For November babies…

There’s a couple of months in the year that have more-than-one options for a birthstone.

November happens to have Citrine and yellow Topaz. According to GIA Both November birthstones are known to have calming energies while bringing fortune and warmth to the wearer. Today, we will focus on Topaz. Most topaz and citrine birthstones are affordably priced, as good-quality gems are not as rare as for many of their counterparts. This means that those born in November have many options to choose from. Your challenge will be deciding which one to pick.

Imperial topaz

TOPAZ BIRTHSTONE MEANING & HISTORY

The variety of topaz hues includes colorless, light blue, yellow, orange, pink, violet, brown and, very rarely, red. The vast majority of blue topaz seen today is the permanent result of treating colorless topaz with irradiation and heating. The rainbow effect seen in “Mystic Topaz” is created by coating colorless topaz with a thin artificial film.

Some believe the word “topaz” comes from the Sanskrit word tapas, which means “fire.” Others trace it back to the Greek topazos. This November birthstone was long thought to have many benefits. The ancient Greeks believed that topaz gave them strength. From the 1300s to the 1600s, Europeans thought it could thwart 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.

The distinctly pinkish orange Imperial topaz has aristocratic cachet. It is commonly believed that the name originated with the Russian royal family’s insistence on keeping the finest colors of this gem, which was mined in Russia’s Ural Mountains, exclusively for their use. An alternate explanation, especially popular in Brazil, is that it dates from an 1881 visit by Brazilian Emperor Pedro II to Ouro Preto—the town closest to Brazil’s most productive topaz mines–and the gift of a reddish topaz to him.

Blue topaz is the gem of the fourth wedding anniversary, and Imperial topaz is the gem of the 23rd wedding anniversary.

WHERE IS TOPAZ FOUND?

Minas Gerais, a state in Brazil, is one of the most important sources for high-quality topaz, which has been mined there for more than two centuries. Yellow to orange, red, pink, violet and blends of red with orange or purple are some of the colors unearthed here. The nearby town of Ouro Preto is a fitting companion. In this UNESCO world heritage site, majestic colonial churches checker the skyline and quaint cobblestone streets crisscross the city.

Northwestern Pakistan is known for producing pink topaz. Ghundao Hill, close to the small town of Katlang, has been mined since 1972. The most sought-after shade of pink topaz from Katlang has a tinge of violet, which some in the gem trade call cyclamen pink. But even at Ghundao Hill, only rarely is this fine pink November birthstone found.

TOPAZ BIRTHSTONE CARE & CLEANING

Topaz is an 8 on the Mohs scale of hardness, but it has poor toughness, so care is required to avoid chipping or cracking. To clean this November birthstone, do not use steam cleaning or ultrasonic cleaners. Warm, soapy water works best. High heat or sudden temperature changes can cause internal breaks in topaz. The birthstone’s color is generally stable to light, but prolonged exposure to heat or sunlight might cause fading in some yellow-to-brown gems. Topaz may be affected slightly by some chemicals.

The coating on Mystic Topaz can withstand normal wear, but abrasive cleaners or buffing wheels will remove it. Only a mild soap solution should be used to clean a topaz birthstone treated in this manner.

Published by Peter Lopez

Peter is a lifelong student of art with a particular passion for jewelry, vintage European cars, movies, books, and history.

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