The Diamond Pro

November Birthstones: Topaz and Citrine

By Michael Fried
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Topaz and Citrine November Birthstone

While topaz is the November birthstone, blue topaz is commonly known as the stone of the fourth wedding anniversary. Those who are fortunate enough to enjoy November birthdays get their choice of birthstone jewelry with these beautifully stunning gemstones. They make for great jewelry including stud earrings, necklaces, engagement rings, pendants, and so much more, and also make for a very uniquely precious and thoughtful gift for someone you love.

Topaz Symbolism and Meaning

Revered as a powerful gemstone since ancient times, topaz is thought to bring healing and protection to anyone who owns it. November’s birthstone name is derived from the ancient Greek word “topazios,” meaning St. John’s Island. Topaz had referred to any gemstone that was yellow in color—stemming from the golden pieces once found near the Red Sea. Though the original stones were likely not topaz, the name now refers to a specific stone with distinct mineral composition.

Despite ancient references likely encompassing all yellow gemstones, topaz boasts a long history filled with meaning. According to legend, topaz banished lunacy and enchantment. In ancient Greece, Rome and Egypt, yellow gemstones were considered helpful in calming tempers, reducing nightmares and curing madness. Throughout the European Renaissance, topaz was thought to subdue anger and dissipate incantations. Hindus and African shamans alike regarded topaz as sacred, believing in its healing powers.

For those with November birthdays, topaz is an exquisite stone that often attracts attention and can be passed down for generations as a valued heirloom.

Tips for Purchasing Topaz Birthstone Jewelry

Topaz is one of the most important gemstones and has a very high refractive index with a hardness of 8. It is available in several different colors which makes it the ideal choice for jewelry applications.

When purchasing topaz, you will want to familiarize yourself with the difference between the different types of topaz stone. A precious topaz, by today’s standards, refers to a topaz that is more yellow in color and can range up to a more orange or peach like color. Topaz stones are commonly misidentified because of how distinct and vast the possibilities are.

An imperial topaz has a very reddish to orange color, but the term can also be used to describe a topaz with a pink hue as well. When purchasing a topaz, one of the most important characteristics to investigate would definitely be its color. When we discuss color, we will want to take a closer look at the stone’s hue, tone, and saturation.

Topaz Color

Though often known as a golden yellow gemstone, topaz is available in a range of colors, including blue, green, orange, red and pink. Red topaz is rare and tends to be quite expensive. Natural blue topaz is also rare, but when treated with irradiation and heat, blue tones can be quite abundant. Imperial topaz, also known as “precious topaz,” is signified by a yellow, pink or pinkish-orange hue. Imperial topaz is regarded as November’s signature and exquisite birthstone—although because of its rarity, it can be more difficult to find and purchase.

Comprised of the mineral silicate of fluorine and aluminum, topaz crystallizes within lava flow or within rocks that have solidified from lava. In its purest form, topaz is colorless. Small impurities give the stones their color, making topaz available in any shade of the rainbow. Achieving an 8 on the Mohs scale of hardness, topaz is durable enough for everyday wear and all styles of jewelry.

Colorless topaz is actually quickly becoming a more affordable alternative to purchasing a diamond.

Topaz stone on the Mohs Scale of Hardness

Topaz Origins

Due to the historical confusion of any yellow gemstone being considered as topaz, it is difficult to determine when topaz itself was originally discovered. During the 19th century, the Ural Mountains in Russia became a large source of topaz. Around the same time, a sizeable deposit was discovered in Brazil. The South American country remains the largest producer of high-quality, natural topaz.

These November birthstones are also mined in Australia, Germany, Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Italy, Norway and the United States.

Citrine: Secondary Birthstone

Not only do the November-born benefit from having the topaz gemstone, they’re lucky to have a secondary birthstone: citrine. Ranging from light yellow to brownish orange, citrine’s name comes from the French word “citron,” signifying its fruit-like, yellow color.

Citrine’s signature hue is due to small impurities of iron found in certain quartz crystals. Because traces of iron in quartz are a rare occurrence in nature, much of the citrine on the market is heat-treated quartz.

Primarily found in Brazil (particularly the Rio Grande region), citrine deposits are also located in Bolivia, Madagascar, Spain, Russia, France and the United States (namely California, North Carolina and Colorado).

Throughout history, Citrine has been regarded as the variety of quartz that offers healing capabilities. The gemstones are known to bring comfort, serenity and new beginnings.

Measuring a 7 on the Mohs scale of hardness, citrine is relatively durable, making it a practical choice for everyday wear and special occasions. Because citrine deposits are more abundant, the gemstone is an excellent and affordable alternative birthstone to imperial topaz.

How to Purchase Citrine Birthstone Jewelry

Citrine is one of the most popular gemstone choices for those looking for a yellow stone. Citrine is a type of quartz and makes for a very beautiful and stunning November birthstone.

When purchasing citrine, you will definitely want to consider the warmth of the stone which includes the hue of the yellow gemstone. Citrine is also a much more affordable option to consider in place of topaz and yellow sapphire gemstones.

Citrine is a gemstone that does well when paired with a bold, vibrant, and even dramatic jewelry design. It is also good to look for citrine with well-matched yellow colors to use in multi-gem birthstone jewelry options.

Caring for Your Citrine Birthstone Jewelry

Due to its position on the Mohs scale, the citrine gemstone is suitable for a variety of different jewelry types and can be worn daily. However, it is worth noting that if the citrine is exposed to abrupt and severe temperature changes it is very likely to crack or fracture and the color may begin to fade if it is exposed to light for long amounts of time.

To clean your citrine birthstone jewelry, simply use warm, soapy water and a cloth and gently clean the gemstone. The stones should never be steam cleaned or exposed to oils or other harsh chemicals that may damage the stone. You should also never allow the citrine birthstone jewelry to come in contact with heat and other high temperatures.

Choosing the Right Metal for Your November Birthstone

If you are afraid that you have set your stone in the wrong kind of metal, you should not worry too much. A gem set in the wrong type of metal is generally considered the same as not setting the stone in metal at all, meaning you will not diminish the stone’s value.

Depending on the color of the individual stone you have chosen for your November birthstone, you can choose from yellow or white gold metal to pair with your gemstones, or you can choose a sterling silver metal.

While some metal options may look better than others depending on the color and vibrancy of your November birthstone, it really comes down to your own personal preferences and what you would enjoy wearing.

Fun Facts

  • In 1768, the royal court of Portugal commemorated the discovery of imperial topaz (the now signature birthstone of November).
  • Weighing 596 pounds, an enormous colorless topaz crystal was found in Minas Gerais, Brazil.
  • Blue topaz is considered the traditional gift for 4th and 23rd wedding anniversaries.
  • Citrine is often gifted on 13th and 17th wedding anniversaries.
  • Several celebrities like Tara Reid and Kim Cattrall have been known to wear citrine rings.

Gift Ideas

Both topaz and citrine make for exquisite jewelry, though citrine is generally more affordable and easier to find. Consider a birthstone piece for the one you love, whether it’s a birthday, anniversary or special celebration.

For a pair of citrine earrings, consider these simple studs or a classic drop style like these from Blue Nile.

For rings, go with an exquisite design like this citrine and white sapphire ring or consider one with a higher setting like this cushion cut.

If you’re in search of a pendant or necklace, consider these styles:

For bracelets, choose your favorite multicolored arrangement, such as this simple oval one or this one with more flair.

The citrine or topaz bracelets can be worn regularly without the fear of incurring a lot of damage and wear and tear. These gemstones will last a considerable amount of time as long as they are cleaned and well cared for.

Whether you choose a citrine piece or one with topaz, it’s the thoughtfulness of your gift that counts. Also check out October’s opal and December’s tanzanite birthstones.

About the author
Mike learned the diamond business from the ground-up at Leo Schachter Diamonds - one of the world's top diamond manufacturers. He has been recognized as a diamond industry expert by Time, PeopleMoney, The Daily Mirror, NerdWallet, The Times Herald, Yahoo Finance Australia, The Art of Charm, The Washington Diplomat, The Next Web, and more. See more
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