The November Birthstone
November – Is it Citrine or is it Topaz?
For years, those of us – including me – who have November birthdays knew that topaz was our birthstone. Now most birthstone lists say citrine. Which is it? Actually, it is both! While citrine and topaz are different stones, they are both considered to be the birthstone for November.
So, how are they different?
Citrine is a yellow form of quartz. In the days before modern gemology, it was often mistaken for topaz. Finding a natural citrine is actually rare. Most of the citrine on the market today is heat treated amethyst. Who knew if you heated amethyst it turned yellow? Citrine has a hardness of 7 on the Mohs scale and the color varies from lemon yellow to reddish brown.
Topaz is a silicate like the quartz family but has a hardness of 8. Topaz also has a much wider variety of color. They can come in yellow, pink, green, purple, orange, blue and white which is clear.
Topaz can be found in Russia, Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa and the U.S. Most citrine is found in Brazil but it can also be found in Russia, France and Madagascar.
There is a lot of history and lore about both stones.
Some of the largest cut gemstone pieces throughout history have been cut out of topaz. Ancient Egyptians believed that topaz received its golden hue from the sun god Ra. Golden Topaz was said to change color in the presence of poisoned food or drink.
Citrine has been said to aid in urinary, kidney and digestive diseases. It was also believed to ward off evil thoughts and protect from the effects of snake venom. In ancient Greece, citrine was popular between 300 and 150 B.C. It was also used to adorn weapons by Scottish weapon makers in the 17th century. Queen Victoria loved citrine. With the attention and admiration citrine received her parties, it became a part of shoulder brooches and kilt pins in Highland attire. Even now, it is considered an essential part of the tradition.
What were some of the more notable stones? The Luxembourg Royal Family citrine and pearl tiara and earrings, the citrine and diamond tiaras by Cartier for the coronation ceremony of King George VI in 1937 and Kate Middleton’s citrine drop earrings. The El Dorado Topaz is the largest faceted gemstone in the world at 31,000 (yes, that’s 31 thousand) carats. The American Golden Topaz is a whopping 22,892.5 carats and is on display at the Smithsonian Institute.
In the Naturally Wild Swap Shop, you can trade for citrine and topaz both!!
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