Good news for lovers of variety as well as fall’s rich colors… the birthstones for November are beautiful Topaz and Citrine!
Topaz, aka ‘Imperial Topaz’ or ‘Precious Topaz’, ranges in color from pink to a rich golden brown. Topaz was given the name ‘Imperial’ in the 19th century when the Tsars of Russia claimed exclusive rights to wear and own the brilliant pink stones mined in the Russian Empire. Topaz is a silicate mineral, typically found in the Ural Mountains and also in Brazil. Some particularly fine specimens even show red dichroism—the term for a gemstone that shows flashes of different color as you tilt and move the stone. The larger topaz family actually has an exceptionally wide color range that, besides brown, includes various tones and saturations of blue, green, yellow, orange, red, pink, and purple.
WHERE IS TOPAZ FOUND?
Topaz is found in the Ural and Ilmen mountains of Russia; Brazil, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Czech Republic, Germany, Norway, Pakistan, Italy, Sweden, Japan, Nigeria, the United States and Mexico as well as Flinders Island, Australia.
TOPAZ MEANING & ANCIENT LORE
- It is believed that the name Topaz comes from the Greek island of Topazios, now called Zabargad. This island is actually a source of fine peridot, which was frequently mistaken for topaz.
- Golden topaz appears in many legends… said to be emblematic of the Egyptian sun god, Ra, it could grant men virility, and enhance the wisdom and judgement of people who wore it.
- In India, wearing a topaz gem over one’s heart is meant to grant long life, good health and beauty.
Citrine, or the yellow to brown variety of Quartz, is the other birthstone for November. It comes in a variety of brilliant yellow to reddish brown shades, and is much more abundant—enormous, high quality stones are readily available for people who love the sublime autumnal colors of this beautiful gem.
The rarest and most desirable citrine is the darker brown/red version called Madeira Citrine, after Madeira, Spain.
WHERE IS CITRINE FOUND?
Most citrine comes from Brazil, but almost all of the Brazilian material is heat-treated amethyst. Natural citrine is found in the Ural Mountains of Russia, in Dauphine, France, and in Madagascar.
CITRINE MEANING & ANCIENT LORE
- The name Citrine derives from the French Citron, or lemon.
- Citrine is the gemstone most associated with the astrological sign, Virgo.
- Citrine is also known as “the success stone” because it is believed to be associated with prosperity and abundance; many companies keep citrine crystals in their cash registers believing it will attract wealth and success to their business.
- Citrine is the traditional gift for a 13th wedding anniversary.
BUYER’S GUIDE: TOPAZ AND CITRINE
WHAT TO LOOK FOR: COLOR
Imperial Topaz is priced based on intensity of color, size, and clarity. Natural, unheated pink topaz is by far the rarest, but rich golden brown specimens can be “pinkened” with careful heat treatment.
Citrine is quite rare in nature—most citrine quartz is created by heating naturally occurring amethyst. This treatment is so common, though, that it doesn’t affect the value of the stone.
In fine-quality gemstones, size makes more of a difference in the price.
TOPAZ AND CITRINE CARE
Imperial Topaz is an 8 on Moh’s mineral hardness scale—which means it is appropriate for everyday wear. However, you should always be careful, as the stone can fracture easily on impact.
Citrine, at 7.5 on Moh’s mineral hardness scale, is hardy enough for everyday wear so long as care is shown, especially with rings.
Topaz and Citrine are easy to clean on your own, but, as with any gemstone, be sure to handle it with care. Both gemstones should be cleaned once every 6 months.
If you’d like to do it at home, simply mix lukewarm water with a little mild soap, and use a soft bristle brush to clean the stone. After cleaning, dry with a soft cloth. For deeper cleaning, allow the piece to soak for 10 to 20 minutes, and then follow the remaining steps of the above procedure.
Source: GIA (Gemological Institute of America)