Spotlight On: November Birthstone Topaz
Topaz is well-known for its versatility and radiating warmth of color, and November holds the bragging rights to claim it as its official gemstone. Because it is durable and not particularly chemically reactive, topaz is ideal for use in all kinds of jewelry or other gemstone designs and accents.
Most topaz comes from Brazil, but it can also be found naturally all over the world in deposits of varying sizes. It comes in a variety of different translucent shades and can appear to change color right before your eyes, depending on what kind of light you are under. This depth gives it a wizened air, hinting at an ancient knowledge mere humans are not privy to and making it one of the most grounding stones of all.
Blue, pink and imperial topaz are three of the most valuable topaz colors, and even though blue topaz is arguably the most popular and recognized of these, most of them actually start out clear and are specially treated to develop the signature blue color. Natural blue topaz can be found in parts of Great Britain and is very scare.
Natural pink topaz is very valuable and found in Pakistan, Brazil and Russia, but like its blue brother, most currently on the market start on the yellowish side of the color range and are treated with heat to create this delicate, feminine color traditionally associated with kindness and love.
Imperial topaz, which features a warm golden tone reminiscent of a rich honeycomb, is the most prized color shade of this earthy birthstone and is harvested in Brazil. Stones that get their color naturally instead of through heat treatments are considered more valuable and imperial topaz is rarely humanly enhanced.
The history of topaz is almost as varied as its color range, and this stone has long been thought to hold powerful mystical properties. The Egyptians and the Romans associated the natural warm color of the stone with their Sun gods, Ra and Jupiter, and believed it could be used for protection.
The Greek also gave the stone a special place in their culture and used it to cure ailments ranging from blindness to sleeping issues, and everything in between, and believed it had power to indicate if food had been poisoned and make the wearer invisible if needed. In modern times, the gem is used to keep stress under control, provide courage in challenging situations and balance mood swings and overwhelming emotions.
One of the most famous topazes is the “Braganza,” weighing in at an impressive 1,640 carats. It was originally thought to be a diamond because of its clear color and calls the Portuguese Crown its current home. Topaz is also referenced as an important decorative stone in both the New and Old Testaments of the Bible.
Topaz has been used by cultures all over the world throughout time to cure ailments of all varieties and stands as an emblem of strength, dignity and virtue, making it the perfect complement to the gorgeous, golden-hued transitional November month.