Yellow topaz is the November birthstone. In ancient times, topaz was associated with wealth, beauty, strength, and protection. Today, yellow topaz is linked to friendship much like the yellow rose. Learn more facts and fascinating folklore surrounding this beautiful gem. Read on!
Its name is derived from the Greek word topazios which is the name of an island in the Red Sea. Topaz is also linked to the Sanskrit word tapaz which means fire.
Topaz is classified as a silicate mineral containing aluminum and fluorine. Interestingly, prior to the 20th century, any yellow, brown, or orange transparent gems were considered topazes.
Although topaz technically scores an “8” on the Mohs scale of hardness, it is more fragile due to how it is created, much like emerald. When it is being formed, it will often form striations along the long axis of the crystal. This makes the gem susceptible to chips and fractures.
What Makes It Rare?
Fluorine is what makes this gem rare. There are only a few locations in the world with a high enough fluorine gas concentration to form topaz. The natural state of this gem is colorless. Impurities within topaz composition is what gives it color.
Where Can Topaz Be Found?
- Sri Lanka
Watch The Crystal Collector mine topaz in Utah in the following video:
Topaz is a pleochroic gem meaning it absorbs different wavelengths of light making the gem change color based on the direction light hits it.
Connection With The Sun, The Moon, And Jupiter
In many ancient legends, yellow topaz was thought to have the ability to harness the energy of the Sun. This carries through to Ancient Egypt where this stone symbolized their God of the Sun, Ra. It was also believed to provide protection.
Greeks and Romans saw yellow topaz as a stone of protection and strength, especially in time of strife. They thought it would prevent injuries and linked it to the God of the Sun, Apollo.
Interestingly, it was also believed to be linked to the Moon. Topaz was thought to have powers and colors that waxed and waned with the Moon cycles. (See today’s Moon phase.)
The stone is also associated with the planet Jupiter.
In Africa, Shamans would use this gem in healing rituals. It was also thought to bring wealth. There are some who believe the yellow color of topaz attracts gold. A yellow topaz set in gold is said to have this power amplified.
Protection Against Fires
In ancient Hindu culture, topaz was thought to bring protection against fires in their homes as well as protecting their health and beauty.
Beauty, Wisdom, And Strength
It was also believed that wearing a topaz above the heart would secure a long life of beauty and wisdom.
As time progressed, topaz was linked to breaking spells and calming anger. Topaz would be worn on the left side of the body to protect the owner from curses.
More Metaphysical Properties
Topaz, in many ancient cultures, was used by physicians and healers for preventing sleep walking, reducing inflammation and improving eyesight. It was also believed to change colors if it was placed by food that had been poisoned.
What Colors Does It Come In?
This beautiful gem is naturally found in yellow, clear, orange, brown, red, blue, green, and pink. It may also be found in a wide variety of lab created colors with the most common color being blue.
In the 1800’s, the Ural Mountains in Russia were the leading source of pink topaz. At that time, only the Czar and his family and friends were allowed to own it in this region.
Pink topaz signifies spring and summer while all other topaz colors signify autumn.
If you have read much about topaz, you have probably run into the term “imperial topaz.” This term is loosely used and there is no official standard. There are some who use this term to signify the color is an orange, pink or purple hue. Whether the term ‘imperial’ is used or not, the color is what gives the stone its value.
The natural colors of pink and red are considered rarer and are valued higher followed by golden orange which can also have a pink hue. A natural blue topaz would also garner a higher price due to its rarity. From there, the value decreases as the colors are more abundant.
The El Dorado
The El Dorado topaz was discovered in Brazil in 1984 at an incredible weight of 81.57 pounds. After removing host mineral and cutting the stone to a perfect emerald cut with good clarity, this yellowish-brown stone still held 31,000 carats (13.67 pounds). It is considered one of the largest faceted gemstones in the world.
The Chalmers Topaz
The Field Museum in Chicago hosts The Chalmers Topaz, which is named after former Field Museum trustee William and his wife, Joan Chalmers. This topaz weighs 5,899.50 carats (approximately 2.5 pounds) and is a clear topaz with a slight blue hue. This gemstone is one of the largest cut topazes in the world.
The Moon Of Maraba
A rare, grey topaz makes the list of famous gemstones as well! The Moon of Maraba (Lua de Maraba in Portuguese) weighs 25,250 carats and is cut in an octagonal shape. It is a stone of flawless clarity. The origin of this stone is unknown. It is believed to have been mined in Brazil somewhere close to the city of Maraba.
Alternative November Birthstones
Here are some other options to honor the month of November:
Citrine was added to the November birthstone list in 1952. Citrine is a stone of similar color to yellow topaz. It is a stone linked to manifestation (bringing your desires into reality) and releasing fears.
Citrine is an alternate birthstone for November.
It is thought to support one’s willpower and stimulate creativity. It is also believed to release fears and to raise self-esteem.
This is a great necklace for someone who may feel sensitive to criticism as it helps to redirect focus toward positive resolutions.
– Low quantity –
Another great way to honor this month is to look to the zodiac. Rhodochrosite is associated with the zodiac sign Scorpio. This beautiful pink gem adds some color to the month! Rhodochrosite is linked to the heart chakra. It is a great stone for love and forgiveness. No matter what stone speaks to you, each stone is a wonderful way to honor the month of November.
Join The Conversation!
Were you born in November?
Do you own a piece of topaz or one of the alternate November birthstones?
What was one interesting new bit of information you learned from this article?
Let us know in the comments below!
Tamra Albright-Johnson specializes in the unique histories and folklore around rare stones. She owns and operates a custom jewelry shop with her daughter, Kennie, in Iowa.