November is here, the air is cool and the holidays are right around the corner. We all start spending more time indoors and, if you like me, around a fire or wrapped up in a warm blanket. Similar to a burning fire both birthstone options for this month have nice warm glow to them.
Many consumers know topaz as simply an inexpensive blue gem. They’re surprised to learn that its blue color is hardly ever natural: It’s almost always caused by treatment.
Precious topaz is a birthstone for November. Imperial topaz is a medium reddish orange to orange-red. This is one of the gem’s most expensive colors. Sherry topaz—named after the sherry wine—is a yellowish brown or brownish yellow to orange. Stones in this color range are often called precious topaz to help distinguish them from the similarly colored but less expensive citrine and smoky quartz.
Topaz actually has an exceptionally wide color range that, besides brown, includes various tones and saturations of blue, green, yellow, orange, red, pink, and purple. This stone is also pleochroic, meaning that the gem can show different colors in different crystal directions.
The ancient Greeks believed that topaz gave them strength. In Europe during the Renaissance (the period from the 1300s to the 1600s) people thought that topaz could break magic spells and dispel anger. For centuries, many people in India have believed that topaz worn above the heart assures long life, beauty, and intelligence.
Topaz is found in a variety of locations across the globe including Africa, South America, the Middle East and here in the good old U.S.A.
Reasons to love Topaz
Topaz is a relatively hard gem, rating an 8 on the Mohs scale,
Topaz comes in some of the gem world’s largest crystals: the largest are kilos, not carats.
Faceted topaz takes such a high polish it’s slightly slippery to the touch.
Topaz comes in a verity of colors and can also be pleochroic, displaying different colors in different crystal directions.
The alternate birthstone for November is the Citrine.
Citrine is rare in nature. In the days before modern gemology, its tawny color caused it to be confused with topaz. Today, its attractive color, plus the durability and affordability it shares with most other quartzes, makes it the top-selling yellow-to-orange gem. In the contemporary market, citrine’s most popular shade is an earthy, deep, brownish or reddish orange.
Natural citrine is rare. Most citrine on the market is the result of heat treatment of amethyst.
Citrine is mined mostly in South America in Bolivia and Brazil.
Why you should love Citrine
It’s Affordable – Even fine citrine has a modest price tag. Large gems remain affordable, as price per carat does not rise dramatically for larger sizes
Geodes – Giant hollow crystal-lined amethyst geodes from areas like Brazil are often heated to become giant citrine “cathedrals.”
AMETRINE – In Bolivia, amethyst and citrine colors can occur together in the same crystal. These unique gems are called ametrine