November Birthstones: Topaz and Citrine

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November Birthstones: Topaz and Citrine

Topaz and Citrine November Birthstone

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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