November Birthstones – Topaz and Citrine

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While most months are represented by only one gemstone, individuals born in November can choose from either topaz or citrine. These two sunny gemstones are both known for their calming energies and bringing warmth and fortune to those who wear them.

While topaz and citrine look very similar, they’ve often been mistaken for one another throughout history, they are actually unrelated minerals. Citrine is the variety of quartz that ranges from pale yellow to brownish orange in color. Topaz occurs in a wide spectrum of colors far beyond yellow.

Both of November’s birthstones are fairly abundant and affordably priced, even in large sizes, which makes them a perfect gift idea.

Photo courtesy of Michelle Jo

Topaz Overview

Topaz, from the Sanskrit word for fire, is primarily mined in Russia, Pakistan and Brazil. The topaz mined from Guerrero, Mexico, is highly sought after for its distinctive bi-color attribute, which makes the brown stone appear reddish at certain angles. Topaz, a silicate mineral composed of aluminum and flourine, is found in a variety of colors that cover the gamut of the rainbow including yellow, red, blue, green, pink and violet. The yellow to orange-hued version is most often associated with the November birthstone. The sherry topaz and topaz with rich orange and pink undertones have been prized by monarchies for centuries and are the rarest and most expensive of the vast array of colors available.

Topaz History

Ancient Romans and Egyptians wore topaz to symbolize their devotion to the sun god, Ra, and it was believed to heal wounds and protect from enemies and illness. Today, Topaz represents love and affection along with intelligence and strength. Those associations, in addition to its superior refractive attributes, may explain its popularity among Russian royalty who were especially fond of deep red-violet and pink topaz jewelry, known today as Imperial Topaz. The Braganza Diamond, actually a 1680 carat colorless topaz, was used in the crown jewels of the Portuguese monarchy and was originally believed to be a diamond. The American Golden Topaz weighs 22,892 carats, making it one of the largest cut topaz gemstones in history.

How to Buy Topaz

Topaz is rated an 8 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness, making it a suitable and highly desired stone for jewelry. Ovals, cushions, pears and emerald cuts are the most popular options for this gemstone used in all popular topaz jewelry styles. Smaller stones weighing up to 5 carats are affordable for budget-conscious shoppers, while the gemstone increases in price dramatically when weighing more than 5 carats. Slight inclusions found in topaz do not necessarily signify lower quality stones but may actually enhance the intensity of the colors. The term, Precious Topaz, may be used to refer to gemstones with rich yellow to peachy-orange colors. It is considered the second most valuable topaz in the commercial market, preceded only by the Imperial Topaz.

Citrine Overview

In 1912, the American National Association of Jewelers officially included citrine to represent the November birthstone. It takes its name from the French word citrine, which roughly translates to yellow citrus. Colors range from pale yellow and orange to light brown with reddish undertones. Citrine, rarely found in its natural pale yellow hue, is most often heat-treated to produce its most popular colors in the yellow-orange and brown hues. In fact, most commercially available citrine jewelry is heat-treated amethyst crystal, which takes on the rich hues associated with the gemstone when exposed to high temperatures. Natural citrine, found in Madagascar, Dauphine France and the Russian Ural Mountains, produces the pale yellow, almost clear, gemstones.

Citrine History

Long before its official birthstone status, citrine was associated with the planet Virgo and the healing properties of the sun. Among Eastern philosophies, citrine is believed to bring about prosperity, especially in business affairs. According to some beliefs, the stone keeps negative energy at bay and acts as a conduit for releasing toxic thoughts and negative energy that has been absorbed from the environment. Citrine’s autumn hues are also associated with abundant harvest.

How to Buy Citrine

Citrine’s affordable prices are related to its abundant supply and not a measure of poor quality. When purchasing citrine jewelry, look for uniform color throughout the stone. Some larger stones may exhibit a flaw called zoning, which causes the gem to take on color variations. These variations can diminish the value and interfere with the refractive qualities of the gemstone.

Citrine rates a 7 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness and has a high refractive rating, making it suitable for all types of jewelry settings. Because of its reaction to heat, citrine jewelry should not be exposed to extremely high temperatures that can alter the color of the stone.

Visit us in store at 368 Southland Drive, Lexington, and let our experts provide assistance in selecting the perfect birthstone gift.