November: The Golden Choices
November also has the pleasure of boasting two birthstone selections, the Topaz and the Citrine. These two stones have been confused for centuries and only until the development of modern chemical science has the difference become clear. Let’s explore their unique properties.
The Precious Topaz is a birthstone for November. Blue topaz is the gem of the 4th anniversary and the Imperial Topaz is the gem of the 23rd anniversary.
Topaz can be found in a variety of places all over the world in Brazil, Afghanistan, Australia, Myanmar (Burma), Japan, Madagascar, Mexico, Madagascar, the USA, Nigeria. Enormous topaz crystals have been discovered in Minas Gerais (Brazil) and the Ukraine.
The other birthstone for November is the Citrine. It is also the official gem for the 13th wedding anniversary and the official stone of Virgo.
Deposits of natural colored citrine are found mostly in Brazil, Madagascar and the United States. But there are deposits in in Argentina, Burma, Namibia, Russia, Scotland, and Spain.
Measuring an 8 on the Mohs hardness scale, the Topaz can be distinguished from other stones by its hardness and its orthorhombic crystal structure, meaning three axis of different lengths are at right angles to each other. It also exhibits pleochroism, which is the appearance of several colors in a single stone depending on the viewing angle.
Topaz also has a perfect cleavage. Gem stone cleavage is the tendency of certain crystals to break along definite place surfaces. Perfect cleavage is the easiest to cut along these weak planes in the crystals.
Topaz is often enhanced to produce the most desirable colors. The most popular color for
topaz is blue, but natural topaz is usually pale blue rather than the bright or deep blue. Orange-brown topaz is heat-treated during a process known as “pinking”, which produces a purplish-pink color. This process is widely accepted, since they result in permanent color change, however, they should be declared as treated stones by sellers. Natural pink topaz is pale pink and comes from Pakistan and is also very rare.