October 23 – November 21
In Part 1, we learned that citrine was recorded as the official November birthstone in 1912. Topaz is another traditional November birthstone. In fact, topaz and citrine are often mistaken one for the other. Some consider topaz to be of higher value. There is also some debate over the origin of the name.
According to Pliny the Elder, Roman author and natural philosopher born in 23 AD, topaz owes its name to the island of Topazos, in the Red Sea. Interestingly, this island is known as an ancient source of the gem called Peridot. Modern gemologists believe the name topaz derives from the Sanskrit word “tapas,” which means fire.
Topaz is also known by other names, most of which actually refer to citrine. They are, for example: Bohemian topaz, Spanish topaz and Madeira topaz. Notice that the name “golden topaz” refers to citrine as well.
As if this were not intriguing enough, the Greeks believed that wearing topaz could make one invisible. Conversely, the romans believed one of the gem’s most significant properties was its ability to improve eyesight. This could provide an interesting premise for a science fiction or comedy film. Meanwhile, the Egyptians were content to wear it as an amulet to prevent injury.
The interesting journey of the topaz does not end there. In the 19th century, pink topaz was discovered in Russia. The gem appeared so rare and unusual that immediately the Czar decreed that he and his immediate family alone could own such gem. However, this is not the most famous topaz. The most famous topaz resides in the Portuguese Crown Jewels and is known as the “Braganza Diamond.” Furthermore, due to its use in the jewelry of Russian Czarinas in the 1700’s and 1800’s, the name “Imperial Topaz” is sometimes used when referring to this gem.
Another common belief about topaz is that it changes color when in contact with poisoned foods or liquids. Whether this is true or not is unclear. What is certain is that topaz occurs in a very wide range of colors within the spectrum of yellow, red, orange and amber. It also occurs in blue, though in this case the color, which is naturally pale, is frequently enhanced by irradiation.
Topaz is found in Russia, Brazil, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. If it is your birthstone, faithfulness, loyalty and constancy may be your best attributes.
Also Read – Citrine & Topaz – November Birthstones – Part 1
Read about other birthstones HERE
Click HERE for more articles mentioning Citrine
Click HERE for more articles mentioning Topaz