Two choices for this month: Topaz and Citrine. The Topaz comes in a rainbow of colors, but Citrines are limited to the hues of rich honey, burnished gold, and (of course) the citrus fruits that inspired the name. Some colors are unstable and can fade away; for example, brown Topaz mined in Siberia can be bleached by sunlight. In other stones, color changes can be induced by heating. High energy irradiation and moderate heat treatment of colorless Topaz can transform it to blue gemstones. Pure Topaz, when brilliantly cut, can be often mistaken for a diamond. The most valued and rarest color is red. Imperial Topaz-sherry colored varieties of brownish-yellow, orange-yellow and reddish brown-are the most popular Topaz stones and command high prices, as do pink colored stones. Light blue and pale yellow Topaz are of less value, but are nevertheless stunning in beauty.
Citrines have become increasingly popular in the last 200 years; before that, Topaz was the yellow stone of choice for jewelry. Citrine was often called gold Topaz before the 20th century, but it is actually a quartz stone, similar to amethyst. As for its mystical powers, citrine has a calming effect on the emotions. It helps alleviate despair and promote healing.
The word ‘Topaz,’ birthstone for the month of November, comes from a Sanskrit word meaning “fire.” And in ancient lore, the Topaz could be used to control heat. It was said to have the power to cool boiling water, as well as excessive anger. As medication, Topaz was used to cure fever. Topaz was once thought to strengthen the mind, increase wisdom, and prevent mental disorders. It was thought to guard against sudden death. Powdered Topaz added to wine was used to prevent asthma and insomnia. A cure for weak vision called for immersing the stone in wine for three days and nights, then rubbing the liquid on the eyes. During the Middle Ages, the Topaz was used mostly by royalty and clergy. A 13th century belief held that a Topaz engraved with a falcon helped its wearer cultivate the goodwill of kings, princes and magnates. The Romans associated the gem with the god Jupiter. It is a symbol of beauty and courage, and offers the wearer protection when confronting enemies.
November birthstone poem: “Who first comes to this world below; in dreary November's fog and snow; should prize the Topaz amber hue; emblem of friends and lovers true.”
When the Jewelers of America created an official list of birthstones in 1912, they chose both the Citrine and yellow Topaz as the November birthstone. Today this list is widely used by jewelers in the United States, Australia and Thailand as the official guide to birthstones, however the Ayurvedic birthstone list only includes Topaz as the November birthstone.
Fun Factoids: The biggest uncut Topaz stone, a specimen found in Brazil weighing almost 600 pounds, is on display at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.
Caitlin Moreland is a jewelry whore. Loves it, covets it, must have it. Hence, the name of her store, Swag Hag. She’s been swayed by the sparkly for all of her years and knows everything from turquoise to diamonds. Working in the jewelry industry for years, she learned all there was to know about finery, including what is quality and what is not. So, she has been a go-to by many to find and style just the right pieces. She is sharing her wisdom here and you can find some of her hand-picked pieces at: https://swaghag.kitsylane.com. Caitlin Moreland, Accessories for Certified F.A.B.U.L.O.U.S., Owner of Swag Hag https://swaghag.kitsylane.com
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