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Topaz, the birthstone for November

A bespoke imperial topaz and diamond ringActually, it’s not entirely accurate to call topaz the birthstone for November, as there are in fact two birthstones for this chilly, damp month – topaz and citrine.  In which case we ought perhaps to say topaz is a birthstone for November.  Both are golden sunny stones of course, but both have different histories and different meanings.

If you want to learn more about the citrine, we wrote about this fabulous golden gemstone once before and you can read it here.

In this post we’re going to talk about the topaz.

Topaz and citrine look remarkably similar, but aren’t related at all.  Unlike citrine, topaz is actually available in many colours, from smokey grey to blush pink, although over the millennia pretty much every yellow gemstone was called a topaz, until the progress of science allowed us to understand that different gemstones have different structures and indeed that not all topaz’s are yellow!

Fei Liu Shooting Star long pendant with blue topazIn fact, pure topaz is without any colour, but it can become stained by impurities to take on any colour of the rainbow.  The colour that is most prized is known as Imperial topaz, which has a rich orange hue with pink or red undertones.  It is thought that the name of this shade of topaz originated with the Russian royal family’s insistence on keeping the finest colours of stones mined in their own Ural Mountains exclusively for their own use.  Blue topaz is also highly prized but is rare in its natural form, meaning that most blue topaz you will find has been heat treated to achieve the desired colour.

The power of topaz

As with all gemstones known from ancient times, this birthstone for November has many powers attributed to it.  The ancient Greeks believed that topaz gave them strength. During the late middle ages it was thought to be able to prevent magic spells and dispel anger.  The November birthstone was also believed to have curative powers; used to treat weak eyesight.  Hmmm, well, I guess the proof of its efficacy would be easy to see…

If you’re seeking fine jewellery showcasing your own birthstone, then you’ve a fabulous choice when it comes to topaz; you’re not restricted to yellow, of course, but then, that’s not really an issue, surely?  Not when it’s this gorgeous.