An Introduction to Topaz, November's Birthstone

November 07, 2019

Imperial Topaz - Image courtesy of GIA

Topaz is the birthstone for November and represents the 16th wedding anniversary alongside with peridot. This gemstone’s name comes from the ancient Greek name “Topazios” for Saint John’s Island in the Foul Bay of Egypt. It is one of the hardest stones used in jewelry, ranking at an 8 out of 10 on the Mohs hardness scale.

Topaz has a characteristic yellow/brown color that sometimes causes the stone to be confused with the less valuable gemstone, citrine, which is the yellow/orange variety of quartz. However, topaz comes in a wide variety of colors! From colorless (if it has no impurities) to blue, brown, orange, gray, yellow, green, pink, and reddish pink, it is a very versatile stone for jewelry.

The most desirable, rare, and expensive colors are called “imperial”, and these colors range from a medium, reddish-orange to an orange-red. Collectors describe the color of imperial topaz to that of the setting sun, but there may be some subjectivity in imagining the color. According to the Gemological Institute of America, the origin of the stone is not as important as the color itself.

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