Few gemstones encapsulate the rich golden tones of fall quite like the birthstones for November: citrine and topaz. Though these gems can be found in various colors, their most traditional and recognizable coloring is the honey-yellow tones we see in most jewelry for those born in the thick of autumn. In fact, the two gems are so similar they have often been mistaken for each other over the years, despite being composed of completely separate minerals.
November Birthstones: Citrine and Topaz
Birthstones are believed to date as far back as biblical times with the first appearance being noted on the breastplate of Aaron. According to the American Gem Society, the breastplate was noted to have contained 12 separate gemstones representing the different tribes of Israel. Historians believe this concept was later adapted to represent the 12 different birth months as possessing certain attributes associated with those born in each month.
Though there are a few variations, each month is assigned its own precious gem to symbolize those born at that time. In the heart of harvest season, November birthdays are marked by the beautiful golden tones of citrine and topaz.
All About Citrine
Though citrine and topaz both have similar coloring, they are made up of completely different minerals and hold quite different properties as well. Citrines are a variety of quartz crystals and are known for their golden honey coloring which earned its namesake from its similarity to lemon and citrus fruits. This coloring, when occurring naturally, is caused by miniscule amounts of iron present within the quartz.
Natural citrines are actually quite rare, with the majority of those sold today being created by a man-made heat-treating process. When lab-created, citrines are usually formed from other gems such as a smoky quartz, which lends to a more affordable retail price for consumers. This makes citrines a popular choice for those born in November as they are highly affordable and richly beautiful.
All About Topaz
Though commonly confused with citrine (and vice versa), natural topaz has its own unique composition classifying it as an entirely different gemstone. Topaz is made up of the crystallized silicate minerals of fluorine and aluminum and is found in various golden tones in its natural state.
You may be more familiar with various other colors of topaz such as the blue topaz (one of December’s birthstones), but almost all topaz found in colors other than yellow tones have been man-made. This process is done by introducing impurities which change the coloring of the otherwise honey-colored gemstone. It is the golden brown and orange hues of these gems, however, that are acknowledged as the official birthstone for those born in the month of November.
Slightly more expensive than their co-birthstone, citrine, topaz is considered more valuable for their warm coloring and exceptional durability. Topaz is rated as an 8 on the Mohs scale which measures the overall hardness and durability of gemstones, making it an excellent choice for jewelry pieces.