The November birthstone topaz has an exceptionally wide colour range that, in addition to brown, includes various tones and saturation of blue, green, yellow, orange, red, pink and purple. Colourless topaz is plentiful and is often treated to give it a blue colour.
Colour varieties of the November birthstone are often identified simply by hue name—blue topaz, pink topaz and so forth—but there are also a couple of special trade names. Imperial topaz is typically a medium reddish orange to orange-red though some dealers, especially those in Brazil, apply the term to yellow, pink and red topaz as well. The reddish pleochroic colour (pleochroism is the display of different body colours from different viewing directions) of Imperial topaz often appears at the ends of fashioned gems–like pears and ovals–that have an otherwise yellow-to-orange body colour. Red is one of the most sought-after (and least available) topaz colours.
Sherry topaz—named after sherry wine—is a yellowish brown or brownish yellow to orange. Stones in this colour range are often called precious topaz to help distinguish them from the similarly coloured but less expensive citrine and smoky quartz.
Topaz is an 8 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness. It’s not very tough, so a hard blow might split it, and extreme pressure or sharp temperature changes might cause it to break. The November birthstone is best set in a protective mounting like a bezel or used in pieces that aren’t subjected to heavy wear, like pendants and pins.
November Birthstone: Topaz history & lore
Topaz 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. The November birthstone was also believed to have curative powers. To treat “dimness of vision,” 12thcentury abbess St. Hildegard recommended placing topaz in wine for three days and then rubbing the moistened topaz on the patient’s eyes.
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. Regardless of the source of the designation, there is no question all believed this beautiful gem was fit for a king.
November birthstone: Where topaz comes from
Minas Gerais, a state in Brazil, is one of the most important sources for high-quality topaz. Yellow to orange, red, pink, violet and blends of red with orange or purple are some of the colours unearthed here. The nearby town of Ouro Preto is a fitting companion. In this UNESCO world heritage site, majestic colonial churches checker the skyline and quaint cobblestone streets crisscross the city.
Northwestern Pakistan is known for producing pink topaz. Ghundao Hill, close to the small town of Katlang, has been mined since 1972. The most sought-after shade of pink topaz from Katlang has a tinge of violet, which some in the gem trade call cyclamen pink. But even at Ghundao Hill, only rarely is fine pink topaz found.
Other topaz sources include Namibia, on the western coast of southern Africa, and the gem-rich island of Madagascar. Today, some topaz is also found in the historic Russian localities and elsewhere including, Africa, China, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Vietnam, as well as the United States and Mexico.
November birthstone: Qualities to look for in topaz
Colour: Blue Topaz and colourless topaz are widely available and very affordable. Most of the blue topaz on the market today has been colour treated, as described in the next section. Red and pink topaz varieties are rare, highly cherished and will carry a significantly higher price tag per carat. Imperial topaz is also highly prized.
Clarity: Faceted blue topaz is almost always free of eye-visible inclusions colours in colors that are not as plentiful may be included. Depending on the rarity of the color, inclusions may not have a significant effect on value.
Cut: Topaz is cut in a wide variety of shapes and styles, including emerald, cushion, oval, pear, round, triangular, marquise and fantasy cuts.
Carat weight: If the color of the topaz is considered rare, the per-carat price may rise dramatically as size increases.
November Birthstone: Topaz treatments, care & cleaning
To clean this November birthstone, do not use steam cleaning, to clean topaz: Warm, soapy water works best.
Topaz is often treated. Since naturally colored blue topaz is extremely rare, colorless topaz is often processed with irradiation followed, in some cases, by heating to turn it various shades of blue. The three irradiation techniques used are exposed to gamma rays in a cobalt irradiator, bombardment with electrons in an accelerator and bombardment with neutrons in a nuclear reactor. Gems that are treated in an accelerator or nuclear reactor may become radioactive, but the U.S. National Regulatory Commission (NRC) does not allow the release of such stones into the trade until radioactivity levels fall below certain limits. The NRC advises that “any dose from these gems would be extremely small” and would continue to go down. Dealers use terms like “London blue,” “Swiss blue,” “super blue” and “maxi blue” to describe darker blues, and “sky blue” for paler hues. In general, darker blues cost slightly more than lighter hues, but both are typically affordable.
November birthstone: Gemological properties of citrine
Citrine is the transparent pale yellow to a brownish orange variety of quartz. The finest citrine colour is a saturated yellow to reddish orange free of brownish tints. Its colour comes from traces of iron. However, this November birthstone is actually rare in nature: Most citrine on the market is the result of heat treating amethyst
Citrine’s attractive colour, plus the durability and affordability it shares with most other quartzes, make it the top-selling yellow-to-orange gem. Gemologists love this November birthstone because it has a modest price tag, and the price per carat does not rise dramatically for larger sizes.
Getting A Birthstone Jewelry
Birthstones are gemstones that accompany a birth month, each having a unique meaning and historical significance. The popularity of birthstones dates back to ancient times when civilizations believed that gemstones had incredible powers such as luck, health and prosperity. Traditionally, each month is associated with a single gemstone, but as you’ll find below there are a few months with multiple birthstones. The birthstones associated with birth months today are not necessarily the same ones that were used in ancient times. In those days, the colour was the most important feature of a gemstone so they did not distinguish between gems the way we do today. You can get a birthstone jewellery here at JOSEOD.