What is my birthstone? - November
TOPAZ AND CITRINE
Those with November birthdays have two beautiful birthstones to choose from: topaz and
TOPAZ MEANING & HISTORY
The variety of topaz hues includes colourless, 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 colourless topaz with irradiation and heating. The rainbow effect seen in “Mystic Topaz” is created by coating colourless 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 colours 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.
CITRINE MEANING & HISTORY
This November birthstone is the transparent yellow to brownish orange variety of quartz, which has been used in jewellery for thousands of years. Citrine has been a popular gemstone since ancient times and has shared a history of mistaken identities with the other November birthstone, topaz. As a result, people thought that citrine had the same powers as topaz. They believed that citrine could soothe tempers and calm the wearer.
The ancient Greeks carved rock crystal ornaments from it that glistened like permafrost. Roman pontiffs wore rings set with massive purple amethysts, and citrine has been reported in Roman jewellery. It was particularly popular in colourful Scottish jewellery from the Victorian era. Citrine, believed to derive from the French word for “lemon” (citron), is given for the thirteenth wedding anniversary.
Today, most of the citrine in the marketplace results from the heat treatment of amethyst. With its ready availability in a broad range of sizes, citrine is one of the most affordable and desired yellow gemstones.