Individuals born in November can choose between two sunny gemstones to brighten up this chilly month. November's birthstones, topaz and citrine, are both known for their calming energies, bringing warmth and fortune to those who wear them. Topaz and citrine look so similar, in fact, that they've often been mistaken for one another throughout history. They are actually unrelated minerals, and topaz occurs in a wide spectrum of colors far beyond yellow.
Both topaz and citrine were found on an island in the Mediterranean called Topazios in ancient times. Since the two gems were alike in color, though not in size or form, they were often mixed up. The most common topaz colors are brown, yellow, yellow-gold, and orange, all very similar to the shades of citrine.
The finest reddish orange topaz, called Imperial topaz, can resemble exceptional Padparadscha sapphire. Orange, reds and pinks are the rarest topaz colors, and the light green, purple-red, and colorless varieties of topaz are easily mistaken for other gemstones.
Even with this confusion, topaz accumulated an impressive body of alleged healing properties. Topaz is reputed to increase understanding, strengthen breathing, prevent colds, enhance creativity, bring relaxation, control angry passions, restore energy, and aid in tissue regeneration. Citrines were thought to protect against the venom of evil words and thoughts.
Topaz was often used to promote wisdom in its wearer, which may explain the medieval custom of giving topaz rings to heads of state, diplomats, and royalty. The gems in Hans Holbein's portrait of Henry VIII are most certainly golden brown topazes, as no other gem in that color was considered suitable for royalty at the time.
Blue topaz is the fourth anniversary gemstone, and Imperial topaz is the gemstone for 23rd wedding anniversaries. Topaz is the zodiacal stone for Sagittarius.
Nature rarely produces a blue topaz. However, in the 20th century, due to the advent of safe enhancement technology, blue topaz has become available and a popular gemstone for jewelry. Most blue topaz is colorless topaz that has been irradiated and heat treated to produce its blue color. The blue color created by this treatment process is permanent and stable under normal care conditions.
Blue topaz comes in light to deep blues, which are valued and priced according to the beauty of their color. The more saturated the color, the higher the price.
Topaz can be delicate and requires special care to avoid breaking under rough wear. Look for jewelry with mountings that protect the topaz, so that it's less likely to break if dropped or hit. Earrings, pins, bangle bracelets and pendants are safer for daily wear than rings or flexible bracelets. Warm, soapy water is the best way to clean topaz jewelry.
With its new beauty and affordable prices, topaz is a gem that any wise buyer can enjoy.
Come in and see our selection of gemstone jewelry or select a stone to make your very own one-of-a-kind piece!