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What stone is yellowish orange?

There are a few different types of stones that display yellowish orange hues. In this article, we’ll explore some of the most common yellowish orange stones and what causes their coloration.

Yellowish orange stones can add a sunny glow to jewelry or décor. Their warm tones evoke thoughts of citrus fruits, honey, and autumn leaves. While many factors impact stone color, trace minerals and structural properties are often responsible for yellowish orange stones.

Some of the most popular yellowish orange stones include citrine, carnelian, amber, yellow jasper, and mango tourmaline. The vibrant colors in these gems can range from pale yellow to deep orange. Their hues are ideal for pairing with blues, greens, browns, and other earth tones.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what makes these stones yellowish orange. We’ll explore their chemical composition, optical properties, and more. Let’s dive in!

What Causes Yellowish Orange Color in Stones?

There are a few key factors that produce yellowish orange hues in stones and minerals:

  • Trace elements like iron
  • Structural defects
  • Optical phenomena

Let’s break these down in more detail.

Trace Elements

Transition metals like iron and uranium can produce yellow, orange, and brown tones when present in trace amounts. These elements have incomplete d-orbitals that allow them to absorb specific wavelengths of light. This selective absorption shifts the visible color toward orange and brownish-yellow.

For example, iron Fe3+ trace impurities cause the sunny yellow-orange hue in citrine quartz. Carnelian gets its warm orange from iron oxide inclusions. Amber’s golden yellow comes from sulfur impurities. Trace iron within the mineral structure is also responsible for the rich orange tones in imperial topaz.

Structural Defects

Defects in a mineral’s crystal structure can also contribute to yellowish hues. Irradiation exposure and lattice shearing result in structural imperfections that selectively absorb bluish wavelengths. This shifts the transmitted light toward yellow and orange.

Many yellow sapphires get their golden color from structural defects caused by exposure to radiation. Heat treatment and lattice defects also produce the warm yellow-orange tones in peridot olivine crystals.

Optical Phenomena

In some cases, the physical structure of the stone itself produces yellowish orange colors through optical phenomena like dispersion. Dispersion occurs when white light separates into its spectral colors as it passes through the gem.

In stones like demantoid garnet, high dispersion and refraction result in strong flashes of yellow, orange, and red. Mango tourmaline also exhibits dispersion effects in certain crystal directions, producing its rich yellow-orange body color.

Most Common Yellowish Orange Stones

Now let’s take a closer look at some of the most popular yellowish orange stones used in jewelry and decoration:

Citrine Quartz

Citrine is one of the most affordable and widely available yellowish orange stones. Its color ranges from pale yellow to amber and smoky orange-brown. Citrine’s sunny warmth and brilliance make it a popular alternative to yellow sapphire.

Citrine is a variety of quartz, with the chemical formula SiO2. Its color comes from trace amounts of iron within the crystal structure. The iron acts as a chromophore, absorbing violet and blue light to produce citrine’s signature golden glow.

Most citrine on the market is heat treated amethyst. Natural citrine is rare, found mainly in granite pegmatites. Major sources include Brazil, Madagascar, Spain, and the United States.


Carnelian is a translucent orange variety of chalcedony quartz. It displays a rich, saturated color ranging from orange-red to yellow-orange. The name carnelian comes from the Latin word for cornel cherry, referring to its vibrant hue.

Its color stems from trace iron impurities that absorb blue-green light. Most carnelian forms through precipitation from iron-rich fluids in igneous rock cavities. Major sources include India, Brazil, Uruguay, and Germany.


Amber is an amorphous fossilized tree resin, not a mineral. It displays yellowish orange hues from dark honey yellow to reddish orange. The color stems from sulfur impurities absorbed during resin fossilization. Other organic materials in amber also contribute to its color.

Amber often contains fossilized plants and insects, making it of interest to paleontologists and collectors. The largest amber deposits come from Baltic coastlines and the Dominican Republic. Amber is quite soft compared to minerals.

Yellow Jasper

Jasper is an impure opaque variety of microcrystalline quartz. It comes in many colors, including a bright golden yellow variety. The vivid yellow tones stem from hydrous iron oxide inclusions.

Yellow jasper can display interesting banding, flow patterns, and orbicular textures. It polishes to a dull, matte finish. Major sources include the United States, Canada, Brazil, and Australia.

Imperial Topaz

Imperial topaz is the most valuable color variety of topaz gemstones. It displays a distinct reddish orange to pinkish orange hue. The color results from trace chromium and iron impurities within the crystal structure.

The largest imperial topaz stones come from Brazil, where they formed in aluminum-rich pegmatites. Fine imperial topaz over 100 carats is quite rare and valuable. Other yellowish orange topaz varieties include precious topaz and sherry topaz.

Mango Tourmaline

Mango tourmaline gets its name from its rich yellow-orange color, evocative of the tropical fruit. The hue results from manganese traces within the tourmaline crystal structure. The manganese acts as a chromophore to absorb bluish-green light.

These gems display strong pleochroism, appearing yellowish orange down the c-axis and more pinkish parallel to the a-axis. The largest mango tourmaline stones come from Nigeria and Mozambique.

Yellow Beryl

Yellow beryl includes golden varieties of the mineral beryl: heliodor and golden beryl. Both display a pure yellow to yellowish orange color. Trace iron, uranium, or manganese produce the yellow coloring.

The finest yellow beryl comes from Brazil, Namibia, Russia, and the United States. Yellow beryl is much rarer than blue aquamarine and green emerald beryl varieties.

Spessartine Garnet

Spessartine is an orange-colored manganese-rich garnet. Its color varies from reddish orange to yellowish orange. The manganese acts as a chromophore, similar to mango tourmaline. Major sources include Brazil, Sri Lanka, Australia, and Nigeria.

Yellow Sapphire

Yellow sapphire is a golden variety of corundum, aluminum oxide. Trace iron and lattice defects give it a deep golden yellow color. The finest yellow sapphires come from Sri Lanka, where they formed in metamorphic rock.

Yellow sapphire can display a range of hues, from canary yellow to brownish orange. The pure yellow and orange-yellow gems are most desirable for jewelry use.

Other Yellowish Orange Stones

Here are a few other lesser-known gems that can display yellow-orange hues:

  • Fire opal – Translucent orange opal from Mexico
  • Jacinth – Orange-red zircon
  • Madeira citrine – Orange variety of quartz
  • Mexican amber – Fossilized resin
  • Novaculite – Metamorphic quartz from Arkansas
  • Scapolite – Yellow and orange varieties
  • Zultanite – Pink to orange-brown beryl

Evaluating Yellowish Orange Stones

When evaluating potential yellowish orange stones, color is the most important factor. Vivid saturation, an even distribution of color, and freedom from brown hues increase value and beauty.

For transparent gems, also evaluate clarity, brilliance, and purity of color. Finer gems will be very transparent with few or no visible inclusions. Look for brilliance in the form of exceptional sparkle and fire.

Larger carat sizes also attract higher prices, as size is rarer. But unusually large stones should be examined closely for quality. For softer amber and opal, look for a very clean polished surface.

Provenance or source also impacts value for certain stones. Specific mines are famous for their quality of gems.

Here are a few key factors to evaluate:

Factor Qualities
Color Vivid, saturated hue; Even distribution; Lack of brown tones
Clarity Very transparent; Few inclusions
Brilliance Exceptional sparkle and fire
Carat Larger size; Quality not overly compromised
Provenance Reputable source location

How are Yellowish Orange Stones Used?

Thanks to their warm, sunny tones, yellowish orange stones have many decorative and jewelry uses. Here are a few of the common uses for these bright gems:

  • Cocktail rings – Large carnelian or citrine
  • Statement necklaces – Yellow jasper or imperial topaz beads
  • Pendants – Yellow sapphire, amber, or spessartine
  • Earrings – Demantoid or mango tourmaline drops
  • Bracelets – Yellow beryl or carnelian charms
  • Brooches – Carved amber accents
  • Cufflinks and rings – Orange jacinth or fire opal
  • Decor – Polished citrine points or slices

For jewelry, orange stones are especially striking when set in yellow or white metal settings. Their warm undertones also complement earth tone color palettes. In décor, yellowish orange stones add a sunny touch to neutral rooms.

Interesting Facts About Yellowish Orange Stones

Here are a few fascinating tidbits to know about yellow and orange gemstones:

  • The largest cut yellow sapphire is the 563.35 carat Golden Jubilee, found in Sri Lanka in 1985.
  • Citrine was historically used as a decoration and ornamental stone, known as “goldstone.”
  • The Black Prince’s Ruby in the British Imperial Crown is actually a red spinel, not a ruby.
  • Spessartine garnets are found in gold mines, leading to their nickname “goldstone.”
  • The vivid orange Spessartine “Hollandia” was found in Namibia in 2004, weighing over 250 carats.
  • Yellow beryl is sometimes irradiated to deepen its color and increase value.
  • The largest round faceted imperial topaz is a 228.1 carat gem called the American Golden Topaz.

Enhancing Yellowish Orange Stones

A variety of treatments can enhance the color and clarity of yellowish orange stones:

  • Heat treatment – Heating citrine and amethyst can intensify pink and yellow tones.
  • Irradiation – Exposure to radiation can turn many light yellow gems darker orange-yellow.
  • Fracture filling – Filling fractures with coloring agents or oils enhances apparent clarity.
  • Waxing and oiling – Penetrating gem cracks with paraffin, oil, or resin improves luster.
  • Dyeing – Yellow and orange dyes infused into fractures or surface cracks adds color.

Always have significant treated stones tested by a qualified gemologist. Enhancements not disclosed or detectable can significantly impact value.

Where to Buy Yellowish Orange Stones

You can find quality yellowish orange stones at:

  • Online jewelers – Many sell loose stones or set jewelry with shipping.
  • Jewelry stores – Some carry inventory; many can source specific gems.
  • Gem shows – Public shows offer loose stones from many vendors.
  • Gemstone dealers – Specialty suppliers for jewelers and collectors.
  • Auction houses – Feature stunning rare gems in limited events.
  • Thrift shops – Might find occasional amber or citrine jewelry.

For the best range, buying online or from a gemstone specialist is ideal. Make sure the seller is trustworthy and has suitable return policies. For unique antique or estate jewelry, auctions and thrift shops can yield interesting finds.

Caring for Yellowish Orange Stones

To keep your yellowish orange stones looking their best:

  • Store jewelry in soft fabric bags to prevent scratching.
  • Keep amber jewelry away from direct light to prevent fading.
  • Clean with mild dish soap, water, and a soft brush.
  • Avoid harsh chemicals, heat, and ultrasonic cleaning.
  • Take special care with softer stones like amber, opal, and fossilized wood.
  • Have larger gems periodically re-polished and re-set to maintain their beauty.


From fiery carnelian to sunny citrine, yellowish orange stones add striking warmth to any jewelry collection. Their hot hues evoke the colors of autumn leaves, honey, and sunsets. With proper care, these fiery gems make stunning keepsakes to treasure for years to come.

Tracing the causes of their rich colors reveals fascinating geology, chemistry, and optics. Iron trace elements, structural defects, and optical phenomena all contribute to producing nature’s palette of yellow and orange.

Understanding what makes each gem special helps inform smart purchases. But ultimately, choosing stones that speak to you personally will ensure you’ll adore wearing and displaying them for their beauty alone.