The birthstone for November is the topaz. Although best known for its golden brown variant, it actually comes in a range of colours: blue, pale green, varying shades of yellow, pink, red, brown and even black.
The name topaz comes from a Sanskrit word meaning ‘fire.’ According to ancient Indian lore, it could be used to control heat and was applied as medication to cure fever. It was said to have the power to cool boiling water, as well as fury. Hmmm – it wouldn’t take but a moment to prove either of those beliefs inaccurate, hey?
Pure topaz itself is actually a colourless stone, the coloured variants occur due to minor element substitutions and defects in the crystal and indeed treated topaz. Some colours are unstable and can fade away; for example, brown topaz can be bleached by sunlight. In other stones, colour changes can be induced by heating.
This gem, with its lively fire, clarity, beautiful colours and hardness is ideal for jewellery. Pure topaz, when brilliantly cut, can often be mistaken for a diamond.
Because of its rarity, topaz is an expensive gem. The rarest colour – and therefore the most valuable – is red. The sherry coloured stones (ranging from amber-yellow through orangey yellow and reddish brown – are known as Imperial topaz are the popular gemstones and so command high prices.
During the Middle Ages, topaz was owned almost exclusively by royalty and churchmen. At the time, it was believed that a topaz engraved with a falcon helped its wearer cultivate the goodwill of kings, princes and lords. Of course, if you were already a king, prince or lord you were already on to a winner.
We’re not sure about mystical powers – but we do know that this is a stunning gemstone and designing beautiful and unique pieces using stunning gemstones is something we do rather well.