8 November 2023
More choices for the November birthstone. Topaz and Citrine. Topaz comes in many colors and citrine, like it sounds, is found in yellows and oranges.
This stone varies in hue from colorless, light blue, yellow, orange, violet, and brown. Occasionally, but rarely, it will appear in red. The origin of the name either comes from Sanskrit tapas or fire or Greek topazos. A pink-orange Imperial topaz mined from the Ural Mountains was found and claimed by the Russian royal family. There is also the story that a reddish topaz was a gift to the town of Ouro Preto by Brazilian Emperor Pedro II in 1881. Must be nice to be “royal”.
The ancient Greeks thought this gemstone provided strength and the Middle Ages Europeans felt it was a weapon against magic spells and anger. In India, if worn over the heart, it would provide long life, beauty, and intelligence.
Brazil is one of the primary sources of topaz. The town of Ouro Preto, mentioned previously, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Northwestern Pakistan is also a noted producer of various colors of this gem.
Most of the topaz we see today is rainbow or blue and is the result of treating the colorless topaz with an artificial film or irradiation and heating. This is fine for normal wear and tear but can be damaged by abrasives, cleansers, or buffing wheels. Natural topaz in any color can easily be chipped or cracked. Only use warm, soapy water to clean it when necessary. High heat or prolonged sunlight can cause fading.
Blue topaz is the stone for a fourth wedding anniversary and Imperial topaz for the 23rd.
Myths that surround this jewel include:
- As the symbol of the Sun God, Ra, Egyptians felt the power of this gem.
- Hindus believed it had powers of protection including preventing homes from burning and maintaining health and beauty.
- African shamans thought it provided weath.
- Greeks and Romans found it had strength and would prevent injury.
- It was also thought to prevent sleepwalking, reduce inflammation, and improve eyesight.
- Some think it will bring love and good fortune while revealing lies. Others think it will ease weariness and bring the wearer into a good mood.
A transparent version of quartz, this stone will vary from yellow to brown and is often mistaken for topaz. Citrine is thought of as a calming agent. Its name comes from citron or French for lemon.
Most prevalent sources for this gem are Bolivia, Spain, Madagascar, Mexico and Uruguay. However, most the the citrine we see on the market is amethyist that has been heat treated.
It is very affordable and is durable enough for normal wear. Clean it with warm, soapy water if necessary. Although ultrasonic cleansing is acceptable, it could cause the stone to crack.
Symbols and myths:
- Wealth, imagination, warmth, energy
- It could calm tempers and anger.
- It was thought that men would become more handsome and intelligent.
- It repels negative energy.