Posted on November 12, 2015 by Mary Hood | 1 Comment
The chilly month of November features beautiful topaz as its primary birthstone. Because certain hues of citrine resemble golden-orange topaz, citrine has become the alternative birthstone for November. Although topaz is found in different colors, we tend to associate the birthstone with a warm, golden stone, also known as Orange Topaz.
From ancient days to the present, both topaz and citrine have been credited with long lists of healing properties. Not to mention, their glowing colors serve as a perfect accent to any fall color palette!
The name "topaz" is derived from the Old French topace. “Topaz” may also be related to the Sanskrit word tapas, meaning heat or fire. Topaz may be found in variations of orange, red, and pink; topaz’s more rare shades include light green, blue, and purple-red. Colorless topaz is often mistaken for other gems.
Topaz is believed to enhance understanding, stimulate creativity, promote relaxation, and reduce anger in its wearer. In addition to these psychological and spiritual benefits, topaz may also improve the respiratory system and boost the regeneration of tissue. Finally, topaz represents wisdom and was often given to heads of state and members of the ruling class.
Believed to foster wisdom, topaz was a common gift to royalty. This portrait of English king Henry VIII by Hans Holbein the Younger (1497/8) features the king adorned with what appears to be topaz stones.
Topaz has a hardness of 8 Mohs on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness, making it a fairly scratch-resistant stone. Topaz has a higher refractive index than citrine, lending it more “fire” (a.k.a. dazzle and glitter) under light, provided that the topaz is of good quality.
The name “citrine” is derived from the Latin citrina, meaning "yellow." Citrina is also the origin of the word "citron." Due to its warm, golden hue, citrine is often confused with topaz. The stones have distinct crystalline structures, however. Citrine, a variety of quartz, has a hardness of 7 Mohs, making it a degree softer than topaz. Most citrine originates in Brazil.
The 1930s witnessed the growth of a booming citrine market. Around this time, the European class system experienced a shift that fostered a larger bourgeois class. This new, larger upper-middle class had a high demand for find jewelry. Citrine made appearances in ladies’ jewelry and gentlemen’s cufflinks and rings.
Like topaz, Citrine is noted for its many spiritual benefits. According to Ayurveda tradition, citrine helps balance the seven chakras. Additionally, citrine allegedly wards off evil spirits and untimely death—all while improving the wearer’s vision.
Photos: Barbara Michelle Jacobs, Juliebeth via Flickr, The Online Jeweler via Flickr, Wikipedia