question…I have sOn my way! Small pieces of citrine, and two of them were relatively clear when I got them. Over time they have acquired inclusions in them. Do you know why this would happen?

    1. Ethan Lazzerini Post author

      It has only happened to me once but I hear about this all the time. It is hard to understand how this happens. Some people say it means the crystal cleared some negativity for you or helped you heal something.

  13. Kay

    Wonderful article (information, photos and layout) Ethan, thank you so much. I understand more about Citrine now. I am curious, there are clear yellow (sometimes bright lemon like, sometimes olive green like, sometimes smokey quartz brown like) that are around 500grams and over 2kgs on eBay from China. It feels these larger so called “natural citrine” are just coloured crystals rather than citrine? Natural citrine you mentioned all are smallish, mostly around 20mm. Would you (and others) think the large ones are not citrine? I am also wondering if Citrine and smokey quartz have similar chemical make? How do we differentiate smokey quartz from citrine? By size at least perhaps? Thank you!

    1. Ethan Lazzerini Post author

      Hi Kay, just be aware that extremely cheap crystals from some parts of the world are reknowned for fakes. If its too good to be true, it probably isnt genuine. Natural Citrine can be any size, the larger pieces are less common and very expensive, so i don’t have any. For chemical make up and geological differences best to invest in an encyclopedia on mineralogy. Most Citrine isn’t smoky.

  14. Kay

    Thank you Ethan for your reply. I personally think all crystals are rather beautiful. It’s nice to get authentic Citrine if possible, its energy likely more pure. “Fake” or unnatural citrine, still beautiful, probably will appreciate us humans sending it love regardless…. And in return, help us with positive influences overall.

  15. Teri

    Well-written and an important topic for sure. My only concern is when someone realizes they have heat-treated citrine may disregard (get rid of / throw out) these crystals thinking they are “fake”. While not natural citrine, they are still quartz and a real crystal. If someone is working with heat-treated citrine and enjoys the energies, finding out it is not naturally occurring shouldn’t change that. I would venture to say that everyone working with\collecting stones probably has at least one heat-treated citrine in their collection.

  16. karen

    Dear Ethan,
    Hello I am from Texas and have been drawn to stones for years.,as well as collecting them. I just wanted to share with you a couple of things that I have discovered. It is something that you may not be aware of, then again you probably do. But I love talking about stones and have not enough chances too. Citrine was not distinguished as a stand alone stone for years, it was routinely used and passed off as Topaz. There in all likelihood pieces of Citrine in Royal jewels thought to be Golden Topaz as they are very similar in color. Ametrine forms it’s unique bi-color from it’s positioning as it thermally heats under ground. Not to say there are not any on the market that have not been artificially heated, plenty. It is like you stated too your readers about Citrine. But I think that stone energy workers should talk about it more, heat treated vs. natural. Because like the differences between Amethyst to Citrine which is just the trace metals that form the coloring. Heat does I think at the molecular level. You would be different after being in a microwave oven, wouldn’t you? So the stones should be identified natural or heat-treated.The stones you choose to use really pick you. Or the person that you are building a grid for or using them in opening chakras, or any energy work. Thanks for having this space as an outlet for stone lovers and energy workers. Karen from Texas

  17. Shilo

    Maybe the heat-treated-ness gives the crystals other qualities…like resilience.

    I have a heat treated piece of citrine and have thought it looked sadly burnt….I have been sadly burnt too and feel an affinity with it..

    Would you suggest burying it back in the earth to heal?? Or should I keep it in my crystal group??

    I am not sure what to do with it now….

  18. Marla Baguidy

    Hi Ethan,
    Great article! Do you have any recommendations for where to purchase real Citrine? It seems like everywhere I look they appear to be fake. I ordered one from Amazon and after reading your article I am skeptical. Please advise. Thank you -M

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  20. Jessica

    I just read your article and unfortunately I have discovered that I unknowingly purchased several crystals that I thought were natural citrine, but appear to be heat treated amethyst. My question is, when cleansing and programming the heat treated amethyst/citrine do you program the crystal with the properties of citrine or amethyst? Basically my question is, does the heat treated amethyst retain it’s properties or does it have the citrine properties after being heated?
    Thank you for your help.

  21. Nessa

    I have been a crystal collector and rockhound for years. I beg to differ with you your statement that all natural citrine crystals are light in color. Yes, those that are orange or burnt orange are heat treated. But you can find natural citrine with naturally intense color, because I have found them (albeit very small crystals) while searching for stones in Arizona. (What can I say – stones tend to find me, lol) Those that are dug commercially rarely are kept as specimens; most are sent to be faceted because of their value for jewelry. I would send you a picture of one of my finds if your site supported photos.

  22. Reyna

    I bought an 80cm strand of citrine chips for $10 Canadian and I have no idea if it’s real or not. All the chips are all ranging from off white, to dull yellow, to golden honey. It came with very few honey color ones. According to the rules here it should be real but I saw a listing on Etsy that was open about their citrine chips being heated amethyst and the product photo looked very similar.

  23. Nadia

    Hello, nice article. I think the level of vibration and power of a stone may have more to do with the individual than the stone. I use a cluster of heat treated citrine on heart chakra work and its super powerful. I think that the same way a person gravitates to certain stones because of the vibration is what is going to benefit the individual the most. So my thought is people should not go by what others say is more powerful etc, but by what they feel drawn to. As that energy is calling to them and will be just as powerful as what they need and will benefit them most.

  24. cathy

    I agree. My 8 yr old grand daughter wanted some crystals to make a grid. Her best friend loved that and is a little jealous. But that does not make me want to give her any more. I want to make Julia proud, not her best friend. I was glad to help her—she is starting her gifted program and I thought this might help her.

  25. Lynn Gooding

    I see a lot for sale out there that is heat treated. They make the claim they come from Brazil and it would originate there. It is clear that a huge raw tower piece is not genuine . It is really sad when a wonderful stone is heated to change the color.
    Do not fall for the over priced “junk” that is out there. It’s not going to serve you well in energy outlay as the stone will feel betrayed.

  26. Janette Gibbons

    Very interestings posts. I am just beginning to work with crystals although have collected them for years. I think I have heat treated citrine and natural although natural ones are very small. Thank you everyone for your opinions I respect them all but I will try working with both heat treated and natural

  27. V

    Those known as “lemon” quartz or “oro verde” quartz with the golden greenish color are actually irradiated to achieve that look. Heat is not the only treatment gems or crystals receive.

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