The warm hues of a fine topaz are what most people picture when they think of the precious birthstone for November.

     Topaz comes in other colours, the most notable being icy blue.

     Brazil is a source for most topaz, including the beautiful “imperial” topaz, which is a slightly pinkish orange colour, reminiscent of a lotus blossom, or sherry.

     Blue topaz has become increasingly popular in recent years, as a wonderful alternative to aquamarine. This icy blue coloured topaz is a much more brilliant stone, and because it is more prevalent in nature, it is far more affordable than aquamarine. This intense blue gem is enhanced at the source, with a process that is completely harmless, and it creates a beautiful hue which is permanent under normal wear and tear.

     Conventional jewellery cleaners are safe to use on all colours of topaz, so it’s quite convenient to keep your topaz jewellery looking its best. As with all jewellery, it is best to let your professional jeweller clean and check your pieces on a regular basis.



     The warm hues of a fine citrine are often compared with topaz, and it is no wonder that the two stones are often mistaken for one another. To add to the confusion, both gems are found principally in Brazil, and both are recognized as birthstones for November.

     Citrine, however, is a totally distinct gemstone, and is far less costly than the gem it is often mistaken for, topaz. Its name is derived from “citrus”, and this hints of its often yellow hue. Occasionally, citrine possesses a very warm and intense orange colour, and in these instances, it is especially treasured and referred to as “Madeira Citrine”. Such stones are truly an attractive sherry hue.

     Citrine is another member of the quartz family of gemstones, and it is interesting to note that some orange and yellow hues are closely achieved by heat-treating the less attractive colours.

     This gemstone will hold up well under normal daily wear, but rough treatment will diminish its luster.


* image courtesy the American Gem Trade Association (AGTA)