november birthstone

Topaz: The November Birthstone Guide

Kim Hartman Bracelets & Interchangeable Bracelets, Earrings & Interchangeable Earrings, Gemstones, Crystals, and Birthstones, Interchangeable Jewelry, Jewelry Education, Necklaces & Interchangeable Necklaces, Rings & Interchangeable Rings Leave a Comment

What Is the November Birthstone?

The November birthstone is topaz (“Topaz”). Topaz is also the state gemstone of Utah (“History of Topaz Gems”).

What Are the Characteristics of the November Birthstone?

Mineralogists call topaz “allochromatic.” This means defects or impurities in its structure cause its color, not its basic chemical makeup. So while pure topaz is colorless, most topaz actually has a very wide color range including brown, a common color, and various tones of blue, green, yellow, orange, red, pink, and purple. What a lot of people don’t realize, however, is that blue topaz is very rarely natural; it’s almost always caused by treatment (“Topaz Description”).

Though most people refer to the different varieties of topaz by its color—blue topaz, pink topaz, etc.—there are a few varieties of topaz that have special names. Imperial topaz is medium reddish orange to orange-red and is one of the gem’s most expensive colors. Sherry topaz is a yellowish brown or brownish yellow to orange; these gemstones are also called precious topaz to help distinguish them from the less expensive, but similarly colored citrine and smoky quartz (“Topaz Description”).

What Is the History of the November Birthstone?

The name “topaz” comes from Topazios, the old Greek name for a small island in the Red Sea (now called Zabargad). Though Topazios didn’t actually produce topaz, it did produce peridot, which people often confused with topaz before the development of modern mineralogy. However, there are some scholars who trace the name back to Sanskrit and the word topas or tapaz, which means “fire” (“Topaz History and Lore”).

Throughout history, everyone though all yellow gemstones were topaz. Ancient texts from Greek scholars all the way to the Bible refer to topaz, but because of the longstanding confusion, they were probably referring to other yellow gemstones (“History of Topaz Gems”).

Like with many other gemstones, ancient peoples believed topaz had special properties. During the Renaissance in Europe, people believed it could break spells and alleviate anger. The Hindus thought a topaz pendant worn above the heart could bring wisdom and longevity to a person’s life. African shamans used topaz in their healing rituals (“History of Topaz Gems”“Topaz History and Lore”).

Where Is the November Birthstone Found?

The Ural Mountains in Russia were the leading source of topaz in the 19th century; in fact, the imperial topaz was named after the pinkish-orange stones mined there to honor the Russian czar, and only the royals were allowed to own it (“History of Topaz Gems”).

Today the largest producer of quality topaz is Brazil. However, other sources include Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Australia, Nigeria, Germany, Mexico, and the US. Sources within the US are mainly found in California, Utah, and New Hampshire (“Overview of the Topaz Gemstone”).

To find your perfect November birthstone, visit today!

Learn more about birthstones in our Birthstone Guide.