What's in a name?
November’s birthstone is Topaz. Here in the United States we call topaz… Topaz. However in Brazil where topaz is mined, Topaz is called Precious Topaz and Citrine is called Topaz! It may sound confusing but it gets worse: they look very similar to the untrained eye. There are in fact many differences in the gemstones especially the relative rarity and value of each, not to mention the actual visual appearance of each.
Citrine, the alternative Birthstone for November
Topaz is its own mineral. Citrine, which is the alternative gemstone for November is actually a variety of Quartz. Citrine is yellow or orangey quartz. topaz is often in the same color family but because of its higher hardness it has a higher luster. Because of its different crystalline character it has stronger secondary color and can possess richer colors.
Topaz vs. Citrine
Topaz is harder than Citrine with a Mohs’ hardness of 8 compared to 7 for Citrine. Fine Gem Topaz is much rarer than Citrine as well which makes the fine Topaz much rarer than a fine Citrine. Some very rare specimens of Topaz can be very valuable, relative to Citrine.
This is not to say that Citrine can’t be beautiful, because it certainly is. It can also be found in large sizes exceeding 20 carats or larger which is much larger than one is likely to find in Topaz. Citrine is also very reasonably priced compared to almost any other gemstone and can be had for less than $100 per carat.
Blue Topaz is essentially colorless material that is heat treated and irradiated to mimic the natural and very rare naturally occurring material. Blue Topaz is much more like Citrine in terms of value and even potential size range. Blue Topaz typically is available in lighter ‘sky’ blue and darker ‘London’ blue. It most closely resembles Aquamarine in color but does not have the softness or complexity of Aqua.
Check out some of our creations made with November’s birthstones… you can stop by our studio in Evanston for a closeup look at the subtle differences between Topaz and Citrine!
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We specialize in making custom jewelry. Whether it's a birthday or anniversary gift our designers take you through the process step by step and create one of a kind pieces that last a lifetime.
I walked into Christopher Duquet with my mother's engagement ring, the ring I wanted to wear it with and many ideas. Somehow Christopher and Villi were able to distill my ideas into the perfect ring. My 93 year old mother is thrilled that I am wearing the ring my dear father gave her. The experience was wonderful. – Linda S.