The name topaz comes from the Greek word Topazios, which was the name of a small island in the Red Sea (now called St. John’s Island). The ancient Greeks thought Topaz was a source of strength. Later on during the Renaissance period in Europe, Europeans believed Topaz could break the power of magic spells, and even get rid of anger. Furthermore, lots of people in India have believed for centuries that topaz, when worn above the heart, will help to bring about long life, beauty, and intellect. What a stone that is!
Throughout history, yellow gems were all considered to be topaz, and all topaz was though of as yellow. Of course we now know that topaz comes in many different colors, although pure topaz is completely colorless. Topaz, like other gems, gets its color from the natural impurities that occur within it, which can cause it to be any color. The most sought after color of topaz is imperial topaz, which is a strong orange hue with pink undertones.
Topaz comes from many different places around the world: the US (Utah, California, and New Hampshire), Mexico, Brazil, Nigeria, Namibia, Madagascar, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, and more. In fact, topaz comes in some of the largest crystal specimens in the world. Some of the largest ones are measured in kilos, not carats! Can you imagine?
The other birthstone for November is citrine, a stone very similar in color to topaz. In fact, before modern gemology came about, citrine was very often confused with topaz. Citrine has been widely loved since even ancient times, and the first recorded use of its name in English goes back to 1385. There is quite a long history of the two stones being confused, as many different cultures referred to citrine as “gold topaz,” or “Spanish” topaz. The ironic thing is even though the two do resemble each other in terms of color, they are completely unrelated mineral species. People even believed that citrine had the same types of powers as topaz, including calming tempers and anger, and bringing about prosperity. In order to capitalize on these purported powers, Egyptians used citrine gems as talismans, ancient Greeks carved images into them, and Roman priests made them into rings.
Today citrine has become quite popular due to its durability as a hard stone, its affordability, and its attractive color. Natural citrine is the result of traces of iron and in quartz crystals and is pretty rare, as most citrines that are on the market are a result of a mid-18th century discovery where mineralogists figured out that amethyst and smoky quartz could be heat treated to produce a golden brown color. Because of this, most citrines on the market are made from heat treated amethyst and smoky quartz. Citrine has a hardness of 7 on the Mohs scale, which makes it very practical to stand up to everyday wear and tear. It is often used as a nice alternative for not just topaz, but also yellow sapphire.
To read more in depth, check out these sources we used:
It’s October, so why not talk about Opal? After all, it is the birthstone for this month. It is one of the most unique stones in the world. Let’s see what we can learn.How is opal formed? The answer is actually quite fascinating. Opal is natural result of seasonal rains that fall in very dry areas, such as Australia’s [...]
This month we are going to talk a little bit about sapphires. Oh, where do even begin? There are lots of different things to talk about when it comes to sapphire, but we will give you a broad overview of various aspects of the stone, such as: the different kinds of sapphires you can get, how sapphire is formed, [...]
This month we are going to talk a little bit about something that every jeweler deals with: resizing rings. Obviously, what makes rings different than most other jewelry items (not all of course) is that they come in different sizes. Someone who is shopping for a ring may find one they love, but the size isn’t right. It may [...]
This month we are going to cover a very practical, and simple, subject. And while it is simple, it is also very important: how to clean your silver jewelry. Now if you want to, you can go buy a jewelry cleaner solution and just be done with it, but often times they contain harsh toxic chemicals, and can take [...]
Have you ever wondered how Balinese jewelry gets made? Have you wondered how much goes into it? Have you ever wondered how many hours, and what kinds of techniques are used to make a Borobudur chain, or a bracelet, or even a ring? In this month’s featured topic, we are going to explore just a few of the ways [...]
It’s now April, which is the month of diamonds. How have diamonds come to be known as “a woman’s best friend?” What is the history of the diamond? Let’s jump in and learn some of the history.Diamonds come in various colors, ranging from black, to white, to green, blue, pink, red, purple, and even orange. The colors come [...]
This month we are featuring aquamarine, the official birthstone for the month of March. Aquamarine is a precious gemstone in the beryl family, which is the same family of minerals that contains emeralds. Emeralds are part of the “precious four,” meaning the 4 most precious gemstones in the world: diamonds, emeralds, rubies, and sapphires. Aquamarine is a very hard gemstone, [...]