Citrine and Topaz, the birthstones for the month of November, are probably best known for their warm yellow and golden hues, and for having been mistakenly identified as the same stone for centuries.
The name “Topaz” was overused widely, to describe an array of beautiful yellow and gold coloured gemstones, many of which were in fact made up of other minerals and were not actually the stone we now identify as Topaz. Citrine and Topaz are actually unrelated minerals, although some varieties of the stones are strikingly similar.
As well as the birthstone for November, Topaz is the stone recognised in connection with 19th wedding anniversary celebrations. Additionally, certain types of Topaz, “Blue” and “Imperial”, are associated with 4th and 23rd wedding anniversaries as well. Citrine is associated with 13th wedding anniversary celebrations.
The most sought after, or “precious”, Topaz ranges in colour from a brownish orange to yellow, the most popular of which is referred to as “Imperial” Topaz, which is a vibrant orange stone with pink undertones. Imperial Topaz, which was mined in the Ural Mountain region of Russia, was given this name in honour of the Russian Czar, and only Royalty were allowed to own it.
Blue Topaz is common but does not typically occur naturally. In the 1960’s a process was discovered that could turn pure colourless Topaz into the popular blue colour we see today, through a process of irradiation. This blue Topaz flooded the gemstone market, making it readily available, and very affordable, even in large sizes. Topaz is a durable, resilient stone, measuring 8 on the Mohs scale of hardness, so is a good choice for pieces of jewellery that are going to be worn regularly.
Citine, also referred to as the “Light Maker”, is a variety of quartz, named after the citron fruit, due to its yellow and orange shades. It ranges in colour from a pale lemony yellow to brownish orange. The yellow hues are caused by traces of iron in the quartz crystals. This occurs rarely in nature, so most citrine on the market is made by heat treating other varieties of quartz to produce golden coloured gemstones. Sometimes referred to as “smoky quartz”, it is not unlike Topaz in appearance, which is why they have often been confused with one another.
Citrine has been used as a decorative gem for thousands of years. It has been discovered adorning jewellery, weapons and clothing as far back as 300BC. There is a strong Celtic link, with citrine crystals found on kilt pins and emblazoned on the handles of daggers and swords belonging to Scottish Clansmen.
Citrine is also a hard stone, measuring 7 on the Mohs scale, and making it a very durable and wearable stone, perhaps the reason for its popularity among the Celts.
Citrine is a bright, powerful stone, one that emanates positive energy and joy. In ancient times people believed that citrine could calm tempers, reduce anger and bring good fortune. Today we associate citrine with light, growth and life-giving. It is also believed to carry the power of the sun and bring comfort and warmth, like beautiful spring sunshine.
Topaz has long been considered a sacred stone. American Shaman’s used Topaz in their healing rituals, believing it had special powers to protect and heal. Hindu’s also deemed Topaz sacred, believing that it brought the wearer wisdom and longevity. The Europeans believed that Topaz had magical powers and could break spells. During the European Renaissance, Topaz was thought to bring peace and quell anger.
Brazil is the largest producer of Topaz, with other sources including India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Russia, Australia, Nigeria, Germany, Mexico and the United States. Light blue Topaz has been found in Texas, although it is not mined there, and was adopted as the official State gemstone of Texas in 1969. Utah also adopted light blue Topaz as their official State gemstone the same year.
Citrine is mined primarily in Brazil, but is also found in Spain, Bolivia, France, Russia, Madagascar and the United States, with different shades of the stone coming from different regions.
Large examples of citrine can weigh hundreds and even thousands of carats. An example of such a stone, mined in Brazil, can be seen in the Smithsonian Institute weighing 2,258 carats.
Whether you are looking for a November birthstone to give as a gift, something special to commemorate a 4th, 13th, 19th or 23rd wedding anniversary, or you just want to treat yourself, or a loved one, to a beautiful piece of jewellery, you have come to the right place. We have a beautiful range of Topaz and Citrine jewellery at Robert Openshaw's.