November’s golden birthstone: Pick your gem, topaz or citrine


Topaz necklace

If you’re a November baby, you have a choice of warm golden-yellow November birthstones: citrine or topaz. Both will help you keep the sunlight in your heart as you move into winter. Here are some interesting facts and beliefs about your special gemstones.


If you look at the list of birthstones, you might see that topaz is also a stone for December—but that’s blue topaz. Your birthstone is actually the golden variety. The pinkish/golden/reddish version of topaz—and the most expensive variety of the stone— is “precious topaz,” or “Imperial Topaz.” Topaz is more valuable than citrine; but citrine can be mistaken for topaz, so make sure you know what you’re getting.

Interesting topaz facts:

  • It’s rated 8 on the Mohs scale, so it’s generally durable and recommended for pendants and rings.
  • The ancient Greeks believed that carrying a topaz gave them strength.
  • Clear topaz can be used as an inexpensive diamond substitute.
  • Deep red types of topaz gems are called “sherry” due to their resemblance to sherry wine.
  • Its healing properties include being calming and eliminating nightmares. It’s said to soothe and release tension. Also, it’s said to help you gain self-confidence.


citrine earrings

Citrine earrings

Citrine is actually the yellow-to brownish-red type of quartz. According to The American Gem Society, “The finest citrine gems are saturated with yellow, orange and reddish hues, while stones of lower value appear pale or smoky.” Most natural citrine is pale yellow; darker colors in a less-expensive stone, may be heat-treated amethyst or smoky quartz. If a stone has a red tinge to it, chances are it’s been heat-treated.

Interesting citrine facts:

  • It’s a 7 on the Mohs scale, so it’s good for everyday wear.
  • It gets its name from the citrine (a lemon-like fruit), which its color resembles.
  • Healing qualities supposedly include soothing, releasing negative feelings, attracting love and joy, and bringing fresh beginnings. It’s believed to attract wealth and prosperity.
  • It’s one of the most affordable yellow stones.
  • One of the funniest comments on its healing powers: people with fiery tempers shouldn’t wear citrines. It may make them worse. (?)

Tips for when you’re buying

Yellow topaz

Orange citrine can look a lot like a topaz. Beware of names like “gold topaz,” “Spanish topaz,” “topaz quartz” or “Brazilian topaz—these are all other names for citrine. Go to a reputable jeweler and make sure you’re getting the stone you want. And ask for documentation. Other than Imperial Topaz, there generally shouldn’t be any other name for the stone than simply, “topaz.”

Happy November birthday! And don’t forget to let me know if you need an appraisal of your new jewelry—or heirloom pieces. I’m a phone call (617-304-0174) or email away!

Brilliantly yours, Aimee


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