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November's Birthstone: Topaz & Citrine

By Nancy DeRoo on 11/3/2016
topaz and Citrine Birthstone for November

Traditional Birthstones: Topaz and Citrine

Modern Birthstones: Apache Tear/Obsidian     

November's Birthstone: Topaz & Citrine

Most experts agree the name Topaz is from Topazios, an ancient Greek name for St. John’s Island in the Red Sea. Others say it is from a word that means “fire” in an ancient Indian language. For centuries, topaz was associated with the color yellow. People assumed that all yellow gemstones were topaz, and that all topaz was yellow. Today we know it occurs in a broad color range that includes various tones and saturations of red, pink, purple, yellow, orange, and brown, as well as blue and green. Blue Topaz, although increasingly abundant, very rarely occurs naturally and is often caused by irradiation treatment. Topaz can also be colorless. Red and pink topaz varieties are rare, highly cherished, and very valuable.

Topaz is known for its calming energies, bringing warmth and fortune to those who wear it. It is said to calm tempers, cure madness and eliminate nightmares. Topaz and citrine look so similar, in fact, that they’ve often been mistaken for one another throughout history. They are actually unrelated minerals. Pure topaz is colorless, but it can become tinted by impurities to take on any color of the rainbow. The most prized color is Imperial Topaz, which features a vibrant orange hue with pink undertones.

Charachteristics of Citrine

Citrine is the variety of quartz that ranges from pale yellow to brownish orange in color. Citrine is derived from an old French word citrin, which means “yellow”. It takes its name from the citron fruit because of these lemon-inspired shades. Citrine’s yellow hues are caused by traces of iron in quartz crystals. This occurs rarely in nature, so most citrine on the market is made by heat treating other varieties of quartz-usually the more common, less expensive purple amethyst and smoky quartz-to produce golden gems.

Throughout history, people believed that citrine carried the same powers as topaz, including the ability to calm tempers, soothe anger and manifest desires, especially prosperity. To leverage these powers, Egyptians used citrine gems as talismans, the ancient Greeks carved iconic images into them, and Roman priests fashioned them into rings. It is also known as the “healing quartz” for its ability to comfort, soothe and calm. It can release negative feelings, spark imagination and manifest fresh beginnings. It’s even called the “merchant’s stone” for its tendency to attract wealth and prosperity.