The Birthstones of November: Topaz and Citrine
Were you born in the month of November? Then we have some great news for you! Those born in the month of November have two birthstones: Topazes and Citrines, which both happen to represent fortune. Continue to learn more about the symbolism, history, and features about the Topaz and Citrine gemstones!
Topaz and Citrine Uncut Gemstones
Why does November have two birthstones?
November is associated to two different birthstones, Topazes and Citrines, gaining its association throughout history. The months of the year differ in the amounts of birthstones that they’re associated to, each month usually having 1-2 birthstones, a select few having up to three gemstones.
There are different numbers of birthstones per month as there are the associated gemstones that are classified as either modern or traditional. The more common of the two types are modern birthstones, which were officially named by the Jewelers of America in the 1950’s. Traditional birthstones are the gemstones that were more commonly associated with its respective month in the early 20th century and even beyond. Many of these traditional birthstones have become too rare and are not as available on the market in this day and age, and therefore some months have modern birthstones that differ from its traditional associations.
Features of Topazes
The traditional birthstone for the month of November is the Topaz. The name “topaz” translates to “jewel” in Latin. There are those that believe that the name comes from the Sanskrit word “tapas,” translating to “fire.”
However, most historians and authorities agree that it comes from the word “Topazios” from the Greek island, Zabargad. This island was actually never a source of topaz, since peridot was often confused with topaz gemstones when it was being mined at the time.
Throughout history, all types of yellow gemstones were actually coined topaz as they were thought to only be its famous yellow-hue color. However, topaz gemstones naturally form in many different colors, basically taking on any color from the rainbow. Topaz is actually a colorless gemstone, but gains its colors from impurities.
The most valuable color of topaz is the golden orange-yellow “Imperial Topaz.”
The topaz color variety includes pink, orange, yellow, blue, purple, brown, and its rare red hue. There is a type of topaz called the “Mystic Topaz” which has a rainbow effect; this comes from a thin artificial film coating a colorless topaz. It is recommended for Mystic Topaz to avoid buffing wheels or abrasive cleaners as this would remove this artificial coating itself.
The Extremely Popular Color of Blue Topaz
Natural topazes in the color blue are very rare in nature, so most blue topaz are treated.
- Due to the rarity of topaz naturally forming in the color blue, a majority of the blue topaz seen today is made from treating their colorless form with heat and irradiation.
- A majority of the topaz market actually comes in an abundance of blue since it’s an extremely color amongst the topaz consumers.
The History and Symbolism of Topazes
One of the main sources of high-quality topaz has been mined in Brazil for over two centuries. Topaz can also be found in Pakistan, India, Russia, Australia, Nigeria, Mexico, the United States, Germany, Madagascar, Namibia, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka.
Many believe that the first topaz gemstone was first discovered in Germany in 1737 and somewhere in Brazil in the 1740’s. However, as mentioned before, other gemstones were mistakenly confused with topaz, such as the Greek island, Zabargad with its peridot production mines. So throughout these different eras, there have been documentations of topaz being mixed up with other gemstones. In conclusion, it all came down to Germany as being the initial place of discovery.
The topaz gemstone was believed to have many properties and powers from many different cultures. Generally, the topaz is known to symbolize warmth, love, and affection.
- The Ancient Greeks believed that this gemstone gave the wearer strength.
- Europeans from the 1300’s to the 1600’s believed that it gave the wearer magical abilities for spells, as well as the ability to relieve feelings of anger.
- Those in India believed that topaz gemstones worn above the heart provided beauty, intelligence, and long life.
With the blue topaz being the gemstone associated with the 4th wedding anniversary and imperial topaz with the 23rd, this stone of love and strength is a great gift for those celebrating those milestones as well as a November birthday!
Maintaining and Caring for Your Topazes
Topazes have a hardness of 8 on the Mohs scale of hardness. Though they’re pretty up there on the hardness scale, topazes have a poor toughness and a perfect cleavage, which requires these gemstones to have extra care when it comes to avoiding it from being cracked or chipped. Topaz cut also affects how wearable and durable it is in jewelry.
To put the scale of hardness into perspective, quartz has a hardness of 7 – 7.5 and are present in the particles of dust seen floating in the air and settling on uncleaned objects in your home. These particles have the hardness that is able to remove the polish from your table and the finish from your car. Diamonds have a hardness of 10, which is the hardest gemstone, and the softest includes talc, which is a gemstone that even your fingernail can scratch. These minerals can only be scratched by the hardness level above it, so opal jewelry owners should wear your opals with caution.
Your precious gemstones still deserve care and maintenance to keep it looking as sparkly and pristine as possible.
Topaz should be cleaned gently with mild soap in warm water with a soft cloth. Avoid bleach, chemical, and abrasive cleaners when touching up your jewelry at home, including lotion and sanitizer. It is best to avoid high heat and sudden temperature changes as these may caught internal cracks inside the gemstone. Avoiding heat or sunlight exposure also helps with preventing the color of yellow and brown topaz gemstones to fade. It is also recommended to not clean your topazes with ultrasonic cleaners and steam machines.
To learn more about our professional gemstone services, such as a professional clean and polish, feel free to check out a Gemstone Services.
Features of Citrines
The modern birthstone for the month of November is the Citrine.
The citrine gemstone gets its name from the French word for lemon, which is “citron.” The citrine name actually replaced the name of its previous term, “yellow quartz” in the year of 1556.
All sources of the gemstone’s name relate to its color and in relation to the citrus themes, and also stems from the latin root translating to lemon, which is “pomum / malum citreum.”
Citrine is actually a type of quartz that has a wide range of color from pale yellow to a deep orange honey color. The citrine gemstone actually gets confused with topaz often as well, since their yellow-orange hues are very similar. The yellow in the gemstone is caused by the presence of iron in the quartz crystals.
This golden gemstone of Citrine is one of the most affordable yellow gemstones on the market.
The color of pale yellow for citrines is actually quite rare to occur in nature. A majority of citrine gemstones on the market are actually made by treating other quartz with heat to get its yellow hues. Amethysts are the most common type of quartz treated with heat to get its popular yellow-gold color as it’s the least expensive, which was a process discovered in the mid-18th century.
The History and Symbolism of Citrines
The history of the citrine gemstone initially starts when it was first discovered several hundred years BCE in Ancient Greece, where the Greeks used the gemstone as decorative pieces. Today, Brazil is the largest producer of citrine gemstones, but it can also be sources from Span, France, the United States, Russia, Madagascar, and Bolivia. Each of these sources produce a different shade and hue of citrine.
Since the citrine and topaz gemstones were generally mixed up and confused for one another, citrine generally has a lot of the same symbolism, powers, and meaning associated to it. It is also associated to warmth, strength, fortune, and success.
With the citrine being the gemstone associated with the 13th year of wedding anniversaries, this stone of fortune and success is also alternatively a great gift for those celebrating those milestones as well as an October birthday!
Maintaining and Caring for Your Citrines
Citrines have a hardness of 7 on the Mohs scale of hardness. Since citrine is a type of quartz, it falls in the generally range of 7 to 7.5. As previously stated, minerals can only be scratched by the hardness level above it.
Although citrines are also a generally hard stone, be sure to avoid knocking your gemstone jewelry too hard as it can also lead to chipping and cracking in your citrine. Since it’s still only rated a 7 on the scale of hardness, store your citrine jewelry away from other gemstones to also avoid scratching.
At home, it is recommended to be cleaned with warm water, mild soap, and a soft brush, such as a toothbrush with soft bristles, or a soft cloth. It is also recommended to avoid steam cleaners as the high heat may cause your citrine gemstone to crack, however, ultrasonic machines are usually okay to clean your citrine jewelry.
To learn more about our professional cleaning and polishing services, visit our Clean & Polish Services page for more information.
This is a Topaz!
This is a Citrine!
Originally Published November 2, 2017, Updated and Expanded November 7, 2022
Replacing Your Missing Topaz or Citrine
Thinking about restoring a loved one’s sentimental birthstone piece? You’re in the right place to restore their precious memories.
Gemstones provide life and brilliance to any piece of jewelry, yet have the highest potential to damage. Whether it be a loose, lost, or scratched-up Topaz or Citrine, we take restoring the life of your treasures seriously. Any gem, any damage, we’ll make your jewelry sparkle as bright as the day you got it.
We have a team of specialists in place to properly source every type of gem needed for your treasured item. We understand your gemstones are unique and require specific attention. Our Professional Stone Sourcing team makes sure that all of your gems, even the ones that sometimes go unnoticed, are replaced by stones of the right caliber for your piece.
Visit our Gemstone Replacement Services page to learn more about restoring the brilliance of your Topaz or Citrine.
The Ultimate Birthstone Guide
“If you were born in November, your month’s birthstones are Topaz and Citrine.
If you didn’t already know, there are some months that have multiple birthstones, whereas some only have one. Traditional birthstones are gemstones that were most commonly associated with its respective month in the early 20th century and even beyond, with Ancient Greek and Roman philosophers associating these gemstones with the star signs. Those that are more commonly known in this day and age are the modern birthstones, which were officially named by the Jewelers of America in the 1950’s.
If you would like to learn more about birthstones in general, visit our Ultimate Birthstone Guide!“
Clean & Polish Services
“A basic clean, polish, and inspection is part of the routine care and maintenance needed to keep your jewelry looking like new. The inspection process includes looking for loose stones, bent prongs, and any damage to the metal or stones that need to be repaired.”
Stone Setting Repair
“A stone setting repair can be a simple re-tipping of a worn prong (which is considered routine care and maintenance) or the complete rebuilding/replacing of a damaged prong. In the case of severe damage, the entire head of the ring may need to be replaced.
Regardless of whether or not the prongs are compromised due to normal wear and tear or a result of accidental damage, we can provide the routine care and maintenance in order to ensure you do not lose a stone in your setting.”
Gemstone Replacement Services
“The process of a Gemstone Replacement is simple enough, yet requires trained eyes to be able to make a flawless switch. We aim to leave no trace of our work, which means not only will your setting be perfected, but the gemstone we choose will complete your jewelry piece effortlessly.”
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