November birthstones: topaz and citrine

Those born in November have the choice of two richly coloured birthstones. Citrine and topaz both exude sunshine and warmth to brighten your days as we head into winter.

As the nights grow longer and the gloom descends, November’s two radiant birthstones can help lift our spirits. Prized for their colour, topaz and citrine are sought-after but accessible jewels.

While these two brilliant gemstones each have unique qualities, the earthy citrine and fiery topaz are often close in appearance, and both are relatively affordable gems. These stones are popular and versatile jewellery centrepieces, giving those born in November an abundance of choice for wearing their birthstone.

Topaz  

A spectrum of colour

Topaz is often thought of as a blue gem, but this November birthstone comes in a rainbow of colours. In fact, pure topaz is often mistaken for diamond because it is colourless and it is the presence of other elements which determines the gem’s final hue.

Orange, red or vibrant yellow topaz is known as precious topaz or imperial topaz. This is often thought of as the true November birthstone. Pale yellow and blue topaz is generally of a lower value, but still makes a stunning addition to a piece of jewellery.

Giant gemstones

While topaz is not usually valued according to its size, this November birthstone can be surprisingly large.

America’s Museum of Natural History is home to the Brazilian Princess Topaz. Discovered in the 1950s, this 21,000-carat gem-quality stone was made into what was then, at 4.5kg, the world’s biggest cut gem.

In 2016, the Natural History Museum in London took possession of the largest topaz of its kind. The Ostro Stone is a stunning vivid blue topaz that weighs an impressive 2kg and is 15cm in length.

Larger stones are much easier to work with and topaz comes in an array of different cuts. Step cuts, such as emerald cut, are a popular choice and a fancy cut topaz can yield a higher price.

From the golden age to the modern day

Portuguese traders started bringing topaz back from Brazil in the 1800s, creating a golden age for this gemstone in Europe. Topaz reached the height of its popularity in Georgian times, with brown and pink varieties featuring in many pieces of fine jewellery, including ornate pendants, brooches, earrings and necklaces.

This was an exciting time for jewellery production, with huge advances in metal working and gem-cutting techniques and technology sparking a surge of creativity. Georgian topaz pieces available today can command high prices at auction.

Topaz remains popular. Because it comes in so many colours, there are many different styles of topaz jewellery to enhance any look, from formal to fun. And it’s equally eye-catching as a single stone or when set alongside a diamond or other precious gem.

November birthstones: topaz and citrine | TH March

Citrine

A gift from the sun

Citrine is loved for its sunny hue. Thanks to the increasing popularity of earth-tone gems, this quartz stone has become more desirable in recent years. Colour saturation is the key to a citrine’s value, with those of the most vibrant yellow or deep red-orange – sometimes known as Madeira citrine – commanding the highest prices.

The artistry of the cut and absence of inclusions add to a stone’s value. Stones of 20 carats or more are not unusual. Because it is available in large sizes, citrine is ideally suited to intricate cuts, unleashing the stone’s natural fire. This makes it a perfect stone for bespoke or unusual pieces.

Bringing joy through the ages

With its warm glow, citrine has brought joy to wearers across the globe and throughout history. Egyptians valued citrine gemstones as talismans and, as centrepieces in rings, they adorned the fingers of Roman priests. It was especially popular as a decorative gem during the Hellenistic Age in Ancient Greece.

Queen Victoria allegedly adored citrine because of its association with her beloved Scotland, where it has been mined and used in kilt pins and brooches. This link with Scotland goes back further. Seventeenth century weapon makers used citrine to adorn sword handles and some even carved the entire handle from a large stone.

Ideally suited to bold designs, citrine was popular in the Art Deco era, when it was fashioned into statement jewellery pieces.

The Cinderella stone?

Despite its rich history, citrine remains less well known and sought-after than many other precious gems. The vivid jewel has often been undervalued because it is plentiful.

However, could this alternative November birthstone be enjoying a new status? Beyonce, Jessica Simpson and Jennifer Lopez are among many famous faces to have been spotted wearing this stunning yellow gemstone in recent years.

While this is a relatively common gemstone, a high quality citrine could be a worthwhile investment. Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge made headlines when she paired her bright yellow dress with a stunning citrine ring at Wimbledon this year. With a citrine estimated to be 20 carats, the statement piece is said to be valued at £25,000.

Citrine may not command the status of a diamond or ruby, but don’t overlook this November birthstone.

Whether you choose a sparkling piece of topaz jewellery, or inject some colour to your collection by investing in a citrine, be sure to care for and protect your precious item. TH March can help you find the specialist jewellery cover you need so you can enjoy your birthstone for many years to come.

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