If you were born in November, then you have two November birthstones to choose from; topaz and citrine. These two precious gems have a lot of similarities, including their yellow, orange, and brown color palettes. For this reason, topaz and citrine have been commonly confused and misidentified for centuries, not only with each other but with a variety of other gemstones as well.
In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about topaz and citrine, the November birthstones.
- What Are the Birthstones for November?
- November Birthstones in Jewelry
- Price and Value of Topaz and Citrine
- Shop Our November Birthstone Ring Collection (Browse Collection)
- Shopping Tips for the November Topaz Birthstones
- Talk to an Expert About November Birthstones
What Are the Birthstones for November?
There are two November birthstones: topaz and citrine.
Topaz is a silicate mineral that typically has gold-brown, yellow, and orange hues. It can even be colorless or icy blue, pale green, fiery red, and even purple, though these colors are almost always achieved with heat treatment. Natural pink, red, and golden varieties of topaz are the hardest to find. This type of topaz is commonly known as “imperial topaz.”
What makes this November birthstone stand out is the fact that it comes in some of the largest crystal sizes in the world. The biggest ones are measured in kilos, not carats. Topaz mainly comes from Brazil, where it’s called “precious topaz.” While precious topaz is the birthstone of November, blue topaz marks the month of December.
Citrine is a type of quartz whose color palette varies from pale yellow to brown. It’s less valuable than topaz, and therefore more affordable. Because most citrines are heat-treated, it’s quite challenging to find natural citrine. This November gemstone has been used in jewelry ever since ancient times, and to this day, it continues to be the most popular yellow gemstone in the world.
Aside from being the birthstone for the month of November, it’s also the gem for the 13th wedding anniversary.
Myths and History of November Birthstones
Before we discuss the history of topaz and citrine, it’s important to mention that these two gemstones were considered to be the same until the beginning of the 20th century. Before that moment arrived, all yellow, orange, and brown gemstones were thought to be topaz. These two November birthstones were identified as separate gems in the 1930s, thanks to the development of modern gemology.
The word “topaz” may come from the Greek word topazos, while others believe it originated from the Sanskrit word tapas, meaning “fire.” In ancient times, topaz was believed to have magical properties that could grant its wearer strength. Throughout the Middle Ages, topaz was connected with long life, beauty, and intelligence. According to other superstitions, topaz could cure fevers, lunacy, and blindness. Today, people associate topaz with good fortune, confidence, and ambition.
People called citrine the “merchant’s stone” or the “money stone” since it was believed that it could bring prosperity and well-being. Due to its pale yellow color, the term “citrine” comes from the French word citron, which means “lemon.” The word can be traced back further to the Latin term citrina, which means “yellow.”
In Ancient Egypt, citrine was thought to have magic powers, and people used them as talismans to ward off evil. Unlike topaz, citrine was worn as jewelry for thousands of years. Today, citrine is a symbol of energy, wealth, abundance, joy, and good luck.
Mining Locations of Topaz and Citrine
Both November birthstones have been around for thousands of years.
There are topaz deposits all over the world. However, most topaz comes from Brazil, in the state of Minas Gerais, where large deposits were discovered halfway through the 19th century. That is also where the world’s largest transparent topaz was found, weighing an impressive 596 pounds (271 kilos).
Another famous home of the Topaz gemstone is Topaz Mountain, located in the Thomas Range in Utah. Other mining locations of Topaz include the Chivinar volcano in South America, the Ural and Ilmensky Mountains in Russia, as well as Pakistan, Norway, Nigeria, Mexico, the United States, Australia, Sri Lanka, and more. Pink topaz, which is the rarest color, can be found in Northwestern Pakistan.
One of the most valuable sources of citrine is the state of Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil. Natural, unheated citrine can also be found in the Anahí mine in Bolivia, which was lost for 30 years and then rediscovered in the second half of the 20th century. Interestingly, this mysterious mine produces a combination of citrine and amethyst, which is otherwise known as ametrine. Other citrine deposits include the mines in the Ural Mountains of Russia, as well as Uruguay, Spain, Mexico, and Madagascar.
Physical Properties of Topaz and Citrine
As previously mentioned, topaz and citrine were labeled as the same gemstone until recently. That’s because it’s nearly impossible to differentiate these two stones, even for trained gemologists. The only factor that sets them apart is their hardness.
Topaz is considerably heavier than citrine (approximately 25% per equal volume) since it’s a nesosilicate mineral. In other words, it’s one of the hardest naturally occurring minerals, ranking 8 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness. Citrine, on the other hand, has a hardness of 7 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness. This difference in weight distinguishes the two November birthstones with equal volumes.
Topaz forms in magmatic and igneous rocks and can weigh hundreds of pounds. It has a natural colorless state, but due to aluminum and fluorine impurities, it’s possible to find topaz in yellow, orange, brown, green, pink, purple, and blue colors. Topaz is also pleochroic, which means that it can display the so-called rainbow effect. This type of topaz is also called “mystic topaz.” Topaz is also notable because it’s slippery to the touch.
Citrine appears in enormous hollow crystal-lined amethyst geodes. It mainly displays earth tones, such as brown, pale yellow, reddish-orange, and such. These colors occur due to colloidal ferric hydroxide impurities within the crystalline structure. Interestingly enough, most “citrine” gems on the market are actually heat-treated amethyst and smoky quartz stones. Finding natural, untreated citrine is very challenging in today’s gem economy.
November Birthstones in Jewelry
As previously mentioned, topaz and citrine have been used in jewelry for thousands of years.
Since topaz displays a variety of colors, it can be worn with virtually any type of jewelry. The most sought-after topaz colors are red and orange, and they are typically combined with gold. It can be cut into many shapes and sizes. Since topaz usually comes with elongated or columnar shapes, oval, round, cushion, triangle, emerald, and pear cuts are immensely popular. Topaz is often used for faceted gems or cabochons.
Topaz is also commonly combined with diamonds, creating a sharp color contrast. They can even replace diamonds, as they make an excellent, budget-friendly alternative. Fans of blue topaz stones can wear them with silver, platinum, and diamonds. Topaz can be worn as earrings, rings, pendants, necklaces, bracelets, and brooches. They’re quite favorable because they make elegant gems with a subtle luster.
Citrine was heavily used in jewelry in Ancient Greece. It was incredibly trendy in the 1930s and 1940s, worn by famous Hollywood actresses and other celebrities. Since citrine has a yellow hue in most cases, gold makes it stand out even more. Just like all other forms of quartz, citrine is available in a variety of shapes and sizes. It can be carved, custom-cut, or calibrated. Citrine also looks beautiful in silver or platinum settings. They make affordable alternatives to diamonds and yellow sapphires.
Price and Value of Topaz and Citrine
Topaz and citrine are valued according to different factors and standards. Citrine is much more common than topaz, which makes it more reasonably priced. Compared with other precious gemstones like emeralds, sapphires, and rubies, topaz is also much cheaper. Therefore, if you’re planning to buy topaz and citrine jewelry, you have a wide variety to choose from.
When all yellow stones were thought to be topaz, they used to be much more expensive. Today, a one-carat topaz stone can cost as little as $25. Heat-treated topaz can cost even less, depending on its quality. Imperial topaz commands a higher price, ranging from $1,000 to $3,500. It usually comes in stones weighing fewer than 5 carats.
Naturally occurring blue topaz is extremely rare, so any blue topaz you find on sale was most likely heat-treated. These types of topaz gems are also not too expensive.
Citrine is the most popular yellow-orange gemstone. Since most citrine gemstones on the market have undergone some sort of treatment, they’re widely available and more affordable than other gemstones, even if they are quite large. A citrine stone can cost from $10 to $30 per carat. If the citrine has gone through any form of treatment, it’s likely to be on the lower end of the pricing scale.
What Are the Most Expensive Types of Topaz and Citrine?
The rarest and most valuable topaz variety is the imperial topaz. It often comes from the Ouro Preto mines of the state of Minas Gerais in Brazil. The Ural Mountains in Russia are another large imperial topaz deposit. Depending on the size and the quality of the imperial topaz, the price can vary from $1,000 to $3,500.
The reason imperial topaz is so pricy compared to other varieties of this stone is that they’re rarely treated or enhanced. This gemstone appears in peach, pink, orange, or golden-brown colors. What’s more, as of recently, imperial topaz has become considered a rare collector’s gem, which means it’s extremely hard to come by.
Citrine isn’t an expensive gemstone, no matter how many carats it weighs. As with all gemstones, the better the citrine’s quality, color, and clarity, the more value it has. Additionally, the more saturated the yellow or orange color, the higher the price. Smoky citrine gems with visible inclusions are on the lower end of the price scale.
Natural citrine is exceedingly rare since most citrine stones available have gone through some sort of enhancement. Therefore, natural, unheated citrines would definitely go for a higher price. Custom-cut citrine stones are also likely to cost more.
Shop Our November Birthstone Ring Collection
Here are some of our November Birthstones from our collection.
Shopping Tips for the November Topaz Birthstones
When shopping for a topaz stone, there are a couple of things you need to consider:
1. Search for an Even, Vivid Color
Since topaz typically isn’t high-priced, you can find various colors, sizes, and cuts. When it comes to color, it’s recommended you look for a topaz with intense saturation. The most valuable are orange, red, and pink topaz stones. The color you choose should depend on your personal preference, but make sure you choose a topaz with vivid color.
2. Choose a Shape That Works for You
You can get really creative with the cut of your topaz. Since they’re mined in such large sizes, they can be cut into virtually any shape. The most popular ones are pear, oval, marquise, cushion, emerald, round, and similar cuts. To maximize the color capacity of the topaz, you should go with an emerald cut.
3. Treated vs. Untreated Topaz
As previously mentioned, it’s particularly challenging to find a topaz that wasn’t treated. Keep in mind that natural, untreated topaz is bound to cost more than a treated one.
4. Ask for a Certificate for Imperial Topaz
If you want to buy an imperial topaz, you should ask for a certificate that proves its authenticity. It’s easy to create artificial gemstones, so a lab-approved certificate is necessary.
Shopping Tips for the November Citrine Birthstones
To find the perfect citrine, here are a couple of things to look out for:
1. Look for Eye-Clean Citrine
Since citrine isn’t expensive, make sure you find the best possible one. One of the factors you need to consider is the citrine’s clarity. Eye-visible inclusions are not common in this gemstone, so finding an eye-clear citrine won’t be tough.
2. Choose a Citrine With Intense Saturation
Citrines usually have a pale yellow color, while more intensely colored ones are more valuable. It’s also possible to find vivid orange, red, and brown hues.
3. Think About Carat Weight
If carat weight is important to you, citrine comes in a variety of sizes. You can even find citrine gemstones weighing 20 carats for a low price.
November Birthstone Colors
Topaz comes in a variety of colors, and you can even find colorless topaz. The most valued topaz stones have a fiery, saturated red color. Imperial Topaz also displays red, orange, peach, pink, and champagne colors. Sometimes, an imperial topaz can even have traces of violet hues. To be classified as imperial topaz, a gemstone has to contain a reddish pleochroic color. No matter how intense their color is, certain imperial topaz gemstones can fade if they are exposed to sunlight for a long period of time.
Once topaz goes through heat treatment or any other type of enhancement, it can be light green, wine red, pale gray, reddish-orange, or peach. When it comes to blue topaz, they occur very rarely in nature. That’s why treated blue topaz is extremely affordable and often available. If you see a blue topaz with an intense saturation, it’s most likely fake. Topaz can also have two colors simultaneously, in which case it’s called a bicolor topaz.
Citrine, on the other hand, mainly displays earthy colors. That includes brownish orange, pale yellow, and reddish-orange. Just like topaz, natural, untreated citrine is rare. However, most citrine stones sold commercially are a result of amethyst and smoky quartz treatment.
Cleaning Topaz and Citrine Jewelry
If you buy a topaz or a citrine, you need to take proper care of them so you can wear them for as long as possible.
Even though topaz is harder than most gemstones (with a hardness of 8.0 on the Mohs Hardness Scale), it can fracture or shatter with enough impact force. What’s more, topaz can be brittle along its crystal lattice lines. Therefore, it’s best not to wear your topaz jewelry when you plan to do some activities that might harm it.
When you’re not wearing your topaz, you should store it separately in a soft cloth or padded container. As mentioned before, some types of topaz are sensitive to sunlight, and if they’re exposed for too long, their color can fade. So, if possible, avoid exposing it to the sun, and don’t keep it by the window. To clean your topaz, use lukewarm water and a soft cloth. Avoid any chemicals and stay away from ultrasonic and steam cleaners.
Citrine is softer than topaz, so you need to be extra careful not to damage it. If you have a heat-treated citrine, note that its color might fade if it’s exposed to heat. The same thing goes for cleaning your citrine jewelry; use warm water, a soft cloth, and a mild detergent. In addition, if your citrine has a low quality, only clean it by hand.
Avoid stream or boil cleaning methods, as well as ultrasonic cleaners. If you plan to go swimming in a pool, it’s imperative to remove your citrine before doing so.
Talk to an Expert About November Birthstones
Unlike most months of the year, November comes with two birthstones: topaz and citrine. Topaz is a charming, golden brown, and honey-yellow gemstone, an excellent alternative to diamonds and other gems. Citrine is a more common gemstone that displays yellow, orange, and brown colors, and it’s another stone that looks beautiful combined with gold and diamonds.
Reach out to our experts for more information and to buy a birthstone piece of jewelry.